Changing Lenses: Diversify Your Perspectives

Ep308: What Ramadan Means to Me, with Saleha Khan

March 30, 2022 Rosie Yeung Season 3 Episode 308
Changing Lenses: Diversify Your Perspectives
Ep308: What Ramadan Means to Me, with Saleha Khan
Show Notes Transcript

Ramadan Mubarak! This special episode of the Changing Lenses podcast is being released just before the holy month of Ramadan, an incredibly significant time in the Islamic faith.

Before I met Saleha Khan, the only thing I really knew about Ramadan was that people fasted for the whole month between sunrise and sunset. In order to truly appreciate what Ramadan means, and how it would be celebrated if Islam was the norm (vs. Christianity or secularism), I asked Saleha to share how she experiences Ramadan.

Saleha was born in Pakistan, raised in Saudi Arabia, and now lives in Canada. She graciously agreed to share her childhood stories of Ramadan in Riyadh, and how that compares to Ramadan as a Muslim woman in Canada.

Saleha also happens to be a specialist in equity, diversity and inclusion, having worked in this field for over 20 years, almost 14 of which was spent with various Ontario police forces.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The spiritual and relational meaning of Ramadan
  • Why people fast during Ramadan, and who does (and doesn’t) fast
  • The hardest part of fasting for Saleha (surprise, it’s not feeling hungry!)
  • If you’re not Muslim, how you can create an inclusive work environment for people who honour Ramadan
  • If you are Muslim, how you can advocate for more inclusion at work during Ramadan

Full episode transcript available here.

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Guest Bio and References/Links

A little about Saleha in her own words:
I have been involved in Diversity & Inclusion development for almost nineteen years now; I consider myself to be one of those blessed ones who work in the same field where their passions and interests lie. I grew up in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural setting and I find that experience has helped me gain insights into human behavior that has supported my journey in leadership development for those entrusted to me. I see this work as a social and ethical responsibility that needs critical perspective and global viewpoints to not only begin courageous conversations in safe spaces but to create those bold places where conversations turn into actions that bring about culture shift.

Find Saleha on:


References and resources in this episode:

Names for Allah (God):

Fawazeer Ramadan TV Show:

With comments made by children between the age of 8 and 12

Support Changing Lenses


Please note: the transcripts attempt to stay true to the essence of each conversation, while maintaining clarity and readability. As a result, certain "filler" words, and nuances of tone, emotion and emphasis will be missing.

If you're able, you're strongly encouraged to listen to the audio podcast. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human editors, and may contain errors.


Ep308: What Ramadan Means to Me, with Saleha Khan

[intro music begins]

Rosie: Hello friend and Ramadan Kareem. This special episode of the Changing Lenses podcast is being released just before the holy month of Ramadan. An incredibly significant time in the Islamic faith. I am Rosie Yeung, your host and guide on the journey of justice, equity, decolonization, and inclusion, or JEDI for short. My mission is to help people with privilege dismantle systemic inequity while helping people without privilege survive it.

Now I myself am not Muslim, which is why I've invited Saleha Khan to share what Ramadan means to her as a Muslim woman, living in Canada. Saleha was born in Pakistan, raised in Saudi Arabia and immigrated to Canada as an adult.

She also happens to be a specialist in equity, diversity, and inclusion having worked in this field for over 20 years, almost 14 of which was spent with various Ontario police forces. Saleha is also active in social justice and volunteering outside of work and was previously recognized by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women for the Women who Inspire award.

So Saleha's professional experience is clearly relevant and impressive, but our conversation today is going to be more personal. We're going to hear how she experienced Ramadan in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan countries, where Islam is the majority. And then we're going to hear how she experiences Ramadan today, as well as her overall experiences as a Muslim woman, living in Canada. If you are an HR or people manager who's ever had to respond to requests for religious or cultural time off beyond Christian and stat holidays, maybe this episode will help you understand why it is so important and necessary to provide it. And if you already understand why it's important and are wondering how you can respect and support your coworkers and friends who observe Ramadan. Saleha will give you some ideas for that also.

