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Ismaili women’s experiences of in-group discrimination Mohamed, Shamsah J. 2002

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I S M A I L I W O M E N ' S E X P E R I E N C E S OF I N - G R O U P D I S C R I M I N A T I O N by S H A M S A H J. M O H A M E D B . S c , The University of British Columbia, 1988 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF A R T S IN T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA JANUARY 2002 © Shamsah Mohamed, 2002 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of h E P f r f t T r l E A ) T Of f\T/0Nr\L f\Mb The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date f V f t U L , 2009 DE-6 (2/88) Abstract The Isma'TlTs in Vancouver, Canada at the present time are a religious group mainly from a South Asian ethnic background also sometimes referred to as Khqja Isma'ilTs. The purpose of this study is to illuminate the experiences of Isma'111 women who were identified as marginalized from the Isma'TlT community (e.g., they may not attend the Jama'at Khana on a regular basis, or they may have chosen to have limited contact within the community). In-group discrimination occurs through interactions with other members of the same community. Experiences of different forms of in-group discrimination were explored through in-depth interviews with six adult Isma'TlT women, aged 24 to 45, who immigrated to Canada within the last 30 years and who currently reside in Vancouver. The study used a multicase design and followed the constant comparative method of data analysis. Results revealed nine themes of discrimination; five causes or forms of discrimination, and four consequences or outcomes. In addition, the context in which the discrimination occurs, recommendations for the community, and positive aspects of the faith and religion as interpreted by the participants were presented. The results indicated that the women's experiences contained examples of in-group discrimination that ranged from classism to physical abuse; and reflected both structural and functional themes of discrimination. iii Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List of Figures vii Dedication viii Acknowledgements ix CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 The Experiences of IsmaTli Adult Women within their Community 1 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 4 Historical Background of Isma'TlT Immigration 4 Summary 10 Isma'IlI Culture and Community Status 11 Gender Issues 19 Family Structure 19 Summary 23 Discrimination 24 Focus Group Results: The Local Community 27 Theoretical Explanations for Discrimination 34 Illustrations of In-group Discrimination in Other Communities 35 Summary 39 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY 42 Design 42 Qualitative Research 43 Case Study 44 An Ethnographic Focus 46 Preconceptions 48 My Assumptions and Beliefs 49 Participants Participant Recruitment and Procedures Difficulties with Recruitment Interview Protocol First Interview Second Interview Recursive Data Analysis Analysis Cross Case Analysis The Constant Comparative Method The construction of themes Naming the themes Summary Validity, Reliability, and Ethics Internal validity Reliability External Validity Ethics Interview Questions Orienting Statement General Questions Positive and Negative Experiences Specific to Discrimination (If mentioned by the Participant) Concluding Questions and Ending CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS Themes Biographies Marrakesh Khartoum Cairo Tunis 78 Istanbul 79 Damascus 80 Participants' Definitions of Discrimination 81 Themes: Causes of Discrimination 83 Isma'IlT Identity: Torn Between the Isma'IlI and Western Worlds 83 Expectations of Isma'IlT Women Based on Gender Roles 93 Sexuality 103 Homosexuality 115 Wealth: Emphasis on Material Advancement 121 Classism 124 Jama'at Khana as a Place of Community 132 Themes: Outcomes of Discrimination 143 Seeking Recognition 145 Feeling Silenced 155 Disengagement Due to the Struggles of Not Fitting In 161 The Consequences of Marginalization on Family Relationships (Outcome) 170 The Context in Which the Discrimination Occurs 175 Relationships with Other Ethnic Communities 175 Relationships with the Dominant Community 175 Description of the Art piece by Khartoum 181 Glossary 183 Recommendations to the Community 184 Positive Aspects of the Community 196 CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION 201 Limitations of the Case Study Design 209 Implications for Future Research 212 Counselling Implications 213 vi REFERENCES 215 APPENDICES Appendix A Uganda's Asian Refugees: Where did they go? 217 Appendix B Participant Information Form 218 Appendix C Invitation for Voluntary Participation in Study 220 Appendix D Informed Consent Form 222 Appendix E Transcription symbols; Glossary 224 Appendix F Domestic and Public Religious Observances 230 of Hindus and IsmaTlIs Appendix G Certificate of Approval by Behavioural Research Ethics Board 231 vii List of Figures Figure 1. Results: Diagram Showing Nine Themes Derived Using 71 the Constant Comparative Method Figure 2. Causes of Discrimination 73 Figure 3. Outcomes of Discrimination 144 Figure 4. Themes of Silence Showing Topics Not Openly Discussed 156 Figure 5. Document Submitted as part of Data Collection: 179 Art Work by Khartoum Figure 6. Figure 6. Diagram Showing Individual Struggles 202 Figure 7. Diagram Showing the Relationship between the 205 Marginalized Individual and the Dominant Culture Dedication To my Community Acknowledgements ix I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Bonita C. Long, Dr. Deborah Butler, and Mr. Emile Nucho, for their support and contributions to improving the quality of this research. Without Dr. Bonita Long, this research would not have been possible. I am grateful for her tireless and repeated perusals of the manuscript, for her unending patience up to the eleventh hour, and for our many sensitive and perceptive discussions with respect to the content of this thesis, as well as other related and personal issues. I am grateful for the encouragement and support of my friends and family throughout the duration of my Masters degree, and especially during this research process. In particular I would like to thank Dr. Abdelhalim Sabet for his unending reservoir of support, and Ms. Margaretha Hoek for encouraging me to be the woman I am today. Without the six women who generously volunteered to participate in this study, this research would not have been as rich and complete. I appreciate their openness and honesty and feel honoured to have met them. I hope that their valuable contributions will inspire continued exploration of the social ramifications of Isma'IlT women's lives. On a personal note, I would like to affirm that although I learned a tremendous amount from conducting this study and hope that some individuals will benefit from this research, I did have moments of sadness whilst listening to and writing painful experiences regarding the participants. I wish that such discrimination did not occur in my community and therefore I would not have to research such a topic. I would like to re-iterate that the discrimination is but a portion of the full experience of being an Ismaili and practicing the Ismaili Muslim faith. I would also like to add that I may not agree with statements in any part of the manuscript, and the experiences and opinions are as interpreted by the participants and therefore may not be entirely accurate. For example, one participant noted that individuals of other races were not allowed to participate in the Ismaili faith and therefore it was a racist religion. However, the religion does not prohibit people of different races from joining the faith. 1 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION The Experiences of Isma'III Adult Women within their Community "But we are not like them...." "Where are you from?" "What is your father's name?" "Are you married?" "Do you have a good job? Are you making lots of money?" "You mean you still live there!?" "Haven't you graduated yet!?" "You seem like a nice girl, why don't you find a boyfriend?" These are some of the many comments that I have received from Isma'TlTs in Vancouver and they form the primary basis of my study. Such comments followed by exclusionary behaviours are hurtful and have caused much pain and dissonance for me as well as others. Such attitudes and behaviours by ethnic minority members toward others of the same minority are not unique to Isma'TlTs but can be seen within other minority groups, such as the Japanese (Marti, 1997; Mihashi, 1987) and Jewish communities (Semyonov & Lerenthal 1991; Smooha & Kraus, 1985) around the world and is known as in-group or within-group discrimination. One may conclude that notions of superiority followed by misinformed stereotypes and exclusionary behaviours are part of most societies. However, the human cost for such behaviours may be great. By making known these attitudes and behaviours, as well as the consequences for the recipients, 2 Isma'TlT community members may become aware of the impact such actions have on others. I am a member of the Isma'TlT Muslim community, and so some individuals may feel that by conducting this study I am betraying the faith as well as the community. I assume that individuals have choice over their actions. This assumption is an important tenet of Islam. However, as is the case in other faiths and communities, individuals choose, often inadvertently, to behave in ways that may distress others. In addition, based on research on in-group discrimination within the Jewish (Semyonov & Lerenthal 1991; Smooha & Kraus, 1985) and Japanese (Marti, 1997; Mihashi, 1987) cultures, I assume that Isma'TlT community members act in similar fashion to other minority groups. In other words, their actions are not unique in any way but are similar to behaviours of people in general. The Isma'TlT Muslim faith like other monotheistic religions does not sanction such exclusionary behaviours. In fact, the Muslim faith calls for strong communal ties built on assisting one another, generosity, charity, and kindness including kind words (The Holy Quran, Sura 63, Ayah 10, p. 1753). "Islam imposes a code of ethical conduct encouraging generosity, fairness, honesty, and respect" (Assanand, 1990, p. 149). According to Adams (1974), the Isma'Uls "have a strong community [that] provides mutual support of various kinds for its members" (p. 33). However, a further assumption I hold is that this mutual support is not extended to every Isma'TlT member. There is some evidence that Isma'TlT individuals discriminate against others within their community on matters of country of origin, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, disabilities and so on (ITREB, 1998). Several such incidents of 3 discrimination have been mentioned during focus groups across Canadian Jama'at Khanas (place of congregation for the Isma'IlT Jamat or members) in the past 10 years. At present, there is little evidence in the literature of the many types of discrimination that some women face in the Isma'IlT community (Todd, 2000, p. A23), the context in which it occurs, the emotions involved in the experience, the thoughts of the individual, their immediate reaction, and the long-term consequences and impact on the lives of such women. The present study explores this phenomenon in the lives of women. The question the study attempts to answer is "what are the experiences of Isma'IlT adult women in Vancouver, British Columbia of in-group discrimination;" that is, discrimination directed by Isma'TlTs towards members of their own community. 4 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE At present, there is little evidence in the literature of the discrimination that some women face in the Isma'TlT community; the context in which it occurs, the emotions involved in the experience, the thoughts of the individual, their immediate reaction, and the long-term consequences and impact on the lives of such women. The problem therefore addressed by the present study is to better understand the experience of in-group discriminatory behaviour towards Isma'TlT women. Following is a brief overview of the origins of the Isma'TlTs as a religious sect, the migration pattern of the South Asian Isma'TlTs to Western nations including Canada (Appendix A), and the context of colonial rule in which most Isma'TlTs lived during their stay in Africa before arriving to Canada. Colonial influences, the minority status, and the close, interdependent nature of Isma'TlT communities in most nations where they resided before arriving in Canada, aids in understanding the experiences of Isma'TlI-Canadian women. The historical background of Isma'TlTs provides a context for influences on the Isma'TlT community and how they have been shaped as a sect of Islam. Historical Background of Isma'TlT Immigration After the death of Prophet Muhammad, Muslims divided into two main factions over the issue of who should be the religious leader (Assanand, 1990). These factions came to be known as Sunnis and Shi'a or Shiites. Today the Sunni Muslims, who believe in the principle of an elected leader, are in the majority (approximately 85%), whereas the ShT'a, who believe in an inherited leader, are in the minority (approximately 15%). The ShT'a are further sub-divided into several smaller sects of which the ShT'a Isma'TlTs are one sect and are estimated at 15 million followers with concentrations in 25 countries 5 around the world (Forbes Magazine, 1999). In 1840, the leader of the ShI'a Isma'IlT faith, Aga Khan I, migrated from Persia to the province of Sind in India and eventually settled in Bombay (Adams, 1974; Clarke, 1976). Thus, the Isma'IlT religion spread from the Middle East to South Asia and many Indians accepted the Isma'IlT Muslim religion. For historical purposes, it should be noted that that in the centuries following the Isma'llls' split, the ShI'a faced periodic discrimination or outright persecution. This element of their history has shaped and informed much of Isma'IlT societal formation. According to Hopkins (cited in Adams, 1974), Asians or those of Indian or Pakistani descent, migrated to Africa at three main intervals. The first group settled on the East African coast of what are now Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique during Arab settlement and before the European migration. The second group came as employees of the East African railway being constructed by the British at the beginning of the twentieth century. The third and largest group came for better economic opportunities mainly from the "Gujarati-speaking provinces of northwest India, who came voluntarily during the 1940's and 1950's" (Adams, 1974, p. 29). As part of the last two major migrations, as early as the 1900s, a small minority of the Isma'llls residing in India (presently India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) migrated to East Africa (Assanand, 1990), parts of Central Africa, and South Africa. The East African nations where Isma'llls settled consisted of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika (Tanzania after independence), and Madagascar; the Central African nations consisted of the Congo (Zaire), Burundi, and Rwanda; and the South African nations included Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. The majority however settled in East Africa. Between the Second World War and the early 1960s, the migration of Isma'TlTs to Europe and North America consisted mainly of students continuing their studies at Universities and Professional schools (Clarke, 1976; Wieland, 1991). Although many students returned to South Asia or Africa after attaining their credentials, some stayed behind and began their own families (Clarke, 1976; Wieland 1991). However, just before the East African nations attained independence starting in 1962, Asian immigration including Isma'TlTs increased in Great Britain. "The threat of stricter immigration control by Britain, the pending Immigration Act of 1968 and the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in August-November of 1972 increased the number of Isma'TlTs in Great Britain to circa 10,000" (Clarke, 1976, p. 487). Similarly, according to Nanji (cited in Dossa, 1998), before 1972, there were 600 Isma'TlTs in North America but by 1994, there were an estimated 40,000 Isma'TlTs in Canada alone. Over 50% of these Isma'TlTs lived in Ontario, with 70% of them in and around the city of Toronto. In the West, the largest concentration was in Vancouver, followed by Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg. After independence from British colonialism (Uganda, 1962; Kenya, 1963; Tanzania, 1964), policies regarding the economy and politics changed and as a result unrest and conflict were common especially in Uganda (Assanand, 1990). Racism and discrimination between the three main groups of people—the Europeans (the majority of whom were the British colonizers), the Indians (South Asians), and the Native Africans— in the East African nations of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania were commonplace. In fact, according to Sofer who wrote as early as 1954 (cited in Adams, 1974, p. 29), "suspicions and misunderstandings had existed for years between Africans, Europeans, and Asians." 