It’s that time of year again, when unsuspecting parents get run over by a pink colored bulldozer. Although I’m quite certain at this point no one has missed the conversation, because the only thing public school parents are talking about these days is the sex ed curriculum, but in case you think the boogie man is hiding somewhere in September, let me tell you, he’s coming for a visit next week!
April 8th marks International Anti Bullying Day, also known as “Day of Pink”, celebrated on the second Wednesday of April. A day designed for minorities to stand up and be recognized. A day for people to be proud of who they are and what they believe in. A day that hallmarks the very essence of diversity. But precisely, a day that spells out one clear message: “Anyone can bully, any can be victimized by bullying, but together we can stop it.”
That’s a beautiful message if you ask me! This is exactly what we need. We need to stop the bullying so our children can grow up strong and free and feel proud of who they are. Why wouldn’t everyone want that?
Except there’s a catch.
Although it IS meant to stand up against bullying, Pink Day has already formed its own popular cliques and if you’re not on the “cool” table for lunch, then your minority isn’t being celebrated. Muslims unfortunately didn’t make the “cool enough” cut. So it leaves the focus of Pink Day on another very pressing issue for Canadians – raising awareness to stop “homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, and all forms of bullying.” (except not really “all forms of bullying”, the focus is mainly the first three).
Fair enough. I understand that we need to be sensitive towards the people around us. No one needs to teach me that lesson, my Prophet (SAW) already taught me that over 1400 years ago. He was a man of kind and humble nature, and his adab and akhlaaq didn’t change towards others based on who they were or how they behaved. In true human excellence, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) made others feel loved, respected and honored, and he was a blessing to all of mankind. So when it comes to the way I treat others, or the way I raise my children to treat others, then there is no better example than that of my beloved Messenger (SAW) – and I can assure the school board that a child rooted in good Muslim values would never indulge in hurting, bullying or even speaking negatively to someone. I just hope all the Muslim parents out there reading this are able to stand by my words and help raise their children to be examples in their own communities, and live like the Prophet (SAW) did.
But the issue of Pink Day is still at large. And as we lazily recover from the long weekend, it won’t be long before we’re ambushed with another story of a gay chacha. The advantage this time is that we have a heads up… I’m giving you that heads up right now. What you choose to do on April 8th is your own decision. But I will tell you this much, ask to be informed. Don’t let history repeat itself this year. If you’re concerned and want to know what’s going to happen at school, then ask them. I sincerely hope that our educators are genuine people who want the new generation of Canadian Muslims to be raised to their best potential, and instead of creating cultural gaps, our schools are sensitive to the issues at hand and learn to balance their own need to teach, alongside a parent’s need to protect.
I can only pray that this year, unlike last, it isn’t the parents who end up getting bullied by the schools on Pink Day.