I know that there may be some sensitive or triggering topics that come up. So I commit to you that I'm listening and sharing from a place of love and respect. That your story matters and that your truth is welcome here. And for you, who's listening right now, please be aware that we will be talking about sensitive topics like racism and Islamophobia. So do you take care of yourself. Listen with caution and take breaks or stop as needed. So with that, Saleha. As-salamu alaikum. Welcome. And thank you for being here today.

[intro music ends]


Saleha: Wa alaykumu as-salam. That was a very kind introduction. Thank you so much, Rosie for that.

Rosie: It is our honor to have you here, especially right before Ramadan starts. And I also kind of want to mention to our listener that this is not meant to be, you know, you are the teacher of all things Islam. And we just have to listen to this one episode and we know everything about Ramadan.

Please listen to her. I encourage you to do your own learning. This is one part of our learning, but the burden should never be on any one person. So we're grateful that you're here to share your personal story and also what things are like in different countries where faith is not majority Christian. So, maybe we could actually start with that. If you could tell us what it was like living in Saudi Arabia as a woman, as a Muslim woman and dismantle or demystify some stereotypes that we in the west typically have about that.

Saleha: So I can start with, uh, there are escalators and elevators. The shopping malls are absolutely astoundingly beautiful. You get your choice and pick of European luxury and, you know, perfumes that you want from France or from Italy. It's interesting because when I moved here, I think, and I moved in 2001 and one of the first things that I really noticed was how it was an experience that was lacking for me. It was an experience that made me miss having access to the things that I had, where I just of kind of took them for granted.

You know, I wasn't driving, but I was driven everywhere. My kids went to school. I was teaching at a university. I was running my own business. I had my consulting. I taught men and women. So it wasn't so different. And the difference that I felt was more in terms of, oh, I no longer have access to the things that I was used to. And I know I'm speaking from a place of privilege. I absolutely know that, you know, growing up with the home that we had, we had everything. My parents were very well off. So it was never an issue of, okay, where are we going to go? And what's going to happen. And, you know, eating out or not like all the restaurants were there. And it was funny because some of the chains that I used to go to in Riyadh haven't yet made their way into Canada. Haven't yet made their way into the Eastern side of Canada. And again, like in terms of access, in terms of what I would miss, those were some of the things that I would, I can always go back and say, oh, we didn't have that. Um, no, we actually had a lot more over there and far more greater access. And again, as I said, I am coming from a place of privilege

When it comes to Ramadan cause those were some of the questions that we had kind of talked about. So growing up, all of my Ramadan's were actually in Saudi Arabia. I never celebrated Ramadan in. Let me see. Should I say never? Yeah, well like until four, I have no memory of from before that in Pakistan, per-se

Rosie: So is it that you were too young to remember or that you actually didn't celebrate it in Pakistan.

Saleha: I'm too young to remember. I was three and a half when we left. So my memory doesn't go back to the celebration of Ramadan and what it would have been in Pakistan? I don't, I just don't remember it.

Rosie: My memory doesn't go to yesterday.

Saleha:: But definitely in terms of Saudi Arabia. That whole month is, you know, starting of Ramadan. So actually the, the whole kind of recognition that Ramadan is coming would have begun from the first of Shaban, which fell on 4th of March. And so, you know, that whole month is kind of a preparation and it's a physical preparation and it's a mental preparation. There's an excitement that comes in our homes, there's an excitement in the community. There's this sense of, okay, Ramadan is going to be there. One of the prayers that I was taught was that when Ramadan is ending, we are sad. There is a huge celebration because it's Eid, right? So and Eid, actually the word itself means happiness and joy and a celebration of joy. So we celebrate yet at the same time we're sad to see it go because it's a guest. It's a reminder. It's that significant time that comes to us once a year. And we wait for it for the whole year. And as it leaves us, we wish for it, for ourselves to see it the next year as well.

Rosie: Saleha, I really want to hear because again, in the west, there's so many things that gets distorted into how oppressive or how uncomfortable Islam is. And honestly, how I became aware of Ramadan, it was years ago because I had some Muslim friends, but all I really knew about it was people are fasting and, oh, isn't that difficult because you're hungry and thirsty the whole day and people have to change their work schedules because it's based on this.