7 In addition, each of the three factions blamed the other two for instigating and perpetuating the differences. Following are the three perspectives on the discrimination that led to the final expulsion of Asians from Uganda, and the fear that spread throughout the surrounding African nations that resulted in the voluntary emigration of Asians from other countries. The first point of view is that the British colonial power was first to instigate discriminatory practices (Dossa, 1994). Even after independence, one of the legacies of living in a previously colonized country was that the attitudes and sentiments of the colonial power, in this case Britain, were not easily forgotten or abandoned by the newly formed nation. For example, African culture and indigenous ways of living were dismissed and labelled uncivilized both by the British (Dossa) and Indian communities. This was related to East African Indians and Black Africans feeling inferior compared with individuals of the Caucasian race. Although the East African Indians were a heterogeneous group consisting of different religious backgrounds, belief systems, and cultures, they were perceived and treated as a homogenous group by the British (Dossa, 1994). English was the primary language of learning and schools taught British history, geography, and literature while excluding other histories, geographies, and literatures. "A major paradox . . . was that growing up in East Africa meant knowing next to nothing about African history, geography, literature, tribal cultures, and traditional religions" (Dossa, p. 338). How could it be that the Asian subgroups "were mere enclaves, to the extent that the latter were not able to establish deep roots in African soil, despite 3rd and 4th generational continuity" (Dossa, 1994, p. 344)? According to Dossa, Asians were 8 restricted by the British; they were confined to towns and small villages and encouraged to pursue small businesses and low level administrative positions in the government. Morris noted that "Any [sic] non-African found living or trading outside a gazetted township commits an offence" (cited in Dossa, p. 338). Likewise, Fernando noted that "the Asians were clustered in well-delimited residential districts" (cited in Dossa, p. 338). Asians were not provided with healthcare or a schooling system. The British formed their own social system, including an educational system, and limited enrolment to "white" children only. The Isma'TlTs, including other Asians, thus formed their own enclaves and their own distinctive social systems. The Aga Khan built schools and hospitals throughout East Africa and, unlike the British schools, were accessible to all East Africans including Isma'TlTs. The second point of view is that the Indian minority or Asians living in Africa, who had established themselves by learning the local languages and customs were to blame for keeping Black Africans economically and socially disadvantaged: The Isma'TlTs, say Ghai and Ghai (1971:37), have made the most progress in integration in East Africa. Likewise, Hopkins (1966, p. 98) claims that "the Isma'TlT community made a conscious effort at the insistence of their leader, the Aga Khan, to assimilate." Yet when one examines the content of this assimilation and integration, it does not include mixing with the local people [of Uganda], but is primarily the taking out of citizenship. Socially, the applicable terms would be cohesive and separate. That is, Isma'TlT communities tend to be both well-organized internally and closed to outsiders.... Thus, politically the Isma'TlTs have been local citizens [of Uganda] with no "homeland" to return to, socially they have kept to themselves, and culturally they have moved a great distance toward urban ways and values (Adams, 1974, p. 33). Jayantilal Raja returned to Uganda in the early 1990s to live and work in the country where he was born and raised (Sandhu, 1998). In reference to other Asians, who had also returned to Uganda, he said that many of the other Asians still were not giving 9 back to the people of Uganda. Raja felt that the racial problems before the exodus had been partly based on Asians not sharing their wealth and knowledge. He was also concerned that the two-tier system might again lead to similar confrontations. "Asians make it clear that there is a two-class system in Uganda; there are the Asians who are the business people and the Africans who are the workers" (Sandhu, 1998, p. 39). The third point of view is that the native Africans instigated and perpetuated racist and discriminatory behaviours towards the Europeans and in particular the Asians. "The Indo-Pakistani settlers in East Africa became, over the years, a typical middle-man minority consisting of traders, civil servants, and a few manufacturers" (Blalock, as cited in Adams, 1974, p. 29). This prosperity and prominence was resented by the Black Africans (Assanand, 1990). In fact, some have compared the Isma'ilis to the Jewish treatment in Germany before World War II: "because of their prosperity, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin made them scapegoats, in much the same way Hitler treated Jews" (Todd, 2000, p. A23). When these East African nations became independent from the colonial powers in the early 1960s, the majority of Asians kept their British citizenships (Adams, 1974). By the early 1960s, only 23,000 out of the 80,000 Asians living in Uganda had accepted Ugandan citizenship (Sandhu, 1998). This became fuel for the African movement in the late 1960s that strived for greater self-determination and desires for an "Africa for Africans, Black Africans" (Mississippi Masala, 1989) or "Africa for Africans" (Adams, 1974). Even though the Asians of East Africa, which consisted of Gujarati Hindus (55%), Punjabi Hindus (4-5%), Sikhs, Goans, Parsees, Sunni Muslims, and Isma'llls 10 (30%), had assisted in the struggle for independence from the British, they were accused of being opportunists and disloyal after independence (Adams, 1974). Government policies were instigated where even the South Asian citizens were defined as foreigners. In Uganda and Kenya, "African civil servants and businessmen began to be replaced by Africans, some properties were confiscated, trade licensing limited Asian commerce in certain urban areas, work permits were not renewed, and the Asians began to leave" (Adams, 1974, p. 29). Also, Tanzania was moving towards nationalizing all properties and commerce. By 1970, there was widespread governmental discrimination, corruption, and open mass prejudice. By 1971, Asians had begun to send their assets overseas as well as emigrating at the rate of approximately 100 per week (Adams, 1974). Some expatriates felt that the political system was responsible for the resentment and was probably created by the officials rather than the average African (Sandhu, 1998). This hostile attitude, in Uganda in particular, culminated in the 1972 expulsion of all Indians of Asian descent by Idi Amin (Adams, 1974). Since then, however, Asians from all neighbouring countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Central Africa, and South Africa began immigrating to Europe, Australia, the United States, England, and Canada. Summary Of the fifteen million ShI'a Isma'IlT Muslims, a few thousand families from South Asia, mostly from the state of Gujarat, migrated to Africa in the early 1900s. Isma'llls in East Africa lived in a separatist society where each socio-religious group took care of its own affairs within its own schools, recreational facilities, hospitals, and so forth. This way of life is illustrative of great strength and adaptability on the one hand, and on the 11 other hand, a life of discrimination by others and towards others based on economic and racial advantage. Each of the three factions — the British, the many African tribes, and the heterogeneous group of Asians — blamed the other two for instigating and perpetuating the differences. After having lived for three generations in Africa, and growing in numbers considerably, Asians including Isma'TlTs migrated to Western countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, and the European Union. Consequently, in Western countries such as Canada, there was a convergence of Isma'TlTs from various African nations as well as the Indian sub-continent including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Discrimination due to country of origin, differences in status, socio-economic levels and so on ensued. Discriminatory ideals and behaviours based on class, age, gender, cultural, and family background learned and practiced in these "home" countries were brought to Canada. Isma'TlT Culture and Community Status A number of issues make Isma'TlT culture unique and at the same time not unique, depending on which other culture, or other Indo-Canadian community to which it is compared. According to Clarke (1976), "Isma'TlTs are extremely community conscious and manifest a high degree of unity and cohesion at this level" (p. 487). A study conducted in 1971 by Adams shows how important community is to Isma'TlTs. Adams wanted to study the coping abilities of a minority group under pressure and so he made the assumption that the Isma'TlTs in Uganda in the summer of 1971 were under considerable stress and so researching them at that time would produce revealing data. He hypothesized that first, "the more religious Asians would be less anxious and insecure and thus more able to cope ... and that Isma'TlTs are less insecure and more able to cope 12 than Hindus" (p. 34) because the literature showed that the Muslims in East Africa were more community based in comparison to the Hindus. Adams's second and third hypotheses were related to educational and socio-economic status and coping abilities and are not relevant for this study. The author used random block sampling to interview 387 Asians living in Kampala. The interviews were conducted by six Asian researchers. Only one individual of a family participated, with 196 men and 191 women; all were married and ranged between the ages of 30 and 50. There was a refusal rate of approximately 10%. In the analysis of the data, the 167 Gujarati Hindus and 23 Punjabi Hindus were combined as one category and were compared with the 104 Isma'IlT Muslims. The remaining group of 93 Sikhs, Goans, Parsees, and other Muslims was omitted as they represented a very small sample to compare both in the study as well as in Kampala. One of the independent variables, religious orientation, was operationalized and presented as an open-ended question that tried to depict the "sorts of needs religion [met] for the respondent" (Adams, 1974, p. 35). The participants of the study had the option to reply using three categories: For some, religion met "personal needs, for faith or success." In the second option, religion represented needs met "through the community, for strong leadership, social interaction, or group support," and in the third option, religion met "no needs at all" (Adams, 1974, p. 35). A second, dichotomized question, asked the Asians if religion was important to them or not at all. Out of the 188 Hindus who chose to answer the question on religion, 28% said that religion met individual needs, 11% community needs, and 61% said religion met no needs at all. Twenty-three percent of the Isma'llls reported that religion met individual 13 needs, 51% reported community needs, and 25% reported religion as meeting no needs at all (Adams, 1974, p. 35). Adams interpreted the above results as compatible to the literature on the two religions as well as the data on religious behaviour. Adams's finding that Hindus see religion as meeting no needs and Isma'TlTs see religion as meeting community needs was most significant. In response to the closed-ended question as to whether religion was important or not, 63% of Hindus said religion was very important as opposed to 80% of the Isma'TlT respondents (Adams, 1974, p. 37). When asked about religious behaviours in terms of attending public services and performing rituals at home, the Hindus reported engaging in home religious practices more frequently than Isma'TlTs but the Isma'TlTs attended public services considerably more often than the Hindus (see Appendix G). These results are consistent with religious doctrines as Hindus are permitted to observe rites and rituals in their own home whereas Isma'TlTs are encouraged to pray in congregation and in this way, Isma'TlTs can fulfill their communal needs. The author found gender differences in religious orientation with "females—as expected—more likely to be religiously oriented than males. However, males and females manifest, by religious orientation, the same relation to the dependent variables, and thus it was decided not to control for sex in this particular analysis" (Adams, 1974, p. 36) and so the gender differences were not reported by Adams. This study failed to mention how the participants were recruited or if the religion/culture of the interviewer could have had an effect on the interview and, if so, how were the possible effects controlled for. Also, only married individuals were interviewed and the reason for this was not provided. Perhaps single women would have 14 been more inclined to use religion to fulfill both individual as well as communal needs much more than married women or men. Also, it was unclear in the study whether it was possible to respond to religion as fulfilling personal as well as communal needs. Granted these figures are several years old and the context in which Isma'Tlis live today has altered considerably (for example, there is now no fear of deportation). Nevertheless, this study presents a glimpse into the importance of community to Isma'Tlis with 51% reporting communal needs that religion meets. In contrast to Adams's (1974) clear distinction between religious needs and communal needs, Clarke (1976, p. 488) contends that the Jama'at Khana has multiple roles and "reasons for attending can be complex and numerous." Clarke adds that, in fact, "it is well nigh impossible for an Isma'IlT to make a meaningful distinction between the religious and the social, the spiritual and the material role of the Jamat [Khana], nor can he explain exactly why he attends" (p. 488). According to the author, the Jama'at Khana "creates a kind of spatio-temporal frame which gives an Isma'IlT continuity from one session to the next" (Clarke, 1976, p. 488). Clarke (1976) contends that the community performs an essential "bridging function" (p. 488) and even those who no longer follow the religion, "who have lost the 'faith', i.e., no longer accept the guidance of the Imam, go to Jamat [Khana] in the hope of finding a marriage partner, meeting a business associate, receiving family news and meeting people with the same outlook and mentality as themselves" (p. 488). And in this sense, the Jama'at Khana, or mosque, remains faithful to its function established as early as the Prophet's days. 15 For some, the community acts as a surrogate or "extended family and is the antithesis of the non-communal relation of competition and/or conflict met within the wider society" (Clarke, 1976, p. 488). However, Clarke continues that the stronger one's relationship to one's kin, the stronger one's relationship will be to the community and "the converse of this statement holds" (Clarke, 1976, p. 488). So, for example, if an individual is studying or is married or simply does not get along with her relations and resides in the West and her immediate family lives in the East; such an individual may have difficulty making the same communal ties as those who are close in relation and distance to their family. Another downside of living in a tightly knit community is the fear of being blacklisted for expressing one's opinions. "Criticism is always made in private and those who make it attend Jamat [Khana-place of congregation] without mooting it. One reason why this is so is the social stigma attached to being branded a critic" (Clarke, 1976, p. 487). Clarke continues, "another [reason] is that IsmaTlIsm, whatever else it may or may not be, is a community. One's social circle is likely to be Isma'TlT, as is one's future marriage partner" (p. 487) and it is for these reasons that individuals go along with community norms. Typically, hurtful or traumatic incidences are discussed in private, hoping that the rest of the community does not become aware of them. In the hopes of maintaining community cohesiveness, individuals may follow practices that exclude others. This manifests itself at the inter-community level, for example, by excluding other native Africans and not assimilating fully into the African (Adams, 1974) or Canadian cultures, and at the intra-community level by excluding other Isma'TlTs (Clarke, 1976; ITREB, 1998). Clarke (1976) points out that the "religious elite" 16 tend to "club together" and know when members of their own clique will be attending services at the Jama'at Khana. A related topic is that of marriage outside the Isma'IlT community. "The vast majority of young Isma'IlT men eligible for marriage would prefer to marry an Isma'IlT" (Clarke, 1976, p. 489). The author provides several reasons for the observed endogamy. Some Isma'Tlis think that the religion will be diluted or the community will break down and dissolve by marrying out. Exogamy is seen as a threat to cultural identity, as well as to the unity and integrity of the community. Others believe that one should marry an Isma'IlT for cultural as well as religious compatibility. The "'agnostic' Isma'llls stress the cultural divide between themselves and the English girls" (Clarke, p. 489). Other reasons include social censure, or what "Sartre termed the 'look of the other'" (Clarke, p. 489), as well as family and marital disapproval and conflict. Whatever the reason, exogamy is not a favourable choice and is strongly discouraged. For example, Clarke (1976) described one regular attendee of the mosque who noted that his marriage to a non-lsma'lll was kept a secret for several years. Isma'Tlis are socialized through the school system, the family, and the larger Isma'IlT community. Through this process of socialization, strong negative attitudes towards exogamy are formed and internalized (Clarke, 1976, p. 489). According to a 30-year-old unmarried male, '"many marriages contracted outside the community break down . . . because there is a clash of mentality, interests and connections'" (Clarke, 1976, p. 490). Thus the community exerts its power by influencing individual choices and fostering beliefs and behaviours that are internalized. For example, some believe that by marrying outside the community, the marriage will break down, and the couple as well as 17 the family will be socially stigmatized (Clarke, 1976). "Common links with the community — in faith, as some put it—are guarantees of a successful marriage" (Clarke, 1976, p. 490). Clarke (1976) further emphasizes the power of the community over the individual. He insists that members are socialized into communal patterns using language, education, and the family. He declares that "the congruities of blood, speech, custom, [and] education, have a powerful coerciveness in themselves... [there is] yearning for the community, [and] the fear of being alone..." (Clarke, 1976, p. 490). In conclusion, Clarke (1976) contended that the community is very important to the individual Isma'TlT. To support his point of view, he cites the high rate of attendance at the Jama'at Khana of London Isma'TlTs (65% attend at least once per week) and the low rate of out-marriage (a total of eight couples between 1966 and 1970 in London). Clarke adds that almost all of his married interviewees were life-long Isma'TlTs married to an Isma'TlT. Also, 93% of his respondents held the view that it was wiser to marry within the religion. His conclusion is that the associational bond of the individual to the community and communal bonds are very strong citing that 78% of the close friends of the couples he interviewed were also Isma'TlTs. Last, "the idea of conversion to another faith [would be] anathema" (Clarke, 1976, p. 492). As a result of this kind of internal structure, Clarke contends that "some of the sixteen to twenty-one-year-olds have rejected the community in spirit and because of family pressure have to live double lives" (Clarke, 1976, p. 492). Unfortunately, Clarke's (1976) paper is flawed. Particularly, many of the facts about the Isma'TlT religion and some of the administrative methods are sometimes 18 inaccurate. For example, he writes that a "Jamat" is the assembly of the council members that only consists of adult males. Hence, he has confused the word "Jamat," which means the congregation of all Isma'Tlis, the Isma'IlT community, male and female of all ages, with the Isma'IlT Council, which consists of the leaders of the community and which usually tries to include women members. Also, he mentions that it is "almost an 'article of faith'" to pursue material and economic prosperity and success in one's "worldly affairs" (Clarke, 1976, p. 486) for Isma'Tlis. This is a gross misinterpretation of the Arabic translation of the word "duniya," which does not mean only money but includes one's educational status, religious knowledge or "ilm," family obligations, community service, and health — in short all aspects of one's earthly life. Clarke's 1976 publication is a summary of his thoughts on the construction and composition of the Isma'IlT community. The topics he covers include (a) the religious origins of the Isma'IlT sect; (b) the position of the sect vis-a-vis other ShI'a sects and Islam in general; (c) the legal rights of the leader of the community who is known as the "Imam" in ShI'a theology; (d) the administrative aspects of the religion, such as the Isma'IlT Constitution and the system of councils, and (e) some religious tenets and beliefs. Also included are a few statistics and many illustrations of studies conducted on Isma'Tlis by himself and others that are mentioned in his earlier publications. In the 1976 publication, Clarke does not mention how he recruited his interviewees, who conducted the interviews, what the interview questions were, what was the rationale for the study, what were the demographic characteristics of his participants, his methodology, or how he analyzed his data. The entire article is a summary of conclusions and references to previously gathered data and research studies. The above 19 information would have been extremely helpful for purposes of understanding his conclusions and possibly for