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Arab Daughters and African Sons

Babes

Another wintry day in Ottawa, the town that fun forgot. Not for the first time Laila Fatimid wondered why her parents fled their hometown of Abu Kamal, Syria, for frosty Ontario, Canada. Head down against the heavy snowfall, the young woman walked up the hill leading to her neighborhood in the Barrhaven sector. I hate Ottawa, she cursed under her breath. A car barreling down the icy road came dangerously close to clipping her on the sidewalk’s edge, and she flipped the bird at the uncaring driver, who just continued on his merry way as if nothing had happened.

At last Laila arrived at the corner of Tartan and Jockvale, and walked up her house steps. Willing her frozen fingers to reach into her pocket, she fumbled with the key for several seconds before finally inserting it into the lock. Hey Shaqiqa ( sister ), her brother Ibrahim greeted her. Tall, broad-shouldered and muscular, with a smooth, shaved head, Ibrahim Fatimid was the eldest son of the family and the only one of her relatives she got along with.

Come here, Ibrahim said, giving her a hug. Hey brother I’m freezing, Laila muttered under her breath, her nearly frozen lips refusing to open fully. Finally she took off her silvery hijab, freeing her shoulder-length frizzy black hair. Laughing, her brother took off her coat and hung it up. I left you some food on the table, he said, then went into the basement. Knowing Ibrahim, he would be down there for a while. The basement was his official corner, even though he had his bedroom upstairs and the family garage was littered with his old comic books and musical instruments, whom he refused to either move or get rid of.

Kicking off her boots and slipping out of her wet, freezing socks, Laila made her way into the kitchen. A delicious plate of Chinese food awaited her. Shrimp-fried rice with orange chicken and two spring rolls. Brother you’re the best, she shouted, wondering if Ibrahim heard her. Probably not. Her elder brother wasn’t home often and when he did come to visit, he was in his own little world. In a bid to escape their controlling parents, Ibrahim opted to study civil engineering at Ryerson University in Toronto instead of attending one of Ottawa’s many schools. As usual, Ibrahim was in the basement, playing Grand Theft Auto.

Laila ate in silence, watching a rerun of Stargate Atlantis on TV and trying really hard not to think about the day’s events. Not for the first time she silently thanked her lucky stars that neither of her brothers attended Carleton University. Her other brother Khalid was at Algonquin College, studying business administration. If Ibrahim or Khalid went to Carleton, then they might know what was going on with her, and there would be hell to pay. Laila’s cell phone buzzed, and she smiled faintly when she realized who it was.

Hey boo, David texted her. Hey babe I can’t talk now I’m eating, Laila messaged back. Just checking to see if you’re alright, David wrote back, followed by a sad face. Laila blinked back tears as she kissed her phone’s on-screen wall paper, the very first picture they took together while hanging out at Silver City on their first date. Soon babe, she told herself, soon. On the tube, the handsome black warrior known as Teal’C battled a ferocious ( and equally black ) alien fighter called Imhotep.

The sight of these two muscular, tuzla escort well-built and dark-skinned men fighting stirred Laila, causing her momentarily forget her troubles. Her heart skipped a beat as they put their athletic prowess on display, and her groin tingled. That is one fine brother, she whispered to herself as she watched Teal’C take down Imhotep in a last-minute move. Growing up in a household with two older brothers obsessed with comic books and science fiction movies, Laila really got into shows like Buffy, Angel, Stargate and The Invisible Man. She had crushes on two well-known African-American science fiction actors, Christopher Judge of Stargate fame and the guy who played Commander Worf on Star Trek.

Looks like I was destined to fall for a black man, Laila thought, sipping on a Pepsi she took from the nearby fridge. Of course, this was something she had to keep to herself. For her father, Aziz Fatimid was the Imam of the Sal Al Din Masjid, the largest mosque in the City of Ottawa. As a leader of the Muslim community, he had an image to maintain, and expected his children to follow his rules. His strict, downright draconian ways drove a wedge between him and his eldest son Ibrahim. Laila shuddered as she recalled the shouting matches between her father and her elder brother. Ibrahim’s decision to study in Toronto did not sit well with their father, to say the least.