So it just, it sounds uncomfortable would be the nicest way to put it. But what you're describing is something that people are looking forward to and it's anticipatory kind of like in Christians would feel about Christmas. So what is Ramadan? What is the significance of Ramadan would bring that anticipation.

Saleha: So the significance of Ramadan as I grew up with it. So as a child, I didn't fast. I was actually not allowed to fast. Because there is no fasting that will be prescribed for a child, a person who is unwell, an elderly person, a woman who's menstruating, or a woman who is pregnant, or has given birth recently, or someone who's nursing.

So there are kind of caveats around it that you have to be physically fit to be able to fast. And, you know, whole notion that women are not going to be fasting for A, B or C or D reasons it's connected with the fact that especially for a woman's body is uh, either maintaining itself or is sustaining another being. So whether it's through pregnancy or whether it's through nursing. So that's the part where, you know, they're not going to fast at that time because they need to be nourishing themselves so that they're able to nourish and sustain another life.

Ramadan is a cleansing, uh, reconnection, deactivating, decoupling, shutting down from everything that is around that keeps us connected to the material side of who we are. Really kind of recharging our metaphysical batteries if we're gonna say that, um, it's the time to take a pause on multiple levels. So the physical side of pause is the fasting, right? So we're not going to eat. We're not going to drink from sunrise to sunset. And so it's very specific timing. And beyond that, of course you have the time to eat whatever you want, drink whatever's acceptable. And so ultimately what it forces us to do is to take care of our bodies. We're going to give them a break. We're going to kind of reset the body system. And that's why the way the fasting is done, you do the fasting and it's not like over a much longer period of timeframe. It's just that one month of resetting. So that's the physical aspect of it.

In terms of the the kind of the spiritual side is, of course, that's the time when we are going and praying in a congregational setting. Where we're praying in a group and we're praying with the community. So I'm able to look at people around me and I can connect with them and I can see someone who's hurting and I can see someone who is in need and I can see someone I'm like, wow you know, you're not looking well, is everything okay? So again, there's also the resetting of personal relationships. And a reminder to myself, to me as a person, as a Muslim person that I have a responsibility towards my neighbors. I have a responsibility towards my community. And that's why the idea, you know, culturally speaking, how it's been reflected in is people are getting together to break fast. People are getting together. Here, you know, in Canada. Those who can, will go to the mosque and bring food items to break fast so that everybody can share it. So it's also again strengthening the community and people learning to share, and people learning in that aspect where haves and have nots are basically equalized, right? So because I have access to funds, I can make so much and I can bring it to a place. And those who are coming in to eat, everyone is sitting down and eating together. So no one knows who actually had food cooked in their home that night, or they didn't, right. Because everybody's sitting down and eating together. So that is also the part of community sharing and community caring that comes out of that.

So that's how I look at it in terms of , you know, why Ramadan is what it is and what it has meant to me as a child who is growing up and as a person. And so culturally speaking, the first time I fasted, uh, so as a child, when I was fasting, I would literally be told that I did the same thing with my kids. I would tell them, cause they were so little and it was like, no, I want to fast. And you know, they'd get upset. Like, well, no, you're not fasting. No, well, why are you fasting? Why can't I fast? I'm like, okay, fine. So then they will fast between breakfast and lunch. And then they will fast between lunch and dinner time for example, when we'll be breaking fast.

Rosie: That's very sacrificial for kids though.

Saleha: It was very Yes. It's very sacrificial for kids at that time. And fasting the physical side of the fasting. But the biggest side of the fasting that really is the most significant is controlling our ego. Controlling our anger. Thinking more in terms of gratitude. And one of the things that we do as part of fasting is before Ramadan begins I would reach out to family and friends and I would seek their forgiveness. And I would say for the hurt that I have given you intentionally and for the hurt I have given you unintentionally. Cause sometimes I know I do that, you know, open wide insert both feet. So sometimes I say things and I, I do not know that I would have hurt another person, but I need to get that. I need to seek that forgiveness from them to say, Hey, so that as we start that month, we're starting that month with again, recognition of how that cleansing is going to be. So that's kinda sorta what happens over over the month for us in terms of the spiritual and the physical aspect. One of the questions I always get is, oh my God, not even water.