replicating his study. Gender Issues Family structure. Some issues that pertain to Isma'TlT women are sometimes similar to those of the larger South Asian community. Because most South Asian families are immigrants from South Asia or Africa, they bring with them their traditional values and lifestyles and these may sometimes clash with the ways in which they live in North America. Traditionally, or in other words, "back home," whether it be South Asia or Africa, the family unit typically consisted of the paternal grandparents, the parents, the unmarried daughters and sons, and the married sons and their spouses and children. All these family members lived together under one roof. "Interdependence [was] valued highly and the lifestyle [was] collective rather than individualistic" (Assanand, 1990, p. 150). Ideally, this network was economically, socially, and emotionally supportive; incomes were shared and the family flourished together. Traditionally, parents do not live with a married daughter and her family; however, a daughter may sponsor her parents to Canada and they may then live with her family. "Today many South Asians in Canada live as nuclear units. Nevertheless, their sentiments and behaviour continue to be those of the extended family" (Assanand, 1990, pp. 150-151). Most decisions are determined by the head of the household who is usually the most financially successful and established male. Close relatives are consulted on important issues and their opinions are highly regarded. If the family unit is functioning well then it can be very supportive. For example, grandparents usually undertake baby-20 sitting duties, and help out with the cooking among other chores. In contrast, if the family unit is dysfunctional then a woman may be reluctant to take time off from her household obligations due to family censure (Assanand, 1990). Traditionally, women did not work outside of the home and their first priority was housework, raising the children, and taking care of the husband's needs. This meant that they were economically entirely dependent on their husband. "Traditional South Asian culture is male-dominated and sex roles are well-defined. The man has the leadership role as head of the family, provider, and major decision-maker, a woman is seen as her husband's possession and she is taught to be submissive and to obey him" (Assanand, 1990, p. 151). Culturally, the elderly demand a great deal of authority and respect. They play an important role in guiding the young members of the family unit, teaching them the culture, language, and traditions as well as arranging marriages for their unwed children and grandchildren. Institutions for the elderly and pension plans are unheard of in home countries and so the eldest sons usually house and financially support the aging parents, whereas the daughter-in-law assumes responsibility for their emotional, physical, and social needs. Male off-spring are therefore highly desirable as they are expected to care for their patents. For example, if a family has limited resources, and medical care is required for an ailing family member, a first-born son is likely to receive prompter treatment than a daughter (Assanand, 1990). Boys are given preferential treatment with the most attention; the eldest being the most favoured. The eldest girl, on the other hand, is given the most responsibility, which can be demanding. Assanand (1990) notes that culturally, it is "important to see that 21 daughters are well-settled so that they will not cause concern in the future" (p. 154). In other words, daughters are sometimes seen as "burdens" and matching them with a wealthy, non-abusive partner is seen as a major life task and accomplishment for parents. Independence, self-reliance, self-worth, and confidence are not encouraged in girls. Teenage boys are given the freedom to meet with their friends in town, go to movies and so forth, whereas girls are encouraged to partake in home-oriented pastimes and skills. The reason provided for this inequality was the assurance that boys require the skills to deal with the "outside world," whereas girls would not work outside the home (Assanand, 1990). An unspoken expectation was that naive, innocent girls would attract similar men as partners and "worldly" women would not. In Isma'TlT communities in Canada, gender roles are not so clear and women often work outside of the home. This can sometimes lead to tension between a couple as a husband may feel threatened that his wife is becoming too "Western," assertive, and self-reliant. The man sometimes increases his control over the woman who, in turn, rebels and the man sometimes reacts with violence (Assanand, 1990). A related issue is that of housework. Sometimes men feel that the only area in which they can feel dominant is in the home (Assanand, 1990). Therefore, the expectation for the woman to work full time and then come home and cook the meals, do the laundry, take care of the children, and other household duties continues. This can be very stressful for women especially if they have to care for aging parents or in-laws as well. This may appear as a typical gender issue, however, when an Indian woman is struggling with these domestic issues, she may feel as though she is betraying her family, her culture, and her community. In addition, she may be in a situation where she has to 22 defend herself against her husband's family with whom she may be residing (Assanand, 1990). Until recently, most marriages in the home country were arranged marriages whereby women awaited proposals of marriage from what her family deemed as "appropriate suitors" (Assanand, 1990). These prospective husbands only proposed, however, if the young woman was a "respectable" woman and came from a "respectable" family. This meant that a pre-requisite to a woman's betrothal was a favourable account of herself and/or her family by certain "respectable" community members who either knew the family or who were related. These are issues of concern because a marriage is seen as a union between two families not just two individuals and therefore it is deemed important to match the background and status of the two families (Assanand, 1990). At the time of marriage, a woman is given to her husband and becomes part of his family. There is sizeable support, as well as social pressure from the families to make the marriage work. Assanand noted that there is considerable cultural pressure on a married couple, especially the wife, for the success of the marriage. Also, the majority of the responsibility for the success or failure of the marriage lies with the woman. "Girls are taught from the start that they are temporary members of their families waiting to be given as a gift to someone else.. ..She is taught that once given in marriage, she may never leave her husband's home" (Assanand, 1990, p. 152). Bearing in mind the goal of attracting a suitable suitor, parents often try to discipline young girls by admonishing them not to show their anger, disapproval, or criticisms in public so as not to destroy their "name" in the community. In this way, girls learned from a young age that acceptance in the community came by "keeping quiet," not 23 showing disapproval regarding any issue, and by carefully thought-out and "controlled" behaviours in every sphere of existence. Although this threat exists for men to some degree as well, it was especially true for women as their future depends on their approval by others and men are sometimes viewed as courageous and protective for being outspoken, strong, and for displaying anger and controlling behaviours. Summary Isma'TlTsm is a religion. A religion is a spiritual code of ethics that a believer is recommended to abide by in his or her daily activities. These ethics govern the follower's behaviour towards him or herself, others of the same religion, as well as people of other faiths. Due to the expansion of religions in different countries with varying cultural practices, often times the cultural practices fuse with religious practices. Over a period of hundreds of years, these cultural practices can become part of the socio-religious outlook. Isma'Tlis are no different in this regard. It is expected that these cultural influences may become apparent in Isma'IlT women's experiences of discrimination. Thus, the religion and the culture of individuals practicing Isma'TlTsm influence each other. It becomes "normal" or accepted in the community to practice exclusionary behaviours even though they are not recommended by Isma'TlTsm, which is part of Islam. In the fear of being branded a critic or worse, most individuals choose to follow the attitudes and behaviours of the majority and do not speak out in public. 24 For example, due to the migration pattern of Isma'Tlis, there are individuals from the African continent (third and fourth generation Indians) as well as South Asia presently living in North America. In areas such as British Columbia, where the population is predominantly from Africa and the minority from South Asia, discriminatory behaviours seem directed towards the minority group (Clarke, 1976; ITREB, 1998)! In many American states, such as Illinois and Texas, where the majority of Isma'llls are from South Asia, the minority African members are discriminated against (Clarke, 1976). Through an exploration of Isma'IlT women's experience of exclusion, a better understanding of the impact such practices may have will be illuminated. Some of these issues are addressed here because Isma'IlT women may perceive them to affect their lives. Discrimination According to Pincus (1996), there are three types of discrimination: individual, institutional, and structural. Individual discrimination "refers to the behaviour of individual members of one race/ethnic/gender group that is intended to have a differential and/or harmful effect on the members of another race/ethnic/gender group" (p. 186). With institutional discrimination, the policies of the dominant group and the behaviour of the individuals who control these institutions and who put into effect policies of the dominant group, intend to harm other groups. Structural discrimination: Refers to the policies of the dominant race/ ethnic/gender institutions and the behaviour of the individuals who implement these policies and control these institutions, which are race/ethnic/gender neutral in intent but which have a differential and/or harmful effect on minority race/ethnic/gender groups (p. 186). A number of conclusions may be drawn from these definitions. First, the individuals in the community who practice exclusionary behaviours may not realize the 25 full impact of their actions. To the contrary, they may even feel that their behaviours help keep the community cohesive, strong, and in accordance with religious teachings. Second, institutions may have neutral policies, but the individuals carrying out the policies may be colluding in discriminatory behaviours. Third, individuals may realize their biases but decide to conform to the behaviours of the "in-group" and partake in discriminatory behaviours so as not to be outcasts. Pincus (1996) adds that in these definitions, the dominant group does not have to be the largest group but the people with the most power. The people with the most power are those individuals that have the financial resources, status, and prestige that a collectivist society bestows on its members. It follows that individuals in an Isma'TlT community lacking power in terms of financial resources, status, and prestige may be the ones most likely to have faced discrimination by other Isma'TlT members (e.g., women). Although there may be more women than men in any given community, women have the least amount of power as they typically lack these basic elements of power. It may also be that a minority segment of a community may be disadvantaged, for example, the Isma'TlTs of Indian and Pakistani origin residing in Canada where IsmaTlIs of African origin are the majority. Unless these individuals struggle to acquire elements of power, they may be disadvantaged because of their small numbers. One may conclude that a female of a minority group would be more disadvantaged as opposed to a male of a minority group due to gender inequalities. Therefore, these women are the focus of this study. Pincus (1996) further explained that a person from any ethnic background, race, or gender can practice acts of individual discrimination. No one is immune from such 26 actions. Therefore, members of any ethnic minority group can intentionally or unintentionally, partake in discriminatory behaviours even though they may have less power than members of the larger dominant Canadian culture. Woolf et al. (1977) provided a more general definition of discrimination. To discriminate means: 1) to mark or perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features 2) to distinguish by discerning or exposing differences especially to distinguish one like object from another 3) to make a distinction 4) to make a difference in treatment or favour on a basis other than individual merit for example, in favour of your friends or against a certain nationality. In addition, discrimination is la) the act of discriminating, lb) the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently 2) the quality or power of finely distinguishing 3a) the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually, 3b) prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment" (Woolf, 1977, p. 326). The discrimination may therefore be intended towards a particular characteristic of an individual rather than the individual. According Byrne (1991), discrimination is "negative behaviour directed toward members of social groups who are the object of prejudice" and in-group is defined as "the social group to which an individual perceives herself or himself as belonging" in other words the group that is labelled as 'us.' Woolf et al. (1977) provided the definition of'in-group' to mean "a group with which one feels a sense of solidarity or community of interests" as opposed to 'out-group' which is "a group that is distinct from one's own." Therefore, in-group discrimination as used in the literature (Feather, 1995; Gagnon & Bourhis, 1996; Blanz, Mummenday, & Otten, 1995; Alvaro & Crano; Wilder, 1978; Reicher, Levine, Gordijn, 1998) is defined as discrimination that occurs within a particular group demarcated by the 27 author. In this study, in-group is defined as the Isma'IlT community, and in-group discrimination are discriminatory acts by members of the Isma'IlT community towards other Isma'IlT members. Pincus (1996) suggested that structural discrimination is the hardest to overcome, as it is unintentional and legally sanctioned, and concluded that: "Confronting structural discrimination requires the re-examination of basic cultural values and fundamental principles of social organization" (p. 192). Therefore, discrimination in the Isma'IlT community towards women may come from many sources, both individual and institutional. To gather further evidence of the existence of in-group discrimination in the Indo-Canadian and Isma'IlT communities and to gain insight into the various forms of discrimination, I attended two focus groups. One was held at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and I was invited as a member of a new initiative known as the Women of Colour Mentoring Program. The other was organized by the ShI'a Imarni Isma'IlT Tariqah and Religious Education Board (ITREB) for Canada, and I was asked to participate as an Isma'TlI member. In both cases, the women who participated spoke openly and honestly about their experiences. Focus Group Results: The Local Community The Women of Colour Mentoring Program was formed by the Women's Student Office at UBC to support women of colour in their academic endeavours. The group which met on October 4th, 1996 for an orientation meeting, consisted of women from many ethnic backgrounds (the majority were of East Indian descent namely Punjabi women, Hindu women, and Christian and Muslim Indian women). There were also 28 South East Asian individuals from China, Japan, and Hong Kong; a few native Indian women; and two African Canadian women. Approximately 80% of the participants were undergraduate students in their twenties and the remaining 20% were graduate students, UBC faculty, and staff. The participants were asked, "How do our own communities define us as women of colour?" The answers to this question were brainstormed by the participants and revealed the discriminatory views held by people of colour towards themselves. The results were as follows: "Objects, colour (skin), slut, single/old/unmarried, take it feminist, feminine, strong, solidarity, intelligent, "house," selfish, deviant, shade of skin, asexual, daughter of..., sister of..., she belongs to me, spoiled, straight, arrogant, outspoken, weak, inauthentic, coconut/banana, defined in terms of beauty, obedient, defined by wealth, whiny, bitch, caretaker, easily influenced, forgiving, talks too much-knows too little." Many of these brief answers could be seen as relating to either the issues of gender bias or racial bias. However, when trying to divide the words into the two categories of gender bias versus racial bias, it became apparent that the sexist words were more meaningful in the context of race. For example, the words "asexual" and "daughter of, sister of..." indicate sexual bias in the context of being a woman of colour. At the same Women of Colour Mentoring program orientation, the participants were asked how they as women of colour felt about white women and also how white societies might define women of colour. Some of the sexist words, for example, "slut," "single/old/married," and "define in terms of beauty" were not mentioned in response to the above two questions, respectively. 29 The purpose of the orientation meeting was for group members to become familiar with one another and the brainstorming session was used as an icebreaker as well as to foreshadow an issue that the mentoring program focused on. Several additional and relevant questions were posed: "How do white societies define us as women of colour? How do our own communities define us as women of colour? How do our own communities perceive white women? How do you define yourself as a woman of colour/If you were asked what it meant to be a woman of colour, what would you say? [What are] the pros and cons of being a woman of colour?" In the discussion that followed, two plausible explanations for the observed sense of discrimination towards one's own race were identified—it may either have arisen from an internalization of racism having been colonized historically in India or Africa, or from living as a minority in a larger Western context. Nonetheless, the informal focus group discussions revealed that some women of colour, South Asian women in this case, felt their community held prejudicial views. I also recently participated in another focus group that was held at the Isma'IlT Jama'at Khana and Centre in the lower mainland. The approximately 25 participants were all women except for 2 men. One of the two men was one of the principal organizers of the focus group; he spoke sparingly and mostly observed. I had been informed at the time of my informal invitation by an acquaintance that it was a "women's meeting" but this claim was later denied by the facilitator. The women belonged to different socio-economic backgrounds, educational levels, and status. I was the only student present. In addition, the participants appeared to be from various African countries and possibly a few from South Asia. Participants in the focus group were asked the following questions regarding individual expression: "How do you feel inside the community versus outside the community? Can you be yourselves? Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel any pressure to wear certain types of clothing, jewellery, make-up, and so on?" The following issues were mentioned by the various participants: A woman reported that one's reputation in the community was very important as it determined her status in the community. In turn, one's reputation depended on whether one was married, had a wealthy husband, and/or wealthy parents, if she had children, and if she was "happily" married. These criteria also seemed to reflect stability. If one's children were successful, this added to one's reputation. A man or a woman's career choice also very much determined one's reputation and hence status and prestige in the community. Nepotism was reported as rampant. There was acceptance in the community if you chose the "right" career but rejection if you chose the "incorrect" profession. Acceptable careers seemed to be those with high earnings, prestige, and status associated with them. Some of those included pharmacy, medicine, law, dentistry, and physiotherapy. One woman indicated that music as a profession was looked down upon. She said that her son, who was a music student, felt uncomfortable in Jama'at Khana and so subsequently, he rarely attended services. Individuals seemed to agree with all of the above statements, no one disagreed, and some were nodding. Dress code was another area of contention for one individual. She said that she was made to feel inferior when she wore pants or jeans because people stared or made 31 comments to the effect of "Well, I guess you're not going to be sitting in front are you?" She felt pressure to wear make-up, jewellery, matching accessories, and sometimes, particular colours of clothing. One was expected to dress as well as possible. No one in the focus group made a comment to the contrary or reprimanded the individual discussing this issue. In addition to the silence of the other members, their facial expressions gave a general sense of their concurrence to such remarks. A number of issues related to gender differences were also noted. A woman mentioned that there was no physical or psychological "space" for women to gather and discuss relevant issues. Another woman said that there was no formal acknowledgment of women or children suffering abuse. A third participant said that it seemed acceptable to send girls to inferior public schools and boys to superior or private schools and that boys, generally speaking, were treated better than girls. A few women mentioned that men often refused to do housework, such as cooking and cleaning. Others noted that divorced women were looked down upon. The number of comments made by different women indicated agreement in the group when it came to gender differences. In addition to one person naming the following issue, all of the remarks during the focus group indicated that if one was different in any way at all, discriminatory reactions were expected. If one did not conform to the majority lifestyle, and happened to be single, divorced, or lesbian, then isolation and marginalization were inevitable. A woman, with a physical disability, mentioned that other individuals with mental or physical disabilities (including her) did not feel accepted in the community. She felt that there was a lack of awareness about the concerns of the disabled and that therefore, the community should be educated on such matters. No one disputed her comments. One participant expressed her opinion that individuals of different sexual orientation felt uncomfortable and unaccepted in the community. In her opinion, homophobia seemed to be rampant. She would like to see the community discuss sexually related matters, such as pre-marital sex and teen-age pregnancy, in an open manner, including with friends and family. Dismay regarding the inability to discuss drug and alcohol issues in an open forum was expressed. One woman noted that as a single person she felt "left out," as the community appeared to be family oriented, or at least liked to make her believe that it was. According to her, both men and women were expected to marry and raise children as part of an individual's responsibilities. An "appropriate" age for marriage is recommended, in fear of being "over-the-hill." She continued that she had faced difficulties meeting other single Isma'TlTs of similar age, interests, and goals. In relation to the above comments, other focus group members added that interfaith and/or interracial unions were looked down upon and discouraged. Although many agreed on the last statement, they disagreed with the previous statements regarding the ability to find a suitor. They noted that the Isma'TlT Social Committee often had events for "singles" to meet. Focus group members seemed divided on the issue of leaving or "exiting" the religion temporarily. Some individuals felt that the cost of leaving was too high and unnecessary, whereas others felt that it was a natural process of growing up and developing an identity. One participant said that she was shocked and greatly dismayed to hear that leaving the religion was an appropriate response to social injustices. Leaving the religion appeared to her to be contradictory to the basic preaching of the Isma'IlT religion, as attending the mosque and participating in congregational prayers is considered one of the main pillars of the faith. A commonly known hadith, or saying of the Prophet Mohammad (recorded by Bukhari & Muslim), states that Ibn "Umar heard the Prophet say that prayer said in congregation excels prayer said alone by twenty-seven degrees" (Kazi, 1990). Another hadith (recorded by Abu Daud) says that Abu Dardah heard the Prophet say that "if there are three persons in a village or even in a desert and they do not pray together, Shaitan (devil) would surely overtake them. So always pray Salat [prayer] in congregation, for a wolf only injures a solitary sheep" (Kazi, 1990, p. 26). This concept is also well illustrated in the fact that an Isma'IlT place of worship is not called a mosque but rather a Jama'at Khana which translates as a place where the Jamat or community congregates (Clarke, 1976). At the focus group, it was apparent that there was a strong belief that in order to feel comfortable or accepted in the Isma'IlT community as a woman, it is easier if one holds certain attitudes and engages in certain behaviours. There was a general consensus that one's reputation and therefore, status and prestige were important and were based more on who they were by relation or profession rather than by their character. Gender biases were also mentioned. In summary, the informal focus groups indicated that South Asian 34 women, of which Isma'IlT women are a subset, felt their community held prejudicial views. The attitudes and beliefs held by Isma'Tlis, as seen in the above Isma'IlT focus group, are similar to some other collectivists. For example, according to Bontempo, Lobel, and Triandis (1990), and Gudykunst (1993, p. 140), "conformity to in-group norms not only is more common among collectivists but is also internalized to such an extent that it is automatic, and people enjoy doing what is expected of them" (Triandis, 1995, p. 75). On the other hand, conformity to out-groups of the same culture or community is rare (according to Williams & Sogon, cited by Gudykunst, 1993), and sometimes hostile social behaviors due to some random events may be perpetrated against individuals of out-groups (Triandis, 1995). Although collectivists may be known for their conforming behaviour, the focus group revealed that not every member of the community, whether they are in-group or out-group either benefit from or agree with the conformity. Theoretical Explanations for Discrimination Triandis (1995) defined collectivism as individuals who are closely linked, who are motivated by the norms and duties of the collective, who are willing to give priority to the goals of the group versus their own goals, and who emphasize their relatedness to others in the collective. In this context, Triandis noted that collectivist cultures give importance to who a person is, whereas in individualistic cultures, importance is attained by what a person does (cited in Wehrly, 1995). In contrast, generally, members of individualistic cultures enjoy more latitude in their behaviour and are less restricted by norms and rules. Therefore, one sees much more variation in the behaviours of those 35 who are part of individualistic societies and they are more accepted than in collectivist societies. In-groups are found in both collectivist and individualist cultures; they are the individuals who are the most trusted. In collectivist societies, the in-group members with authority are expected to know and behave the "right way." Sue and Zane (as cited in Wehrly, 1995) suggested that age, sex, language, religion, tribe, race, or status can differentiate people in collectivist cultures and are used to ascribe status. France, the United States, and England are known as individualistic countries to varying degrees; and India, Russia, and Japan are known as collectivist countries to varying degrees (Triandis, 1995). Illustrations of In-group Discrimination in Other Communities Similar kinds of in-group practices exist in other communities, for example, the Burakumin in Japan. The Burakumin people of Japan are not a separate ethnic minority such as the Koreans in Japan, who are also discriminated against. In fact, the Burakumin are of the same race and religion as the majority of Japanese (Josep, 1997). Unfortunately, they were part of the lower ranks in the feudal system of the "Edo" period in Japanese history and they have been discriminated against ever since that time (Mihashi, 1987). Josep compared the Burakumin to the untouchable class of India because they are the descendants of the eta, the lowest class in Japan. To the in-group Japanese, the out-group Burakumin symbolize a lifestyle that is contradictory to Japanese values and culture. Burakumin people are denied equal access to employment, they earn less in the jobs they hold, they occupy low status and low paying jobs and therefore, more 36 Burakumin families access the welfare system. Because they are viewed as the dirty, and lower-class, other Japanese are reluctant to espouse them, and they are often restricted from residing in locations other than in their own communities. A secret directory with names and addresses of the Buraku people allows prospective employers and spouses to discriminate. The discrimination is overt in social situations, in schools, and in the workplace. Sometimes, the verbal slurs are so unbearable that employees leave their jobs. Discriminatory language is used as a weapon to prevent any upward mobility of the Buraku. Mihashi (1987) reported that the discrimination is even greater now and more open than in the Edo period. Discrimination towards the Burakumin people is a prime example of how devastating the effects of in-group practices can be. The discrimination in the Isma'IlT community may be more subtle but may have far reaching effects. Another socio-religious group that discriminates towards its own members is the Jewish community in Israel (Semyonov & Lerenthal, 1991). Of the 3.5 million Jews in Israel in 1982 (Smooha, 1985), 55% of these were known as the Oriental Jews from Morocco, Iraq, and Yemen; and the remaining 45% were known as the Ashkenazi Jews from Romania, Russia, Poland, and Germany. The Ashkenazim are the dominant group who established their superior position several years ago as the founders of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. Initially, Oriental Jews constituted only 12% of the population when Israel was born in 1948. Later, during the mass immigration of the 1960s, their numbers increased dramatically. At that time however, the incoming Oriental Jews were already disadvantaged due to their lower educational status, and their larger families. They were forced to find low paying jobs that kept them in the lower social ranks (Smooha, 1985). 37 Today, there still exists ethnic discrimination between the Ashkenazi and the Oriental Jews (Semyonov & Lerenthal, 1991). Although all of the Jews in Israel have the same basic culture, religion, nationality, language, and Zionist philosophy, discrimination against the Orientals is felt in every sphere of life. Some of this discrimination is apparent in the social realm, in the political realm, and in the observation of some religious traditions. . The Orientals are thought to have Arab ways of thinking and behaving, which is frowned upon. The majority of Ashkenazi occupy the middle and upper classes, whereas the majority of Orientals occupy the working and lower classes. Consequently, the Ashkenazi are said to have a standard of living twice as high as that of the Orientals. Important political positions in the government, the Jewish Agency, the General Federation of Labor, political parties, the media, the economy, the civil service, and volunteer organizations are all held by the Ashkenazi (Smooha, 1985). Individuals have compared the Jewish community to the Isma'TlT community. Both are socio-religious groups and practice more closed forms of religious observance as opposed to the Sunni tradition of Islam and Christianity. They also hold a common history of persecutions and migrations, and they share some similar values such as the emphasis on pursuing professional careers. To a lesser extent, the Jewish form of exclusionary behaviours is similar to the distinction that Isma'TlTs make between African born Isma'TlTs, and South Asian born Isma'TlTs. In Canada, where the majority of Isma'TlTs are African born, Indian and Pakistani born Isma'TlTs have felt left out at times and have been previously excluded from holding key positions in the mosque (ITREB, 1998). In recent years, there have been attempts to equalize this difference by sharing positions of authority and becoming more inclusive socially. However, according to a summary report of focus groups conducted across Canada (ITREB, 1998), "there was a strong concern in the groups about exclusions and prejudice prevalent in the leadership and the Jamat who come from the Khoja Isma'Tlis of Africa regarding Black Isma'llls, the recently converted, the Afghani and Central Asian Isma'llls and those originating from the Indo-Pakistani sub-continent." Clarke (1976) noted that the London Isma'llls are also mainly from India, Pakistan, and East Africa. He observed that an Isma'IlT from South Asia may have more in common with a Hindu from Bombay perhaps, than an Isma'IlT from East Africa. "East African Isma'Tlis tend to form together a group, and loyalty to and kinship among East African Isma'Tlis accounts for some of the strength of the associational and communal bonds" (Clarke, p. 492). Because I lived in the United States and in Canada for a number of years, Clarke confirmed my observations in both countries by adding: "Nonetheless there is not a 'cleavage' between Indian and Pakistani Isma'Tlis or between East African Isma'Tlis and Indian and Pakistani Isma'llls respectively" (Clarke, p. 492; ITREB, 1998). Both the Burakumin and the Jewish example illustrate that in-group discrimination based on one's family of origin and position in life may occur in collectivist societies. Discrimination towards both the Buraku of Japan and the Ashkenazi of Israel results in the denial of equal access to employment, possibilities of marriage, lower incomes, and educational opportunities. All of these factors greatly hinder upward mobility of the Buraku of Japan and the Ashkenazi of Israel. 39 Summary Some of the many characteristics individuals use to distinguish others and then discriminate against them include country of origin, degree of acculturation, socio-economic status, profession, sexual orientation, age, marital status, gender, physical and mental abilities or disabilities, and involvement in an inter-racial relationship (as noted in the Isma'TlT focus group). Although informal focus groups have been conducted internally within the Isma'TlT Jamat across Canada over the past 10 years, in order to gather different view points over this issue, the results have not been widely disseminated. In this study, however, I attempt to examine the process of in-group discrimination so that the results may be open for any individual including Isma'TlTs to discuss and scrutinize. Moreover, an examination of in-group discrimination on women who live in such a tightly knit community such as the Isma'TlT community has never been undertaken. In the present study, I explore the types of discrimination some women encounter, and how they subsequently felt towards the community and about themselves, such as changes in their self-esteem, and self-perception as a result of the discrimination. How they then coped with the effects of the discrimination, and how their behaviour may have been changed by the incident(s) of discrimination was investigated. It is important to study this topic because women are more often powerless, they are more likely to be discriminated against, and their "voices are not always heard" (Gilligan, 1993). The experiences of women, and especially women of colour who have been treated unjustly have not been well documented, are little understood, and as a consequence, are not taken seriously or even acknowledged at times by society in 40 general. Moreover, as a member of the Isma'IlT community, I am aware of in-group discrimination as well as the lack of assistance within the community to help women cope with the stress associated with various experiences of discrimination. Even though the Isma'IlT community may not openly acknowledge the problem, the community is fully aware of the occurrence of intra-ethnic discrimination on an individual and structural level (ITREB, 1998). This is acknowledged in the ITREB report (1998, p. 1) in the following manner: "The degree of participation in any organized group, religious or otherwise, is directly related to the degree of acceptance and comfort felt/perceived by the individual." Women at the focus groups spoke openly and honestly and took risks with the hope for change. The depth of the comments unveiled evidence of the existence of in-group discrimination in the Isma'IlT community in Vancouver. The breadth of stories the women presented offered insight into the various forms discrimination can take. Feelings of hurt, anger, frustration, and disappointment were palpable. After the focus group outings at the "Dar Khana of Canada," and in other Jama'at Khanas across Canada, the Isma'IlT Tariqah and Religious Education Board for Canada (ITREB) published the results in an internal report as a "publication of limited circulation." In this report, called "Gender project," only some of the many concerns outlined above were mentioned. Examples included issues affecting the disabled and gay members of the congregation; issues around clothing, and the inability of women to aspire to positions of leadership. However, these items were mentioned very briefly, in guarded language, and issues were addressed as those belonging to "gender expression and gender equity" or in 41 other words, as "women's issues" and not as problems affecting, on some level, the entire community. Also, the impact of discriminatory behaviours on individuals such as loss of faith, loss of familial and communal ties, anxiety, stress, confusion, and so on were not mentioned in the report. The purpose of this study, therefore, is not to investigate the incidence or prevalence of in-group discrimination but to understand Isma'IlT women's experiences of discrimination and its impact on their lives. 