Column: No judgement here


By Farhin Lilywala

Reflecting on religious discrimination

To look profoundly through a person’s outer being and discover one’s true inner beauty is a noble act in itself. Regrettably, very few people bother taking upon such an act. They would rather hate and discriminate than accept and learn.

The tragedy of it is, these differences seem to come out when it’s supposed to be the “happiest time of the year.”

I am a Muslim and I have been discriminated against since before I even knew the definition of discrimination. Quite frankly, I have never understood why people choose to see what makes people different with a negative connotation.

Each person is unique, and that is wonderful. Be who you are and what you want to be. Why does that have to be a bad thing?

What baffles me even more is that during the holidays, these small differences turn into points of isolation.

I have been asked countless number of times whether I celebrate Thanksgiving or if I celebrate Christmas. And no matter what my answer is, I am excluded from the conversation because as a Muslim, I, of course, wouldn’t know what they are talking about.

I don’t understand how that is relevant. Just because I follow Islam does not mean I know nothing about other religions and other traditions.

In fact, last year, my family and I even put up a Christmas tree to symbolize peace and harmony within our family.

For the past five years, we have done Secret Santa every Christmas.

For as long as I can remember, we have sat down at the dinner table every Thanksgiving and enjoyed homemade Indian and American cuisine. And might I say, I make a delicious mango pie.

Rather than discovering those things about me, I am assumed an outsider without even being one.

So this holiday season, I challenge you: talk to someone you have never spoken to in your life without assuming that he or she will be one way or another.

Sounds impossible? Maybe it is. But you will never know until you open your mind and heart to the possibility of it happening.

Contact Farhin Lilywala, news editor,


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