And I'm like, yep, you're right. Not even water. Oh, so you're not going to eat anything. I said, no, listen. And I always say that I'm like, look. This is the deal for this entire month. You will not see me eating. You will not see me drinking during the day hours from this time to this time. And a lot of times people have said, and that's very respectful when they say that, oh, I'm eating in front of you. I don't feel good about it. And at my end, it's perfectly okay. And there will be other people for whom it will not be easy. If the person hasn't expressed it, a lot of times, a lot of times people do not want to make waves. Because I'm not necessarily walking down the hallway saying I'm fasting, I'm fasting. We don't do that. You know, most of us do not do that. Because it's a very personal and private act of worship at the same time

So we're fasting and a lot of times, you know, it's lunchtime, uh, oh, Hey, aren't you coming and joining us? No, that's okay. You know, not today. A lot of times people will not say beyond that, you know. They're just not going to even say I am fasting or whatever. Because of how I work and where I work in, the job that I do. I find that it's easier for me to say, yeah, well, no, you know what, not today, I'm fasting this week. The thing, of course, that always comes up as a woman for me is, uh, and as someone who hasn't hit menopause yet. Is that when I'm on my period, I'm not, I'm not fasting. So that's when I would just walk in and I like, oh, Hey, and I'll pick something up from the table and I'm eating and they're looking at me going. But you were fasting.

Rosie: Aren’t you fasting?

Saleha: Yeah. Aren't you fasting? And I'm like, Nope, I'm not fasting today. And it's in a room full of men and women, you know, sometimes there's always, someone was like, oh, why not? And then I'm like, well.

Rosie: I have my period.

Saleha: That's the reason. And the funniest thing is the reaction that I get from the room. You know, it's just like ugh. It's like, normal. It's okay. It's just. It's life. But a lot of times people do not want to make waves. They don't want to stick out. Muslim women who wear a hijab specifically stick out as it is already. Muslim men who will wear cultural clothing or wear a kufi again, same thing. They will also stick out. I haven't changed my name. I kind of stick out because of that. And I stick out anyway because of the color of my skin and who I am. So we don't necessarily want to draw further attention to ourselves, especially in an environment that is rife with discrimination, unfortunately. And so it just becomes a little bit more challenging then to be placed in scenarios and situations where you're constantly being reminded.

Rosie: This is also what I would like people to understand. And I want to understand is when Ramadan. Ramadan itself sticks out. Because it's not the norm in Canada and in the US. What is it like working during, I don't know if you work personally when you're in Saudi Arabia, but for your parents or people working. What is it like when it is the norm? Is at work as usual, or is it different?

Saleha: The last two weeks of Ramadan. It was generally when people would take time off. So, you know, you've got your summer vacation and then you get that timeframe, you know, you have the vacation time that you have. And I'm saying summer vacation for me because I went to school. So I got a summer vacation. But for adults who are working, there was no summer vacation of course, right. Like they're just, they're going to work throughout all the time. But people were given that time off. That was part of the package. That two weeks were paid off. The last two weeks of Ramadan and then the first week of Eid. So there were three weeks that people would take off. Paid time. And it was a time for us to be together. It was a time for us to do all those things, all those, you know, uh, people in Saudi Arabia, you know, that was the time when we would go to Mecca, we would go and spend the last few days in Mecca and actually be there. But when it came to Eid we would be flying back and having Eid at home because you want it to be home for that celebration. Yeah, it's time off. The stores and the restaurants work at a very different timeframe, which is amazing because the stores stay closed during the daytime and they completely switch it over. So they open right from before Iftar. So all the food places are open right from before Iftar all the way till sunrise. So you can go and shop and eat and do whatever the heck you want to do. Go out with your friends and, you know, have a nice meal. Like it's, all the activities are available to you. So daytime, most young people and kids who are not working are sleeping. And you know, you kind of catch up on your sleep at that time. So you it's kind of switched around a little bit. For us here. I'll be honest when the days are the longest and the nights are the shortest. That's a tough time. And the toughness for me personally was because of lack of sleep, because you break fast around 10 o'clock at night, and then you have to be up to eat. and Like, it's frowned upon that I will not eat before starting my fast. I have to have a solid meal before that. For someone who hates having breakfast, the whole idea of eating at three o'clock in the morning just doesn't work. So yeah, so for me, and again, like by the time you've finished your prayer and everything, it's almost 12, almost midnight. So you are like, okay, so you can just kind of cluttering your way up to bed. And then just the idea that I have to get up at three in the morning, so I can at least drink some water or have some oatmeal, put some food in my mouth and then. You just can't do that.