It’s my life, Ibrahim had said, as he walked out the door on that faithful day, two weeks after his high school graduation. He moved to Toronto, where he stayed with a friend, working until school began. Then he moved into the residences at Ryerson. The gifted but headstrong young man returned home only sporadically, sometimes deliberately avoiding his father on these trips. When their father clashed with Ibrahim, Laila was forced to be the voice of reason since her other brother Khalid was too much of a coward to ever stand up to their padre. As the de-facto lady of the household, even in patriarchal Islam, Laila had a certain power. She considered the well-being of her father and brothers her personal duty.

Last year, Laila helped Ibrahim weather a storm when his ex-girlfriend Jacqueline Rosenthal, the daughter of a Rabbi, broke up with him after sixteen months together. Her orthodox Jewish family did not approve of her dating a Muslim guy from Syria, to say the least. Laila saw the breakup coming a mile away. From the moment she laid eyes on the tall, freckle-faced redhead bimbo whom Ibrahim was so fond of, Laila knew that Jacqueline wasn’t the one for him. Of course, Ibrahim refused to heed her warnings. Such is love, Laila thought bitterly.

Yes, love was a powerful thing indeed. A few months ago, while hanging out at the Mansion Night Club in downtown Ottawa, a good friend of Laila’s saw her brother Khalid making out with another guy. And she surreptitiously took their picture. As the matriarch of the Fatimid clan, Laila was forced to do some serious damage control. For if their father found out that Khalid was gay, he would surely kill him. Of course, Laila suspected her brother might be gay or at the very least bisexual for a long time, she just never had any proof. Khalid was tall, strongly built, athletic and masculine, but he never had a girlfriend. He always hung out with some guys whom she göztepe escort found very suspect.

When Laila confronted Khalid with the evidence of his deeds, he denied it till kingdom come. I love you and do not judge you brother, Laila reassured him. A sobbing Khalid hugged her fiercely, and from that moment on, their bond as siblings was strengthened. For Laila was the only person on earth who knew Khalid’s darkest secret. The two of them traded stories. For Khalid knew that Laila liked to sneak out, sans hijab, and go party once in a while. He covered for her and she covered for him. Laila even got her Lebanese girlfriend Alia Salman to act as Khalid’s beard in front of her father and elder brother, in exchange for tickets to the Shen Yun festival at the National Arts Center.

Reassured that his ‘good’ son was on the right path, sheikh Aziz Fatimid backed off a bit, much to the collective relief of his sons and daughter. Laila finished her plate, and tossed it in the trash bin before heading to her room upstairs. Lying on her bed, she thought about the events of the day. After her second-year law class in the Tory Building ended, Laila went to the food court to meet her boyfriend David Toussaint for lunch. The six-foot-three, brawny and dark-skinned Haitian-Canadian ex-football player who stole her heart looked absolutely sexy in a red silk shirt and blue jeans. Hey babe, he said, greeting her with a hug and kiss.

Coy as a kitten, Laila playfully smacked her boyfriend on his well-shaped ass before sitting down. David blinked in surprise, then smiled. Around the lunchroom, people stared, for they made for one odd couple. The tall, dark-skinned man and the tiny, pale and skinny young woman in the long dark dress and hijab. Laila and David ignored them, for when they were together nothing else mattered. They ate some delicious Shawarma sandwiches, and David told her about his day. For he wasn’t just an MBA candidate at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Business, he was also a teacher’s assistant. Classes are dull, David groaned. Laila nodded, then chided him about his complaints. Personally, she’d love to have a job but her father wouldn’t allow it.