42 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY Design A multicase design (Merriam, 1998) with an ethnographic focus was used in the present study. Each of the six research participants represented intrinsically bounded individual cases, hence the term multicase design. The primary focus of this case study was to be heuristic; that is, to increase the understanding of a given phenomenon, bring new meaning to it, reveal new relationships or variables, and/or to provide insight into causes of events (Creswell, 1998). As noted by Merriam, "a qualitative case study is an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a bounded phenomenon such as a program, an institution, a person, a process, or a social unit" (Merriam, 1998, p. xiii). The boundary of the cases in this study entailed incidents of discrimination that the adult female participants experienced by other male and/or female Isma'TlT adults. The cases were also bounded by location as only women living in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, in British Columbia were asked to participate in the study (Creswell, 1998). An ethnographic focus reflects the study of "behaviours of a culture sharing group" namely the Isma'TlTs of Indian Subcontinent origin, known as Khojas, and the "recording of human behaviour in cultural terms" (Creswell, 1998, p. 39). In order to fully articulate the rationale for the methods employed in this study, an explanation of qualitative research is presented followed by a description of case study and ethnographic research. Also included in this chapter are my preconceptions for this study, participant recruitment and procedures, and the interview format. This is succeeded by the format used for data analysis, and the means by which internal validity, external validity, and reliability were increased, and ethical concerns safeguarded. 43 Qualitative Research According to Merriam (1998), all qualitative research is based on the philosophical assumption that "reality is constructed by individuals interacting with their social worlds. Qualitative researchers are interested in understanding the meaning people have constructed, that is, how they make sense of their world and the experiences they have in the world" (p. 6). This allows each participant to have different experiences of and perspectives on the issue being studied whereby "multiple realities are constructed socially by individuals" (Merriam, p. 4). Qualitative inquiry emphasizes meaning in context which stems from its philosophical roots in phenomenology: [Qualitative research] is an effort to understand situations in their uniqueness as part of a particular context and the interactions there. This understanding is an end itself, so that it is not attempting to predict what may happen in the future necessarily, but to understand the nature of that setting—what it means for participants to be in that setting, what their lives are like, what's going on for them, what their meanings are, what the world looks like in that particular setting--and in the analysis to be able to communicate that faithfully to others who are interested in that setting.... The analysis strives for depth of understanding. (Patton, cited in Merriam, 1998, p. 6) Implied in the above statement by Patton is the notion that the researcher is interested in understanding a particular phenomenon from the participants' or insider's perspective, known as the emic view, and not from the researcher's, outsider's, or etic view. Thus, in the present study, the particular phenomenon of interest is discrimination from an Isma'Ul woman's perspective. Next, qualitative research is primarily an inductive method of inquiry. The information gathered about the participants' experiences, and the meaning generated from these descriptions form the basis for building abstractions, concepts, or theorizing. 44 The process itself is not measured, observed, quantified, or tested against a theory. In contrast to deductive inquiry that searches for data to test a theory, inductive inquiry builds towards a theory to explain the data. One reason for choosing the qualitative methodology, according to Merriam, is the lack of theory or the "existing theory fails to adequately explain a phenomenon" (p. 7) as is the case for the experience of in-group discrimination within the Isma'TlT Muslim community. In summary, the case study methodology employed is part of a larger genre of methods known as qualitative. In turn, qualitative studies are known for having characteristics that this study attempted to incorporate. They included; (a) the aim of drawing out meaning from the participants' experiences (the emic view), (b) to be interpretive in nature, (c) to employ the researcher as the fundamental source of data collection and analysis, (d) to apply the inductive process, and (e) to present the findings in a 'richly descriptive' format describing what has been learned about the particular phenomenon. Case Study A case study is an "intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single unit or bounded system" (Merriam, 1998, p. 12). According to Merriam, in conducting a case study it is essential to have a clear understanding of what constitutes the boundaries or limits of the case as this allows the researcher to be mindful of what the case is and is not while conducting the research. Case studies can be found in conjunction with other qualitative methods such as ethnography. Finally, Merriam emphasizes that the purpose of a case study is to derive a full and complete understanding of the issue under study. Yin (1994) defines a case study from a process point of view. "A case study is an 45 empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident" (p. 13). This notion of a 'complete understanding' as well as Yin's (1994) concept of the boundary between the phenomenon and the context not being clearly evident or enmeshed imply that the context and the phenomenon are linked to each other and cannot be examined in isolation. Therefore, included is the context of the cases in this study which pertains to the social, historical, religious, and migratory patterns of the Isma'Tlis residing in Vancouver. Both for the purposes of a case study and an ethnographic focus, the context of the Indo-Canadian culture was described in the literature review. According to Creswell (1998), the focus of a study may be on a particular 'case', individual, or situation, that due to its uniqueness, renders further study. This is known as an intrinsic case study. If, however, the focus is on an "issue or issues, with the case used instrumentally to illustrate the issue" then this is known as an instrumental case study (Creswell, p. 62). Thus, this present study is instrumental in that it examines the issue of discrimination. Case studies are 'particularistic,' however, because they "focus on a particular situation, event, program, or phenomenon. The case itself is important for what it reveals about the phenomenon and for what it might represent" (Merriam, 1998, p. 29). The case study method can be used to study a process or an outcome. Hence, in this study, the process of discrimination; that is, what took place, the experience of discrimination for the participant, and the outcome of such an experience from the participant's perspective was the object of study. The case is each individual participant and is bounded by the incidents of discrimination. According to Yin, the case study is the preferred strategy "when the investigator has little control over the events" (Yin, 1994, p. 1) or when "examining contemporary events, but when the relevant behaviours cannot be manipulated" (p. 8). As is the case in the present research, the events have already transpired or are part of the on-going realities that interviewees face in their daily lives. I am not able to manipulate or control the events as one may assume in an experimental study. In addition, the case study method is ideal for the present research as "the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon within some real-life context" (Yin, 1994, p. 1) and provides the scrutiny of "complex social phenomena," while still maintaining the "holistic and meaningful characteristics of real-life events" (Yin, 1994, p. 3). Yin (1994) also suggests that some "what" and "how" questions are more likely to lend themselves to case study research. This study looks at 'what' happened to the interviewees, 'how' they experienced these events, 'how' they coped with the events, and finally 'how' their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours may have changed as a result of the perceived discriminatory process. An Ethnographic Focus Ethnography, analogous to case study, is another form of qualitative research. Although this study was not a true ethnography as there was not an immersion in the daily lives of the participants with prolonged participant observation (Creswell, 1998), certain aspects of the ethnographic method and process were employed. Although relying mainly on one in-depth interview as the main source of data for each of the cases, an attempt was made to collect data from other sources. At the conclusion of the first interview, with their consent, the interviewees were asked to bring a document to the 47 second interview that could shed light on some aspect of their experience of discrimination such as a story, a poem, a drawing, or a picture, but only one participant did so. According to Merriam (1998), an "ethnography is a sociocultural interpretation of the data... .[It] presents a sociocultural analysis of the unit of study. Concern with the cultural context sets this type of study apart from other types of qualitative research" (p. 14). In addition, this concern for the cultural context distinguishes ethnographic method from ethnographic fieldwork techniques that other research methods employ. Merriam cites D'Andrade's 1992 criteria for defining what is cultural: To say something is cultural is—at a minimum—to say that it is shared by a significant number of members of a social group; shared in the sense of being behaviourally enacted, physically possessed, or internally thought. Further, this something must be recognized in some special way and at least some others are expected to know about it; that is, it must be intersubjectively shared. Finally for something to be cultural it must have the potential of being passed on to new group members, to exist with some permanency through time and across space [p. 230]. (Merriam, 1998, p..13-14) Thus, in the present study, the phenomenon of discrimination was studied within the cultural context of the Isma'IlI community. Creswell (1998) uses Wolcott's construction of culture to define the responsibility of the researcher and the outcome of an ethnography: Culture is an amorphous term, not something "lying about" (Wolcott, 1987, p. 41) but rather something the researcher attributes to a group as he or she looks for patterns of daily living. It is inferred from the words and actions of members of the group and is assigned to this group by the researcher. It consists of looking for what people do (behaviours), what they say (language), and some tension between what they really do and what they ought to do as well as what they make and use (artifacts) (Spradley, cited in Creswell, 1998, p. 59). Creswell continues that the ethnographer aims to discover cultural themes in that, it is the researcher's duty to assign what is cultural and what is not. Fetterman (cited in 48 Creswell, 1998) notes that these themes may be divided according to structure or function, "structure [referring] to the social structure or configuration of the group, such as kinship or the political structure of the social-cultural group, [and] function [referring] to patterns of the social relations among members of the group that help regulate behaviour" (Creswell, p. 60). In this study, both structural and functional themes were identified. Preconceptions In order to delineate clearly between the acts of discrimination experienced by myself, and those of my participants, an audio-taped interview of my experiences was conducted by a colleague in the field of counselling psychology. Before commencing interviews for the present study, preliminary questions were posed to myself and I subsequently responded to them in an office setting that resembled similar circumstances for the other interviewees. This process heightened my awareness of the nature of the discriminatory events that had taken place in my life, and my attitudes, and feelings surrounding these experiences. The exercise of recording my interview assisted me in becoming more aware of what I needed to "put on hold" during the interviews, and was helpful in noting and separating my experiences from those of the participants during the analysis phase of the project. In order to minimize the effects of my personal beliefs on the analysis of the data, my assumptions were bracketed (Creswell, 1998; Merriam, 1998). Bracketing is when the researcher tries to set aside or at least minimize "all prejudgments... [and] experiences" (Creswell, 1998, p. 52) by recounting his/her beliefs. The purpose of bracketing, therefore, is to facilitate a complete reliance on the accounts of the 49 participants as opposed to that of the researcher, as well as "intuition, imagination, and universal structures to obtain a picture of the experience" (Creswell, 1998, p. 52). Bracketing is similar to the concept of epoche as identified by Husserl (Creswell, 1998). Epoche entails suspending "all judgments about what is real.. .until they are founded on a more certain basis" (Creswell, 1998, p. 52). This setting aside or suspension of prejudices, and assumptions allows the researcher to see the data more clearly for what it is (Merriam, 1998). However, it should be noted that the instrument in a qualitative study is after all human and "all observations and analyses are filtered through that human being's worldview, values, and perspectives" (Merriam, 1998, p. 22). In addition, since a philosophical assumption of qualitative inquiry is that there exists multiple constructions of reality and is not entirely objective, the researcher "brings a construction of reality to the research situation, which interacts with other people's constructions or interpretations of the phenomenon being studied. The final product.. .is yet another interpretation by the researcher of others' views filtered through.. .her own" (Merriam, 1998, p. 23). It is therefore not possible to be entirely without bias or subjectivity both in the data collection or analysis phases of the process. The goal, however, of bracketing is to minimize this subjectivity. My Assumptions and Beliefs First, I believe that culture and religion are two separate phenomena that can be teased apart albeit with difficulty at times, and in the long run, Isma'IlT Muslims have more to gain with the longevity of religious ethics, rather than cultural practices. I am of the belief that religious concepts can prevail with globalization and the coming together of Muslims from other parts of the world. In addition, religious commonalties will 50 contribute to the sustenance of the Isma'TlT Muslim community with individuals arriving into Canada from diverse nations and therefore cultures such as Syria, Afghanistan, China, and Russia. In addition, I believe that the monotheistic faiths including Islam, were revealed by God, and Prophets were sent to reveal the religion that God intended for people to follow. In other words, God did not send Prophets to reveal a 'culture' for human beings to protect and uphold. This is a bias I hold as I know of individuals of Isma'TlT origin who find solace in traditions such as Indian dress, food, music, and language rather than in the tenets of the faith. I have also been informed at times that the process of differentiating between the religion and the culture is not of the essence; that in fact they are linked together and cannot be separated. Second, I am a practicing ShT'a Imami Isma'TlT Muslim, and I believe in the tenets of the faith. I do not hold any animosity towards the religion. Although I disagree with the obvious hierarchy, and male privilege prevalent in organized religions, I believe that Islam is a worthy and exalted religion, and I find solace in the path I have chosen. It is my hope that these aspects of the religion will improve under the guidance of the present Imam. For these reasons, this study is an exploration of personal, cultural, and social factors that result in discrimination, and I do not intend to discuss or dispute religious practices (e.g., male circumcision) or matters pertaining to the tariqah (religious doctrine). Third, I believe that every member of the Isma'TlT community, male or female, has experienced discrimination. However, there may be differences in the degree to which the discrimination ensued, the ability pfthe individual tp cope,, the cause of the 51 discrimination, the characteristics of the individual that experienced the discrimination (e.g., their gender, socio-economic status, etc.), and the characterization of the behaviour; that is, considered by the individual to be discrimination. Fourth, I anticipated that the study participants experienced discrimination in the forms described earlier, and expressed at the focus groups; and that they represented their experiences as they perceived them to the best of their knowledge. Of course I hoped and was open to learning of new experiences and insights that I was previously unaware of and did not anticipate in order to broaden the meaning of in-group discrimination. Participants I interviewed six adult Isma'IlT women who had experienced in-group discrimination. Women as opposed to male participants were recruited for this study as there is sometimes a greater expectation on women to fulfill gender and cultural roles (Assanand, 1990). Also, women's voices are not always heard (Gilligan, 1996), and the pressure to fulfill gender and cultural roles can be greater for women who are single, divorced, or having marital problems (Assanand, 1990). In other words, women may face stronger societal and cultural roles and expectations. In this study, purposeful sampling was used (Creswell, 1998). I recruited participants who varied in the following categories: age, socio-economic status, country of origin, educational background, occupation, and level of association with the Isma'IlT community. For example, one participant was a young adult from Nairobi, Kenya, newly graduated from university and presently working full-time. Another participant was an older woman, divorced and a single mother from Mombasa, another part of Kenya, working part-time and attending college in the evenings to upgrade her skills (see 52 biographies of participants for a full description of participant characteristics in the results section). Participant Recruitment and Procedures Participants for the study were recruited by appealing to Isma'TlT women known to myself as marginalized in the community. The assumption for this criteria was that they had chosen to interact peripherally with the community, having experienced some form of discrimination by other Isma'TlTs. In turn, I requested that they recommend other possible candidates for the study. In this way, the 'snowball effect' occurred with individuals who were known to have been marginalized. The clustering of particular criteria resulted in selecting women who were marginalized. For example, one woman who identified herself as Isma'TlT rarely attended the Jama'at Khana, appeared to have limited contact with the community, and was active in non-mainstream organizations such as feminist coalitions and so on. Another participant I approached was recently divorced, a single parent, and had once related to me the difficulty she had experienced with receiving guidance and support from the Social Welfare Board regarding her abusive husband. The recruitment criteria required that interviewees identify and perceive themselves as Isma'TlT Muslims, that they were women, were willing to discuss their positive as well as negative experiences in the Isma'TlT community, and that they would consent to the interview being audio-taped and later transcribed and analyzed for the study. Letters (see Appendix B) asking for voluntary participation in this study were sent by myself to several such candidates. Note