Rosie: And then you have a full day of work.

Saleha: And then you have a full day of work of course. You have a full day of work. Um, personally. It's the lack of sleep that gets me more than anything else. That and not being able to have coffee right off the bat.

Rosie: That's a bad combination.

Saleha: That's a bad combination. Yeah.

Rosie: Okay. So living in Canada. Yes. Fine. You're not going to have time off for the kids from school. You're not going to have two weeks, blah, blah, blah. Putting aside, just paid time off, not paid time off. Cause I have very strong opinions about giving some paid time off, but how can, we, who are not Muslim, but want to support Muslim women and sorry, Muslims in general and some women in the workplace. What can we do to allow you to celebrate and mark Ramadan the way that you'd want to. You and, anybody else who'd want to celebrate the same way.

Saleha: So whenever I've worked with community and especially with community stakeholders, cause that's part of my job is, is engaging with community organizations. I would avoid putting in meeting times very close to the time of breaking fast. And again, just being aware of what time, the are going to break because like right now, we are heading towards winter.

So because it's a lunar cycle, right? So we fast based on the lunar cycle and it's a lunar calendar. So in my lifetime, depending on an average person, let's say if it's a 40 year lifetime. They would have fasted through every season. They would have fasted through all the times of the days. You know, short days and long days. So in December I remember fasting in December, it was tough because the prayers are so short. Like the time between the prayers is so short that I would miss praying on time. And again, it's like, okay, I only have a window of an hour in here and I've got a window of an hour and a half in the year. And the other thing for me was I needed to get home so that I could Iftar prepared for myself and for my kids at five o'clock and I'm working until four thirty or I'm working until five. So at that time I had gone and talked to my manager and I said, I'm not taking lunch. So can I leave an hour early? Right. So that's something in terms of the accommodation side is you can always switch sometime around for people. And at that time it was like, okay, we're not going to be booking time for having meetings. Evening meetings with the community stakeholders, because sometimes we would meet in the evening and like, we're not going to do it at five or six o'clock in the evening because that's the time when people are breaking fast so we'll wait for them. So avoid those kinds of timeframes. Most of the people. Again I'm going to say most people just build their own time in their own ways. And then they adjust their time accordingly. But you know, again, it's just in terms of checking, in with your people and that's the most important thing around equity is we don't make the decisions for another person. We need to bring them in the conversation and say, what is it that's going to be better for you at the end of the day. What's going to work for you from week to week because things can change week to week, right? So it makes sense for people to. And I always say that there is a necessity for employees and those who are colleagues to be open about sharing themselves as well and sharing what's going to be important for them. You know, I don't think that it's fair for me as an employee to say I'm not going to tell my manager anything yet. I expect my manager to know what to do. So it's communication and communication is imperative and it's absolutely essential. And yes, supervisors and people who are in positions of power over others definitely have a responsibility to create that safe space. To go up and say, Hey, I just wanted to learn about this thing. Can you tell me what it is that I can do? So what is easy for me is probably not going to be easy for the other 90% of people. And what's easy for other 90% of people is probably not going to be easy for me. So it's a very personal thing and it's important for us to, to talk to the person and find out what's going to work for them.

Rosie: I'm so glad that you can put your equity lens on and bring that into the conversation as well. Cause you're totally right. And as much as we are all learning a lot, right now, we should never assume that this applies to everybody. This is your experience. It's your family's experience and it could be different. Yes. So thank you for that reminder. This isn't specific to Ramadan, but I do want to bring in the aspect again. Because I think that part of the changing lenses is understanding what the significance and the meaning and the beauty is behind differences. Like a different cultural belief or different religious belief. And so often when, like you'd mentioned Hijabs. It frustrates me, because there's condemnation or stigmatization in Canada and the US around aspects of clothing that signify Islam when we don't even know what it means, like you're condemning something just because it's different really.