When he wasn’t preaching at the Masjid or traveling all over North America for Islamic conferences, her father ran his businesses with an iron fist. He owned two restaurants in Ottawa and one in the Gatineau area. He was on a first-name basis with the Mayor, the Police Chief and lots of other local big-shots. For he was one of Ottawa’s movers and shakers. Sound investments and business acumen made Aziz Fatimid a multimillionaire. He did not want his only daughter to work some menial job while at university. And Laila had no desire to work at any of her father’s restaurants. Talk about an impasse.

Laila and David finished their meal, then, hand in hand, they walked to the bus stop. While waiting in the freezing booth among throngs upon throngs of bored-looking students, they ran into a group of young Arab men. Their eyes went from David to Laila, and back again. One said something in Arabic which made Laila’s blood boil. In the same language, she told him to go fuck himself. Angrily the young Arab man stepped toward Laila, but David blocked his path. The two young men stood, eyeball to eyeball.

Touch her and üsküdar escort I’ll break your jaw, David said calmly to the other man. The young Arab glared at David and smiled. For a moment, no one said anything. He exchanged a look with his two companions, who stood a couple meters back. Fuck you nigger lover, the Arab smirked, winking at Laila. A moment later he was staggering as David’s fist connected with his jaw. The Arab guy’s friends jumped in, and David seemed to be in trouble. Fearlessly Laila jumped to her boyfriend’s aid. All around them, the crowd of students shouted, encouraging them to fight. Moments later, campus police arrived.

Long story short? All parties involved were ‘escorted’ to the campus police office. David and Laila explained their side of the story, as did the Arab student Mahmoud and his buddies Kader and Wahid. Since David wasn’t a Carleton University student, they came down on him, hard. Basically David faced a choice between ending up in the Ottawa Police Service’s custody, or being banned from the Carleton University campus for life. He picked the latter option. As for Laila, since she was the ‘victim’ in all this, for the campus police saw her as the hapless female watching brutal men getting into a scuffle, she was allowed to go free.

Laila shuddered to think as to what might have happened to her beloved David if campus police hadn’t showed up. As a former CIS football player, David was pretty strong but he was definitely outnumbered. Mahmoud and his buddies would have seriously messed him up. I would have fought for you with my last breath, she thought. Yes, for him she would have risked life and limb. For the first time in her nineteen years, Laila Fatimid was in love. For her, being with David was akin to walking in the sun after an eternity of darkness. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for him. The twenty-four-year-old Haitian-Canadian stud who stole her heart. And yet, in the eyes of the world, they were considered strange. Why must it be this way? she wondered silently.

As a young Syrian-Canadian woman well-versed in all aspects of Islam and its heavily Arabian influence, Laila Fatimid knew all too well why the powers that be felt that she and David couldn’t be together. For starters, he was black, and many Arabs looked down on the black race, even though Africans were among the first to heed the Prophet Mohammed’s Call to Islam. Indeed, the people of Somalia and nearby African countries embraced Islam at a time when most Arabian nations resisted the Prophet’s Word with tooth and nail. Even if David had been Muslim, many would have objected to her with being with him. Arab racism is a powerful thing, she thought wistfully.

Alone in her room, in the silent, comforting darkness, Laila Fatimid swore that she would do whatever it took to be with David. Inwardly she shuddered as she thought of the young Haitian-Canadian gentleman who once knelt before her and kissed her hand, calling her his Desert Goddess. What was her life without him? Boring and empty. The life of a preacher’s daughter, always putting on airs and behaving as though she were a pure, radiant saint. Keeping up the façade was required of her, as the daughter of a Muslim leader. And yet she longed to live her life, to love, and be loved. What would her father do to her if he found out about her and David? He’d kill her for sure, that she knew beyond the shadow of a doubt. And yet, she wouldn’t give him up. Such is love, Laila thought bitterly. Picking up her phone, she dialed up David’s number. Caution be damned, she had to see him again, and soon.

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