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Muslim Woman Shares Her Journey of Growing Up and Building a Career in Winnipeg

When the Muslim community was first established in Winnipeg, it wasn’t easy. The community has gradually begun to expand as more Muslims decide to immigrate to Canada. Due to the climate and geography, many choose Ontario and Montreal as their places of residence.

Alia Harb is a Respectful Workplace Advisor for the Government of Manitoba. Zuher Almusre invited Harb to speak on “Civic Platform” to share her story of establishing a life in Winnipeg. Her earliest years in Winnipeg were spent in a tiny Muslim community. The community also included Polish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Filipino, and Italian residents. She explained you grow up around kids whose parents were immigrants, and you don’t feel like you’re any different from them because everyone was going through the same thing.

When gathering for Friday prayers or holidays, everyone knew each other’s names in the Islamic community. The aunts carried out the activities in the mosque and could have experiences that reminded them of their home country.

However, Harb also experienced challenges fitting into the broader Canadian society.

“I didn’t realize the difficulties of wearing a hijab in public school because everyone accepted me and my outward appearance. As I advanced through the grades and into middle and high school, I started to feel different. I was the only student in the class to wear a hijab, but I successfully overcame these difficulties.”

– Zuher Almusre, U Multicultural

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