And we've talked. You and I Saleha about your head scarf and when you wore it and when you've chosen not to wear it. So maybe if you could share with us what it is to wear the headscarf, and then what you went through in deciding whether or not to continue.

Saleha: So I'll start with this story. Um, this is let's say 2002. So post September 11, I was working at an organization. I was a newly minted as a coordinator in that place. And I remember I was working and I was just sitting at my desk and there's a sweet, sweet, sweet lady that was waiting to meet with another person across the room. And she looks at me and she smiles and I smile back. And then she looks at me and smiles again, and I smiled like again, and I was like, okay, you know, so I said, hello. And you know, so she walks up to me and she says, you know, I want to tell you. You're in Canada, you don't have to wear this on your head. And so she touches my scarf. Okay. I said, I said, thank you. You know, I'm like, all right, let's just leave it at that. She goes, no, no, your husband can not force you to wear this here. And I said, well actually, I don't have a husband. So I don't think the non-existent can force me to do anything I don't want. Yes, but okay. Your father cannot force you to do this. And I said, well, my dad actually lives in Colorado. So that's about 3000 miles away from me. He wouldn't know what I'm doing. And honestly he wouldn't care. So no. I'm doing it for me. And you know, I'm wearing it because I'm in Canada. And she was a little surprised and taken aback. And then she said, okay, you know what? This one just doesn't get it. And she walked away, but she was very sweet. And the reason I say that is because I've been in Turkey when Turkey, you were not allowed to wear a headscarf. You were forbidden to wear a headscarf if you were to go into a university. You couldn't go into a university as a student and wear a headscarf. And so there are countries in this world and in India, it's happening right now. There are countries in this world where they're not going to let you do something because that's what they say. And, here I am in Canada where I'm allowed to do it. You know it was about identity. And that's what it always has been was it was about identity. It was about saying, this is who I am. Um, I did. I took it off. Uh, I became. And this is me personally saying about myself. It's my judgment on me and nothing else was that I got tired and I became a coward. And that cowardice finally came from feeling judged and having to always respond and always be justifying myself and always be there to, you know, somehow is being seen as a representative of an entire, I don't know, a billion and a half people.

And it just became, like I said, I just, I lost the courage to carry it on. And I say that because it takes here in Canada when a woman chooses to wear hijab. And it is a choice mostly here when a woman chooses to wear hijab. You know, a lot of times the expectation is that she's being forced. And I'm not going to deny that. Yes, there could be, there will be places and spaces where maybe it is a cultural expectation at their end, and it's not a religious expectation. It's a cultural expectation for them. And if that's the case, you will see in many cases that the young person may leave the home with a headscarf on, but by the time they get to the school, that headscarf has gone. And it's just not going to be there anymore. And then they'll put it back on once they're walking into, into that space. Most women here. Most Muslim women here. Choose to wear it. And they're choosing to wear it because it is a matter of identity. It is a matter of them signifying themselves in worship of God. It's who they are.

I have no reason or allowance to judge another person by the presence or absence of the headscarf. I am not allowed to do that. I can not judge another person's faith perspective. I am not allowed to do it. I don't know what's in their heart, but anybody who is going to be wearing that scarf, I will see that. And I will respect that as a choice that they're making. Yes, it is courageous at their end. And honestly at the end of the day, it's not doing me any harm on a personal level. It's not impacting me at all on a personal level. So I mean, if you see someone walking down the street and they've got a headscarf on. a human being, who's wearing something. Expressing in Canada, which they're allowed to express their faith, their culture in some cases, and their identity as to who they are. And who are we to take that away?

Rosie: I'm still feeling really heartbroken, honestly, to hear you use the words. I know you were saying, this is just you, your own opinion of yourself, but I don't see It at all as cowardice. I don't know if that's just something that came out or if you really in your heart believe that. To me, this is where also being trauma-informed is so important in equity work, where I think the last word that will come to mind is cowardice. Yes. it's courageous. I think for women to wear a headscarf or any other piece of identifying clothing that would mark them out as different And a target. Because we know like, uh, Muslims are made targets of, It's totally putting a target on you.

