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Sharing Tips and Work Experience with Winnipeg’s International Muslim Students in Winnipeg

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Some Muslim students in Winnipeg, particularly female students, believe they are not accepted because of their physical appearance. Wearing the hijab (head cover) or niqab (face cover) provides a problem for them because of the negative mental picture that the media has created among those who look at them disrespectfully.

Mariyam Mohammad, President of the Muslim Student Association – a guest on the “Civic Platform” – shared some information about her experience with international students in Winnipeg. She gave many tips, especially for international Muslim female students.

In Mohammad’s first few years in Winnipeg, she felt incredibly alone and didn’t find much support from her community. She says it was difficult to integrate because of the great cultural difference. But with time, things became easier for her.

She overcame those feelings of isolation and found acceptance and community. She now takes those personal experiences to craft advice for others who feel alone. Mohammad advises international students to ask themselves why they are here and what they want to achieve. Another recommendation is to ask how you will accomplish those goals without giving up your religion, culture, and what you believe in. She says there will be hurdles and challenges, but if you can answer those questions, you can achieve your dreams.

The hijab, long beards, and Arabic dress have become a symbol of fear and violence today due to how the media has depicted all Muslims as extremists, according to the students. They often feel that they are strangers and not welcome for this reason.

In Islam, as with other societal groups, some paint a negative picture of the culture and people. The reality of Muslim students may be more difficult as it seems they often have to explain themselves, something society doesn’t ask of many other belief systems, in their view.

– Zuher Almusre, U Multicultural

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