that, I did not have a personal and on-going relationship with any of the participants of this study. In other words, although as an Isma'IlT I was aware of individuals in the community who would be appropriate for my study, they were not my friends or colleagues, and I did not place myself in a dual role as a friend and a researcher. This assured voluntary participation both in terms of agreeing to be an interviewee, and the degree to which each participant chose to disclose personal experiences. Difficulties with recruitment. What appeared to be the simple task of recruiting participants became a much more daunting mission. First, obvious candidates for the study that admitted being marginalized and even "radical" as one woman described herself, turned down the offer to collaborate citing a somewhat contradictory reason namely, the lack of approval from the Isma'IlT Council to conduct this research. Second, one participant agreed to be interviewed, a time was determined, the appointment later confirmed, and the interview completed. But that participant retracted her permission to include the interview the following day with no reasons provided except that she felt "uncomfortable." She explained that part of her discomfort was due to the fact that I could not disclose the identity of the person who had provided her name. This issue was discussed at the beginning of the interview and yet she had decided to proceed with the interview. Due to the hostile nature of her attitude towards me, and her lack of willingness to answer my interview questions, other factors were probably responsible for her retraction. Third, the snowballing technique did not yield a significant number of participants as was anticipated. Interviewees were reluctant to offer names of other possible candidates in order to protect their confidentiality. Fourth, individuals previously known to myself had relocated outside the province and even outside the country. At one point, 54 I had contemplated travelling to other Canadian provinces in order to recruit 6 participants. Fifth, one potential candidate made several appointments for the interview and cancelled each time due to time constraints. For the same reason, only one participant provided a second interview.' Sixth, potential candidates were reluctant to be interviewed in fear of being identified even though I assured them that the study was anonymous, confidential, and they could determine what they disclosed. This was a legitimate concern for many candidates. Seventh, some women felt an ethical obligation towards the community not to discuss such concerns "in public." This was a particular concern for the older women in their 40s and above. Next, there were a number of constraints imposed on myself for recruiting participants. For example, as I did not have permission by the Isma'TlT Council to conduct this research, I could not access the usual routes available to Isma'TlTs for disseminating information such as announcements in the various Vancouver Jama'at Khana s, and an advertisement in the ' Al-Akhbar,' an Isma'TlT newsletter. For the same reason, I could not personally approach individuals in the Jama'at Khana and additionally, I would not know which of the women are marginalized. As my participants advised me, most marginalized women do not attend Jama'at Khana, especially the younger women in their 20s and 30s. Since discussing personal issues outside of the community is frowned upon, no apparent gain for participants was evident. The women that did decide to participate saw the study as a positive tool; as a means of helping other women feel less isolated, and perhaps affecting change in the community. For example, one of the participants, Marrakesh, noted that she would like to see a change in the "incredible silence" that is both pervasive and systemic. Second, she 55 would like to let other women know that they are not alone in their struggles to fit in and third, she would like people in the leadership to feel "uncomfortable" when they read this study, as a means of impelling change. Interview Protocol After determining their eligibility by telephone (see recruitment criteria above), a mutually convenient time was arranged for the first interview. Each case consisted of one interview and one participant agreed to a second interview that served as a member check (see definition below). The location of the interviews was determined at the discretion of the participants, usually in their home or their work place, whichever was more convenient and private. The interviews were audio-taped, and later transcribed by a non-lsma'lll, professional transcriber. A number of open-ended questions had previously been prepared for the inquiry (see end of this section). However, there was a flexibility with which the interviews were conducted so that the participants had the opportunity to relate their experiences on their own terms. At the beginning of the first interview, an informed consent letter was presented and explained to the candidates. At this time, their signatures indicating their voluntary participation in the study were elicited. The informed consent form (see Appendix D) had received approval by the University of British Columbia: Behavioural Research Ethics Board for Human Subjects and it was mandatory for participants to sign and receive a copy of the form. First interview. The length of the interviews ranged from 90 minutes to 180 minutes determined by the convenience and comfort of the participants and were conducted in single session meetings. The interview began with a short explanation of the purpose of the study, an introduction to myself, and some of the goals of the study. 56 An initial aim was to establish rapport with the participant. The interview, in other words, the data collection was then conducted following the interview protocol using active listening techniques such as reflection, non-judgmental statements of empathy, clarification, and probing when appropriate. Because I was aware of the context, questions were adapted to the situation, verbal and nonverbal data were processed immediately, and contradictory responses were explored further. At the conclusion of the first interview, with their consent and choice, the interviewees were asked to bring a document to the second interview that could shed light on some aspect of their experience of discrimination such as a story, a poem, a drawing, or a picture. This document was used to further discussion on issues raised in the first interview. Only one participant agreed to offer a picture of a previous art piece she had made for an exhibition. The art piece was discussed in detail including personal meanings and attachment to the art work. Second interview. The primary purpose of a much shorter second interview was to complete data collection if, for example, the time allotted for the first interview was not sufficient, and to check for hunches and clarification of issues and items discovered in the recursive data analysis. This second interview permitted the exploration of some themes in greater depth. In addition, the interval between the two interviews provided the participant the opportunity to (a) recollect other incidents or details that she may have forgotten to relate in the first interview; (b) reconsider her responses, and make additions, clarifications, or deletions; and (c) furnish documents requested in the first interview. The second interview also served as a member check. A member check entails showing the descriptive portion applicable to the particular participant as well as tentative 57 interpretations for the entire study, and receiving feedback on whether the descriptive portion was accurate, and if not, how they would make changes (Sandelowski, 1993). Aside from increasing the internal validity of the study, member checks fulfill an ethical obligation towards the participants to know what is written about them as well as the opportunity to correct factual errors, and provide input during the analytical phase (Sandelowski, 1993). Since only one participant, Khartoum, agreed to meet for a second interview, only one member check was possible. Cairo could not meet for a second interview due to time constraints and a busy work schedule. Marrakesh and Istanbul relocated and therefore, I could not reach them. The two remaining participants, Tunis and Damascus, felt they had said what they wanted within the time frame of the first interviews. Recursive Data Analysis After each case (interview), a process of recursive or preliminary data analysis was attempted. This process assisted in directing future interviews and checking for similarities and differences in order to formulate themes. "Without ongoing analysis, the data can be unfocused, repetitious, and overwhelming in the sheer volume of material.. ..Data that have been analyzed while being collected are both parsimonious and illuminating" (Merriam, 1998, p. 162). The first step in recursive data analysis began with the interview of the first case. I reviewed the interview and formulated questions as well as hunches and possible hypotheses for the other cases. After completing the second case, the first case was compared with this second set of data and again new questions and hypotheses were put forth for the remainder of cases. This process continued until all of the data for the cases 58 were collected. I followed Bogdan and Biklen's (1992) suggestions for recursive data collection (as cited in Merriam, 1998, p. 162-163): 1. Develop analytic questions. "... shortly after you enter the field,... assess which questions you brought with you are relevant and which ones should be reformulated to direct your work" (p. 155). 2. Plan data collection sessions according to what is found in previous observations. ".. .pursue specific leads in your next data collection session" (p. 157). 3. Write "observer's comments" as you go. "The idea is to stimulate critical thinking about what you see and to become more than a recording machine" (p. 158). 4. Write memos to yourself about what you are learning. 5. Try out ideas and themes on other participants. 6. Play with metaphors, analogies, and concepts. "Nearsightedness plagues most research... .Ask the question, 'What does this remind me of?'" (p. 162). 7. Use visual devices. Visualizing what is learnt from the interviews brings clarity to the analysis for example, doodling, drawing an image, or graphically representing with graphs/charts. Analysis "Data analysis is the process of making sense out of the data. And... [this] involves consolidating, reducing, and interpreting what people have said and what the researcher has seen and read—it is the process of making meaning" (Merriam, 1998, p. 178). The findings of the study consisted of meanings or insights gained from the study, and took the form of descriptions, experiences, and interpretations of the participants. Before the data analysis however, brief biographical descriptions were developed. For example, some demographic data such as age, country of origin, socio-economic level and so on were followed by a description of the participants' 'story' or summary account and why they were marginalized. 59 Cross Case Analysis When more than one case is used in a study, as is the case in this study, it is known as a collective, cross-case, multicase, multisite, or comparative case study. Data were collected and analyzed within the same case and then between the cases. This is known as cross-case analysis. The constant comparative method guided this analysis. The Constant Comparative Method The constant comparative method was introduced by Glaser and Strauss in 1967 (Merriam, 1998). As an inductive or concept-building method of analysis, it is compatible with qualitative and case study research. The constant comparative method entails comparing parts of one interview from one case with the rest of the same interview as well as with the other case studies in order to look for similarities and differences. "The researcher begins with a particular incident from an interview,.. .or document and compares it with another incident in the same set of data or in another set" (Merriam, 1998, p. 159). The construction of themes. The data were divided into smaller units of data. A single unit of data consisted of a phrase or several pages of an incident, as long as it was seen as a potentially meaningful piece of knowledge. Lincoln and Guba (1985) state two criteria in the formation of units. One, it must be heuristic, in other words, the unit must be relevant to the study and encourage an observer to think beyond the actual piece of information. Second, the unit must be the smallest bit of information that can stand by itself without any further explanation other than the broad context of the study. These units of information are then 'constantly compared' systematically with every other unit of information in the same interview (within-case analysis) and then with every other interview (cross-case analysis). The units that have something in common 60 are then grouped together and assigned the name of the theme. These themes are concepts or abstractions that are indicated by or derived from the data but are not the actual data. Devising the themes was "largely an intuitive process, but it was also systematic and informed by the study's purpose, the investigator's orientation and knowledge, and the meanings made explicit by the participants themselves" (Merriam, 1998, p. 179). When the themes became too large or exhaustive, some were subdivided and others were engulfed by the more complex themes. A copy of each of the transcripts of the interviewees was printed on different colour paper so that all of the information pertinent to each of the participants was easily identified by the unique colour. At this point, I determined where each unit of information began and ended. Each unit was 'constantly compared' with all of the other units to determine the name of the theme. Naming the themes. The naming of the themes and the classification used to separate the units of data into themes mirrored the focus of the study as well as reflecting the data from which they were originally derived. In this study, two sources for naming the themes were used: the investigator and the participants. As the first and most prevalent source, I invented or designed the categories from what was observed from the data. As a second source, I derived theme names from the way participants described some of their experiences. "It is a fundamental purpose of language to tell us what is important by giving it a name and therefore separating it from other things with other names" (Patton, cited in Merriam, 1998, p. 183). For example, a participant viewed Isma'Tlis as placing far greater emphasis on material advancement and this was used as a conceptual category. 61 Themes were constructed according to the outline for category construction by Merriam (1998). They should (be): • Reflect the purpose of the research.. .themes are the answers to your research question(s). • Exhaustive, that is, you should be able to place all the data that you decided were important or relevant to the study in a theme or sub-theme. • Mutually exclusive. A unit of data should fit into only one theme. If the exact same unit of data can be placed into more than one theme, more conceptual work needs to be done to refine your themes. • Sensitizing. The naming of the theme should be as sensitive as possible to what is in the data. An outsider should be able to read the themes and gain some sense of their nature. The more exacting in capturing the meaning of the phenomenon, the better. • Conceptually congruent. This means that the same level of abstraction should characterize all the themes at the same level. Themes describe the data but they also interpret the data. I was challenged to work back and forth between the phenomenon of study and its abstractions, and between the stories or descriptions, and the analysis of those descriptions. I used various strategies in an attempt to form the themes. For example, I visualized how the concepts or categories worked in conjunction with one another using a pictorial illustration showing the relationships among the categories. Summary. The analysis involved inductively reducing the data into themes using the constant comparative method. The themes constituted the findings of the study and were systematically named according to guidelines outlined by Merriam (1998). This analysis was first completed on each individual case as a 'within-case analysis' followed by a 'cross-case analysis' that constituted comparisons among the individual cases. Hence, the goal of cross-case analysis was to formulate abstractions, generalizations, processes, outcomes, and themes across the cases that fit the individual participants but that varied in detail. Validity, Reliability, and Ethics Internal validity. An assumption of qualitative studies is that reality is holistic, has many facets, and is constantly changing; it is not singular, fixed, or objective. Therefore, reality itself can never be captured and validity has to be determined on some other basis. In this study, I attempted to document the constructions of reality as perceived and composed by the participants. Because I am the main instrument for data collection and analysis, the interviewees' interpretations of reality were available to me through interviews. According to Merriam (1998), this form of data collection is preferred because this is closer to reality than having an instrument of some kind interjected between myself (the researcher) and the participants. Viewed in this way, internal validity (which reflects the extent to which the results of a study represent reality, and if the results in fact measure what they claim to measure) is thus a strength of qualitative studies. It is therefore important to describe the context, to provide a complete or holistic view of the events discussed in the study, and to ensure that the themes presented as results were compatible with or actually represented the constructs the participants wished to express. An attempt was made to increase the internal validity of the present study in the following ways. First, participants had the opportunity to relate their experiences in more than one way. Each participant was requested to submit a drawing, a poem, a journal entry, or any other form of self-expression as part of the data collection. Second, I was able to conduct a member check for one participant, after all of the data were collected. 