Saleha: Especially for women. Yes.

Rosie: Yes, absolutely. And I would honor anybody who chooses to wear it. And I also honor people who choose not to wear for whatever their reasons are. Who am I to judge, of course. And I don't see it as cowardice at all because even though it takes courage for a woman to wear it. The opposite of that isn't cowardice.

Saleha: I understand what you're saying and I appreciate your comments. And really I do. I really do. But, but, and again, like I said, it's my personal opinion of myself. There's always been a measure of guilt in the fact that I've taken it off in public. And I'll be honest, like during Ramadan, when I put it back on and we're going to the mosque. It makes me happy. It's comforting. And so many times I've thought about putting it back on and I've gotten lazy and I'm comfortable in being somewhat invisible and that's where I am.

Rosie: I can totally resonate and empathize with that. Especially when in your day to day work, you already have to fight a lot of battles around equity. And that's wearing on a person.

Saleha: That's a nonstop one. Yes.

Rosie: Well Saleha. Thank you for gracing us with your stories. And yes, this has all been educational. But it's also been, I think, very deeply relational. And hopefully that actually is a way for me as a non Muslim, to be entering into the spirit of Ramadan too. That cleansing and the building of new relationships that we hopefully are having now together. And just so many things that absolutely love about what you've explained and the beauty, really the beauty and the power of not just Ramadan, but so many things in Islamic faith. And I just want to end by, I mean, you've already shared, like how can we support you. Sort of practical ways. Like how could co-worker support. But other than just wishing you Ramadan Mubarak and blessings on you as you enter the month with your family and your community, um any parting words you might want to give to us or other Muslim women?

Saleha: Absolutely. Whoever's around you who's fasting. Tell them that whatever you make for breaking the fast, make sure to include me and bring me some tomorrow.

Rosie: Good one. Yeah. Maybe some simosas in there too and some tea.

Saleha: Oh, you will have way more than simosas in there let me tell you.

Rosie: Oh gosh that's amazing. So Ramadan Mubarak. Ramadan Kareem to you.

Saleha: Thank you. Ramadan Mubarak. Ramadan Kareem.

Rosie: Thank you. So Saleha, so for anybody who might want to follow up and get in touch with you or even just to say, thank you for this message. Is there a way that they could get in touch with you?

Saleha: Sure I'm on LinkedIn. My first name, my last name. and I think they can find me there.

Rosie: I think they will. I know, especially, cause we'll put that in our show notes for anybody who's looking at our, and you know, listen to our show notes are on my website, which is So you'll find a transcript of everything that we discussed here, as well as the LinkedIn contact information for Saleha.

And if you resonated with this. Like, please share this. If you're listening and you're thinking there's somebody who either needs to not joke around about Ramadan or they want to just, you know, know that there's other women, other Muslims out there who are celebrating with them. And in the spirit together, please share this episode with them. You can do that straight from wherever you're listening right now, or from my website. Again, that's Thank you for joining us listener. Thank you, Saleha, for joining us. It's been so fun and so wonderful having you here.  Miigwetch, 多謝, 謝謝, Merci, and Thank You.

Saleha: Shukriya.

Rosie: Shukriya. Thank you.

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Rosie: That’s a wrap! This episode of Changing Lenses was produced and hosted by me, Rosie Yeung, with associate production by William Loo, on land that was taken from many Indigenous nations, including the Anishinaabe, the Huron-Wendat, the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Today it is still the home of many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, with whom I seek to reconcile by learning the true history of colonization, including things that seemed legal and honourable – like treaties – but were often marked by fraud and coercion. I’m Changing my Lens by learning to see land, creation, even business and economy through Indigenous worldviews. And I’m making new friends and building relationships with Indigenous neighbours, cousins, aunties and uncles, in a genuine desire to know, love, and honour them, and live together in peace.

This podcast is one way I’m sharing what I learn to help settler-immigrant folks decolonize our thinking, and respond to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Miigwetch, 多謝, 謝謝, Merci, and Thank You.

[outro music ends]