63 Third, as a form of peer examination, I requested the opinion of my supervisor on the research findings as they developed. Fourth, I attempted to bracket my biases and assumptions in order to clarify my worldview and theoretical background. Reliability Qualitative research assumes that human behaviour is not static, that there may be many interpretations of reality, and that the primary purpose of the study is not to discover causal relationships or laws governing human behaviour. Instead, the focus is on describing human endeavour as it is experienced and "since there are many interpretations of what is happening, there is no benchmark by which to take repeated measures and establish reliability in the traditional sense" (Merriam, 1998, p. 205). In social science research, if a number of individuals experience a certain phenomenon, it does not automatically mean that everyone experienced the same phenomenon, or that the phenomenon actually occurred in reality, or that it would ever occur again to anyone else. Because what is being studied.. .is assumed to be in flux, multifaceted, and highly contextual, because information gathered is a function of who gives it and how skilled the researcher is at getting it, and because the emergent design of a qualitative case study precludes a priori controls, achieving reliability in the traditional sense is.. .impossible. Furthermore, for the reasons discussed, replication of a qualitative study will not yield the same results. That fact, however, does not discredit the results of the original study. Several interpretations of the same data can be made, and all stand until directly contradicted by new evidence. (Merriam, 1998, p. 206) Instead of reliability, Merriam suggests using Lincoln and Guba's (1985, p. 288) terminology to describe qualitative studies in terms of the 'dependability' or 'consistency' of the results. So, rather than expecting other researchers to derive the same results, investigators may expect others to agree that given a certain set of data, "the 64 results make sense—they are consistent and dependable. The question then is not whether findings will be found again but whether the results are consistent with the data collected'' (Merriam, 1998, p. 206). The dependability of the present study was increased in the following ways. First, as the investigator of this study, I stated my position clearly. In other words, I made explicit the assumptions and theory informing the study, my view of the group being studied, my basis for selecting certain informants including a description of each of them, and the social context of the community from which the data were collected. Second, I attempted to establish an audit trail. I requested my thesis supervisor to review the process of theme formation and data analysis as a way of retracing the steps I followed in conducting the research: "If we cannot expect others to replicate our account, the best we can do is explain how we arrived at our results" (Dey, 1993, p. 251, cited in Merriam). Merriam clarifies: "In order for an audit to take place, the investigator must describe in detail how data were collected, how categories were derived, and how decisions were made throughout the inquiry" (1998, p. 207). Specifics regarding the data collection process are reported in the thesis, however, other details were recorded in a separate journal. External Validity External validity answers the question to what extent can the results apply to other similar individuals or situations. In other words, how generalizable are the findings. "In qualitative research, a single case or small non-random sample is selected precisely because the researcher wishes to understand the particular in depth, not to find out what is generally true of the many" (Merriam, 1998, p. 208). It follows that this study does not 65 aim to investigate the incidence or prevalence of in-group discrimination or to generalize on the many forms of discrimination in the larger Isma'TlT community. Erickson (1986) believes that instead of generalizability, the goal of qualitative inquiry should be to find the 'general in the particular.' In other words, by studying an individual case in detail and then comparing it to another case studied in detail, 'concrete universals' can be found. The goal therefore is not for 'abstract universals' found by statistical analysis and generalizations from large samples. "The general lies in the particular; that is, what we learn in a particular situation we can transfer or generalize to similar situations subsequently encountered" (Merriam, 1998, p. 210). Merriam (1998) cites others [Firestone (1993), Walker (1980), Kennedy (1979), and Lincoln & Guba (1985)] who view external validity in terms of 'reader or user generalizability.' They believe that although it is the responsibility of the researcher to provide as much detail as possible, it is up to the reader in the final analysis to decide what is generalizable from the results and what is particular to the individuals in the qualitative case studies. Hence, each reader must ask him/herself what in the study pertains to their own situation and what does not. Generalizability of the present study was increased in the following ways. First, rich descriptions of the participants' experiences were provided so that readers are able to determine how closely their situations match the research situation, and therefore, whether findings can be transferred to themselves or others they may know of. Second, several cases were used to maximize diversity within the phenomenon of study. In this way, the reader has a greater range of case scenarios to choose from. Purposeful sampling supports this approach as variability among participants is desirable (Merriam, 66 1998). Third, when using multicases or cross-cases for analysis, "the use of predetermined questions and specific procedures for coding and analysis enhances the generalizability of findings in the traditional sense" (Merriam, 1998, p. 208). Ethics Permission to use 'live humans' as research participants was applied for at the University of British Columbia: Behavioural Research Ethics Board, and approval was granted for this study. Ethical dilemmas could have arisen during the course of data collection. There existed both pluses and minuses for the participants in the interview process. For example, some individuals could have felt an invasion of their privacy or become embarrassed by unexpected questions, or they could have divulged more than they had anticipated. In addition, some painful memories could have surfaced. I had at my disposal a number of referrals for counselling services that I would have provided to the participants if the interview had become a difficult process. None of the participants, however, required such assistance at the completion of the interviews. Interview Questions The research questions served as a guide, allowing the participants to relate their experiences in a way that was most comfortable for them. Therefore, the data gathered from each of the participants varied slightly in content. Orienting Statement The succeeding statement was read by the researcher to the participants at the beginning of the first interview. The following questions were intended to facilitate the interview, to illicit a description of the experiences, and to uncover any personal meanings associated with the experiences. "The purpose of the first and second interviews is to document your experiences in the Isma'IlI community and how that has impacted you, with some specific examples whenever possible. The format for the interviews will include a general description of the outlook or relationship you (the participant) have regarding the Isma'IlI community. This will be followed by specific questions related to positive and negative incidents experienced by you. The interview will conclude with an inquiry of how the relationship with the community has impacted family relations." The questions are as follows: General Questions 1. This study is looking at your relationship with the Isma'IlI community. Can you tell me what it's like? 2. How do you feel about the community? 3. How have your interactions with the community affected your daily life? 68 Positive and Negative Experiences 1. Can you tell me about some positive as well as negative experiences? How did that (each incident) make you feel? 2. How did you manage to deal with that kind of incident/person's behaviour? 3. What was the impact of those experiences/conclusions about the community on your life? How did that event change or influence your life? 4. What did that mean to you? What was the significance of that event for you? 5. Can you think of why you were treated in such a way? Specific to Discrimination (If mentioned by the participant) 1. What is your definition of discrimination? Concluding Questions and Ending 1. How have your interactions with the community affected your relationship with family members? 2. How does your family feel about your relationship to the faith and the community? What do they wish for you? 3. Are you content with the present status of your relationship with the community? 4. What recommendations do you have for improving community interactions? 5. How do things need to change? 69 6. What would need to change in the community for you to feel more accepted/comfortable in the community? 7. How have social relationships within the community affected the practice of your faith? 8. Is there anything you would like to say or add? How are you feeling right now? 70 CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS Interviews of 6 adult Isma'TlT women who were identified as marginalized within the Isma'TlT community formed the text for the purpose of analysis. The purpose for interviewing these women was to illustrate the experiences of marginalized Isma'TlT women (e.g., they may not attend the Jama'at Khana on a regular basis, or they may not interact with other Isma'TlTs). After analyzing the data using the constant comparative method, nine themes were identified. The themes were divided into two groups; the causes or types of discrimination, and the consequences or outcomes due to the discrimination (see Figure 1). Also emerging from the data was the context in which the discrimination takes place; that is, the intermingling of historical issues and the present tenure of Isma'TlTs in Canada, as interpreted by the participants of this study. Participants noted a number of recommendations that community members, in particular community leaders, could implement to diminish the causes of discrimination. Positive aspects of the culture and religion that the participants cherished were offered, and last, a document provided by one of the participants, Khartoum, was described and included. Each of the participants were assigned a pseudonym reflecting the name of a city where the majority of the population is Muslim. This approach was used as a way of eliminating any preference between participants who wanted to choose their own pseudonym and those who did not, and also to maintain uniformity and confidentiality. Pseudonyms chosen by participants could have been named Marrakesh, 71 Figure 1 Results: Diagram Showing Nine Themes Derived Using the Constant Comparative Method 72 Khartoum, Cairo, Tunis, Istanbul, and Damascus, revealed characteristics of themselves that may have reflected their personalities. The 6 participants A brief biographical description of each participant proceeds the presentation of themes. Themes Each of the themes of discrimination are first described. This is followed by how the discrimination was experienced with the aid of several quotations in order to provide the reader with as much context and understanding from the interviewee's point of view. Where possible, reactions to the discrimination, in terms of their feelings, changes in behaviour or outlook towards the community, and changes in self-perception or self-esteem as a result of the discrimination, are presented. The first five themes are the causes or types of discrimination (see Figure 2) or those items as mentioned by the participants as having a negative impact on their well-being. These are followed by four themes that are a consequence of the various types of discrimination. Passages from the interviews have been used frequently to both exemplify the themes, and to depict the experiences of the participants. For the sake of simplicity, themes have been presented as individual categories, yet there is much overlap between the themes. In an attempt to illustrate the commonality and the relationship between the themes, two figures have been included. The experiences of the individual participants have been kept separate and usually in sequence so that one may read the themes as presented linearly, or one could follow the 'story' of an individual participant from theme to theme to fully appreciate the experiences of an individual. In an attempt to embody the participants as they presented themselves, their use of language was not corrected. 73 Figure 2: Causes of Discrunination 74 Also, refer to the table of transcription symbols, and the glossary for a clearer understanding of the text (see Appendix E). Biographies MARRAKESH When Marrakesh was 2, her parents brought her to Vancouver from East Africa and she has resided here ever since. Marrakech graduated from a college program and works full time in the social service field. She is presently in her early 30s, is single with no children, and has lived on her own for about 10 years. Although she left home when she was in her early 20s, she feels close to both her parents and sees them regularly. She visits them in their home several times a month and attends Isma'TlT social functions with them on occasion. She considers her parents as working class. She has at least one brother and perhaps other siblings and extended family members residing in Vancouver. Her friends include both non-Isma'TlTs of different ethnic and non-ethnic communities as well as some Isma'TlT friends who also feel marginalized in the community including those who attend Jama'at Khana on a regular basis. Despite her Canadian upbringing, she describes herself as "very traditional." Marrakesh played an active role in the community when she was a young girl. She attended Jama'at Khana regularly several times a week, religious education classes once a week, religious camps for children, and the three major Isma'TlT celebrations until she was 11 years old. At that time, after struggling to fit in, she clearly realized that she did not fit well into the Isma'TlT social order and so she gradually began to reduce her attendance to Jama'at Khana. Today she attends the Jama'at Khana on occasion (less than five times a year) perhaps to participate in the most significant religious 75 celebrations. In addition, she enjoys attending some Isma'TlT social events, not held at the Jama'at Khana, such as outdoor picnics with her parents. Despite this sense of marginalization, she hopes to have children at some point, and raise them as Isma'TlT thereby providing them with the option of following the Isma'TlT faith if they chose to do so when they were older. KHARTOUM Khartoum was born in London, England, and lived in Kenya before immigrating along with her family to Vancouver 29 years ago at the age of 8. She is presently 38 years old. Prior to this, her parents were born in Nairobi, Kenya and lived there most of their lives. Khartoum is married with two young sons. In addition, she has two siblings and seems to have a good relationship both with her siblings and her parents who enjoy taking their grandchildren to Jama'at Khana. Her parents are a great source of emotional support and provide childcare when necessary. Khartoum has a graduate degree. She presently plays the dual role of designer and mother from her home base. She appears to be financially comfortable and mentioned having had a "privileged lifestyle" in Kenya. At the present time, Khartoum along with her immediate family attend Jama'at Khana once a week and on celebratory occasions in addition to sending her children to religious education classes once a week. Khartoum has played an extremely active role in the community in the past and continues to participate in a limited fashion when she sees an opportunity where she can make "whatever contribution." She was part of the Isma'TlT Volunteer Corps from the age of 9 to 20; she taught religious education classes from the age of 13 to 15; she was a member of the Isma'TlT Student Association during her University years for 2 years, and 76 more recently, she was an active member on the library committee for 1 year. However, after much struggle during her 20s, Khartoum came to realize that she held different views and beliefs from other Isma'Tlis and fitting into the community would take away from her sense of self and so she chooses at this time to be marginalized. Khartoum appeared to have well-thought out notions around her experiences in the Isma'IlI community as well as interpretations of her experiences. In addition, she seemed to be well-read on the effects of colonialism on the colonized and was able to articulate these concepts in a lucid and comprehensive manner. CAIRO Cairo was born in Mombasa, Kenya where she lived for 21 years. She worked in Nairobi for 2 years at which point her older sister sponsored her to immigrate to Vancouver, Canada 13 years ago. She is presently 36 years old. She was educated through the Aga Khan Primary and Secondary School systems in Mombasa, and after completing her "O Levels" and "A Levels," which is customary in the post-colonial British system, she attended college where she studied Accounting and Business Administration. She has held many different jobs since arriving in Vancouver, as a way of assisting her immediate family financially and then, after marriage, assisting her husband to attain his credentials. However, she has not yet found her own job niche. Since her divorce, she has recently embarked on her own career path and began her Bachelor's Degree at a local college in the evenings while working as an Administrative Assistant during the day. Cairo says her immediate family has been a significant source of emotional support. While going through her divorce, she decided to move back in with her parents 77 and mentions the following: "My two sisters were there to help me. My parents, they received me with open arms. And I am still living with my parents. Of course there is always a plus and a minus." Before marriage, Cairo lived with her parents and her two sisters. After marriage, she lived with her husband and in-laws. Since her divorce, due to financial restraints, she has moved in with her parents with her only daughter. She gets along with her parents but disagrees with them on a number of issues such as child-rearing practices. Although Cairo receives child-care while she attends her classes in the evenings, she lacks the encouragement and social support from her family that she so desires. In Mombasa, Cairo had an underprivileged childhood and this reflected in her interactions with other Isma'llls which led to her sense of isolation and marginalization. In Canada, she has had similar experiences due to issues of class and wealth, and especially as a divorced woman and single parent which has led to her feelings of marginalization. She therefore tries hard to impart a greater sense of equality and opportunity to her daughter. While residing in Kenya, Cairo was extremely enthusiastic about participating in Jamati activities whenever she was invited to partake. "I went to Khane, I was very religious.. ..I was really involved in the community throughout my childhood.. .1 partook in the ceremonies." In addition, Cairo attended religious education classes both in school and at Jama'at Khana on a weekly basis: "I went to religious education classes. We had classes at school. I used to go for that. I used to go for mission class." Cairo says she has not had any problems with the faith itself but rather faces difficulties when "you are trying to involve yourself in religion, that's when there are [problems]... .People in power take over. [They] do not make your partake in religious functions very smooth. They 78 kind of leave a bad taste, let's put it that way." At some point, Cairo volunteered as the administrative secretary for the Isma'TlT Education Board for 3 years. Similar to Khartoum, Cairo presently attends Jama'at Khana once a week and on celebratory occasions, in addition to sending her child to religious education classes once a week. TUNIS Tunis was born in Nairobi, Kenya and came to Canada 7 years ago along with her family who decided to immigrate. Tunis was the youngest participant in this study, she is 24 years old and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Sciences. She makes a comfortable living. She is single with no children. She attends Jama'at Khana once a week under duress from her mother and frequently attends Isma'TlT social events such as the Isma'TlT Partnership Walk and Khushyali celebrations at the PNE. Tunis feels marginalized because of her disability and because she does not dress like the other Isma'TlT women of her age. As her mother points out often, she wishes Tunis could be more like her sister who puts make up, dresses more elegantly, and is actively searching for an Isma'TlT husband. Tunis recalled her upbringing in Kenya when she was quite young, about 10 years old, "we used to go to Khane a lot. My father was not very Isma'TlT oriented so he didn't come to Khane very much. But my mother was very much Isma'TlT oriented, so she would take us to Khane." Tunis recalled her father's influence on her: "my father never stopped us from going, but he always made sure that we had a critical outlook of what the community was all about. So it was not about blind faith, but about questioning a lot of things." As a result, said Tunis "I grew up with a very critical outlook of the Isma'TlT 79 community and even though I went to Khane a lot, it was really hard for me to fit in with the community,.. .1 think there was a lot of dogma." Tunis recalled having a difficult time making Isma'TlT friends "I just didn't' fit. I didn't fit the stereotype... .Especially with my disability, maybe a lot of people didn't know how to treat me or felt uncomfortable or whatever. I don't know." Regarding religious education classes, Tunis said she was forced to attend and commented: "I hated it. I never succeeded in enjoying it or learning anything from it." On further examination Tunis explained: "Because my father did not have so much faith in the Imam and religion class was very Imam-oriented and placed a lot of blind faith, I didn't really connect with that so I didn't go." Due to this philosophical difference, and her disability, Tunis said there was "a lot of judgment" and so she found it difficult to fit in with the other Isma'TlT children and "that was the worst part." Tunis recalled that when she was older, around 15 or 16 she managed to make some Isma'TlT friends that were more understanding, and supportive and with whom she still keeps in touch. Upon arrival to Vancouver and attending University, Tunis said that again she found a number of Isma'TlT friends through her classes or through people she knew who were supportive but she did not fit in with the community in the Jama'at Khanas. She explained that it was difficult to connect with people in that setting and so she generally sought her friendships outside of the Jama'at Khana setting: "I don't fit in with the group. I just find my own friends that are O.K. with me." ISTANBUL Istanbul was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda. She immigrated to Canada at the age of 15. She is presently 45 years old and has lived in Canada for 30 years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and earns a moderate income. Istanbul is single with no children. She reports having no Isma'IlI friends but interacts with her large family that consists of four siblings and their respective spouses and children. Istanbul rarely attends Jama'at Khana and occasionally attends social events such as the celebrations at the PNE and funerals. She outlined a number of philosophical differences she holds with the practice of the religion, and finds many of the tenets of the Isma'IlI faith problematic. Istanbul described her childhood in East Africa and the beginnings of her misgivings with the religion. Noteworthy are her choice of words in the following segment whereby, she reflects her powerlessness in being born an Isma'IlI: "since I was a child, I was sort of commissioned into the Isma'IlI community and religion and I had to go to prayers at school.. .it was part of the curriculum [in the] Aga Khan school [system]." Istanbul commented that she has a number of family members living in Vancouver, that she associates with and that forms the basis of her contact with Isma'llls. She mentioned being especially close to her mother, her father has passed away, and she frequently drops off her mother to Jama'at Khana. DAMASCUS Damascus was born in Kenya and is 40 years old. She came to Canada 21 years ago and has lived in Vancouver for 13 of those years. She is University educated and works as an academic. She is a single woman with no children and lives alone. Damascus enjoys a comfortable lifestyle owning her own apartment. She has one brother and one sister making a total of eight immediate family members living in Vancouver. She feels marginalized from the Isma'IlI community because her family kept her away 81 from other Isma'TlTs during her childhood in Kenya; she attended a school where there were few Isma'TlTs, and at the age of 11, her parents sent her to a boarding school abroad where she had no contact with Isma'TlTs. Her parents felt that interacting with Caucasians would have a better overall influence on Damascus. In addition, Damascus was physically abused by her father: "my entire relationship.. .with any community, Isma'TlT or otherwise had to do with feeling marginalized, feeling [like] an [outsider], because when there is domestic violence.. .it removes you out of the mainstream perception of what life is about." During her University years in Canada, Damascus was Kamadiani of the University Jama'at Khana and was active on committees. At present, she attends the Jama'at Khana minimally; three times a year during the celebratory occasions and approximately two social events a year. Damascus identifies herself as an "un-practicing Isma'TlT" and explained why: "I don't think I stopped being an Isma'TlT because I don't practice. Being an Isma'TlT is much, much more than just a religion, in the same way that being a Muslim is," and explains further, "you don't stop being a Muslim, because it's a way of life. It's about a shared culture among people who are very different. It's an effort to bring people together." Damascus outlined the meaning she has derived from being an Isma'TlT: "To me what Islam means, and being an Isma'TlT is it gave me a strong sense of justice and social responsibility." Participants' Definitions of Discrimination Below are participant's definitions of discrimination. In these definitions, there were elements that were both common and unique to each of the participants. There were 82 also commonalities between their definitions of discrimination, and their perceptions and subsequent examples of discrimination experienced in the community. Tunis: "My definition of discrimination [is] unequal opportunity, judgment, false judgment, not giving a fair opportunity, not giving the same opportunity that you would give to someone else who didn't have that disability. That to me is discrimination, based on anything: gender, sex, disability, whatever." Istanbul: "It's a form of oppression towards people, towards marginalized people. And it could include racism, homophobia, sexism, and other types of discrimination; religious based, ethically based. So they are viewed different from the mainstream and are treated differently because they are not a part of the mainstream." Damascus: "Discrimination is when you put somebody down for who they are. It doesn't have to be conscious. Though it is conscious on a certain level. It's a systemic denial of someone's reality. It's a systemic refusal to accept someone as part of the status quo. Like to alter your sense of what is the norm. To allow certain realities to be centred. It's about putting things 'other.' So whether it's about race or disability or it defines one thing as the norm and everything in opposition to it." Cairo: "I would say, discrimination, coming from my experience or to be a point of your context would be to be discriminated or be kept aside or not [to] be included simply because of [the] class you have been born out of. For which you had no jurisdiction over. 83 You had no control over. You were just brought up to this earth but little did you know, little did I know that once I was on this earth, I thought that we were all free to enjoy all the bounties of the world and people would be treated equally but man himself when they are in power and I witnessed this a lot from my own community, 90% from my community, that discrimination existed more so from my own community at a very young age simply because I was born from a poor family for which I have no control over. And which is very sad. Which shouldn't be existing." Themes: Causes of Discrimination ISMA'ILI IDENTITY: TORN BETWEEN THE ISMA'ILI AND WESTERN WORLDS This theme explores the experience of being an Isma'IlT Muslim that entails believing in a certain faith, possessing certain qualities and values, and being part of a particular culture; while living within and being constantly influenced by a Western way of life and thought (see Figure 1). Living within two cultures while trying to maintain an Isma'IlT Muslim identity can create a state of conflict for some individuals. Women facing such a clash, and women who incorporate aspects that are considered part of 'White' culture can become marginalized in the Isma'IlT community. Marrakesh expounds on her experiences as a woman who is torn between two worlds: the larger Canadian culture and the Isma'IlT culture; her efforts to consolidate the two, and her on-going attachment to the Isma'IlT community despite withdrawal from it I did try at various points, because I am torn,.. .this is a community [Isma'IlT community] that I want to be a part of because the dominant community doesn't understand my placement, they don't understand the cultural background that I come from, the faith that I come from, the nuances of being an Isma'IlT Muslim. [Bold typeface indicates emphasis by interviewee, italics indicates sarcasm; refer to Appendix E on transcription symbols for full description of typeface]. 84 Marrakesh tries to close the gap between the two worlds by participating in other communities, but again she is not able to entirely replace membership and participation in the Jama'at Khana: It's not saying I can't find that [placement] in other communities.. .like I've found in other Indian communities, or other communities of colour but, but there is something specific, and this goes back to,.. .a whole bunch of spiritual things... .1 have a certain faith, I believe I was born into this faith for a reason and so,.. .1 don't want to go into a Catholic church and pray, I want to be able to go into Khane and pray and that prayer may look very different to what everyone else is doing, but I want to be able to use that space because it's familiar, it's comfortable, I have a connection to it. She describes her feelings around attempting to consolidate her two worlds: I very much feel like I live a double life. I very much feel like when I enter this space; I can go to a family fair picnic thing and then suddenly be at a radical women's meeting in the night time. Or, I could be going to Khushyali, and then going to a women's bar and I feel very dis , very pulled. Because those worlds just don't meet at all, and there's no space to be all of me in either of those spaces. Marrakesh describes her attachment to the Isma'TlT faith, the comfort she receives from practicing her faith within the Jama'at Khana setting, and the struggle to maintain the ability to practice her faith and also to be true to herself. I feel I have faith. I feel I'm more spiritual and have faith; not necessarily associated with the whole structure of being Isma'TlT necessarily but there are some elements of the faith I feel attached to: parts of the prayer, or the meditation, or the whatever which I could do on my own but which I feel since I've been born into this faith, there is a space, there is a ritual, there are some things that I like about it, that provide comfort and because I grew up with it, and I'm not willing to totally let go of that. Marrakesh provides an example of how she is caught between her Isma'TlT upbringing and her experiences in the community. I was talking to someone and.. .1 said 'yeah, when I have kids, they're going to be Isma'TlT'.. .it wasn't even a question, it wasn't even like I'm going to let them decide.. .they can decide after if they don't want to be but, but they're going to 85 Khane! I knew if I had a baby, I was going to go and have the whole chanta thing.. .there wasn't even a doubt.. .that's the thing that's very weird about the way you're raised, sometimes you just have these gut reactions, even though you know the damage, the other components that have been very hurtful, the not fitting in, the clickiness. The need to maintain an Indian identity in her family was mentioned by Marrakesh; in particular, the issue of appearance, and the appearance of a woman's hair. "Wanting to cut my hair was a big battle. [It] was a huge, huge, phenomenal battle. Because it was associated to beauty, and fitting in, and being Indian. I mean it was just so big"! When she was young, Marrakesh wanted to be part of the dominant culture as well. The same time as struggling to fit in with the people in Jama'at Khana, she was also torn with wanting to fit in with her friends at school. "I was dealing with stuff at school.. .1 wanted to be like the other girls at school. It was a clash." At the present time, Marrakesh has come to terms with the Isma'IlI community, and the amount of contact she has with other Isma'llls. She does not associate with her peer group within the community except for some of her Isma'IlI friends who are all on the "peripheries [and who] have all been burned by the community in various ways." Regarding her identity, "I don't look at the community for my primary support, but I see them as a primary community." Marrakesh explains that she does not have her emotional support system in the community, neither does she derive validation from the community, but her identity is still that of an Isma'IlI. "Some people when they have problems will go.. .into Khane and ask for support. That's not where I'd go, I would go to family, friends, [and] a community that I've created for myself that's more representative of who I am." In addition, Marrakesh's connection to the community through her family 86 maintains her identity as an Isma'IlT. "Part of my identity is definitely within the Isma'IlI community... .1 can't imagine, there are some people who totally cut off, I can't imagine ever doing that and the reason is probably because of my family background and my parents." In conjunction with the family connection, she feels an historical and cultural connection to the community. "There is a connection [of] people knowing where you come from, people seeing you grow up, the [common] language,... [and] some level of community sharing that's really great." Marrakesh explains what she means by community sharing. Recently she attended an outdoor community event where volunteers had prepared the entire meal, which is often the case in many communal gatherings, and Marrakesh was in "awe." She thought: "this is really neat. Look how organized we are,.. .this is really great" but at the same time, she says, "although it was really great, I was basically hanging out with my mom and dad's friends, which was fun, but... .1 felt very much on the periphery much more than I ever, before." Khartoum describes her experience of not fitting into either the dominant culture, which she experienced through her school, or into the Isma'IlI world. I didn't fit in at school, for a variety of reasons. Mostly because women of my age group and probably before that, we had a very Victorian upbringing which didn't jive with 1970's North America. (Laughs). I mean, I would read Victorian novels like Jane Eire and Pride and Prejudice, and I fully expected my life to be like that because it totally resonated with how I was being raised. There is this really strong kind of class structure. There's do's and don'ts. There is like the propriety of society and how one should behave. And at some point you will have to marry but it's not necessarily for love.. .but I fully expected to be marrying somebody who was like 15 years older than me. Khartoum continues that because of her Victorian upbringing, she had "cognitive dissonance; 1970s North America; they have just come through the Vietnam War, and 87 the Peace Movement and the whole 60s sexual revolution. Yaa, I'm a little out of place here! So Ididn't fit in that. I couldn't." Khartoum sums up: "there [are] a lot of things about how we were raised that make it real hard to have friendships outside of the community." Although she attended the Jama'at Khana regularly upon arrival to Canada, and found it to be an invaluable social support in combating stressors related to racism in the dominant culture, she still found that she did not entirely fit in the Isma'TlT culture. I felt that I belonged because I was hanging out with other people who were also being raised in this very Victorian way. So there was a cultural resonance there and it all made sense, but yet even within that I felt like I don't really belong here either. That I don't really belong in Victorian society or whatever you want to call it (laughs) because I do have other ideas and other thoughts that don't have a place here. Khartoum described how she has made certain adjustments in her thinking and expectations of both the Isma'TlT and Caucasian communities. According to Khartoum, there is a particular frame of reference that many Isma'TlTs tend to use. People behave according to how they imagine their behaviour will be interpreted and received by other Isma'TlTs, and Khartoum says she has shifted from such an external frame of reference of the community to an internal frame of reference. "Coming from a framework of 'don't do this because of what such and such will say' to move from that to 'do this because it's the right thing for you' is a big shift." However, this "shift" has not been easy: "I've fought really hard to be able to do that." Khartoum concludes that changing her frame of reference has not only been useful within the Isma'TlT domain but also within the larger community: I felt a need to move from.. .thinking in terms of.. .how other people will react to [me].. .to thinking about how I'm reacting to other people. And this... [is] within the community, but it's also within the greater society, from the race 88 perspective.. .So I feel I've been dealing with those two issues in tandem in the two parts of my life. I feel I've done a lot of healing work around that because.. .there is a kind of exclusion there and I have decided that I really don't want to go to the rich people's parties [in the Isma'TlT community]. But I'm not really 100 % sure that I don't want to go to the White people's party. Khartoum described her experience at the present time as having one foot in the community, and one foot out. An illustration of this is although she sends her children to Bait-ul Tim every Saturday, she said "I don't really get too involved.. .because it makes me crazy. I started going to the parent/education things and they... [made] me nuts. The values that were being discussed were not my values. So I stopped going to those." Another aspect she has incorporated into her life and the lives of her children is that Khartoum has built a community of her own within her neighbourhood. She describes her neighbourhood... This is the largest consuming neighbourhood of Globe and Mail, and it's because in this neighbourhood are a bunch of intellectuals, that's just one of the demographics, but there are a lot of people living here who are heavily educated, who have made the choice not to live on the West End and pursue that kind of lifestyle. And they're in the arts, they're musicians,.. .in High Tech, in film, all kinds of really interesting people in this neighbourhood. .. .the diversity of people she encounters, and the reason for having chosen to live in this particular community including the feeling of inclusiveness: And then you get first generation immigrants who are trying to scrape enough money to move to a suburb. And then you have people who have been here for a generation or two, their families have lived in this neighbourhood. And you get people who are from every different race you can possibly imagine. That's one of the reasons I live here because I actually feel at home in this neighbourhood. I can walk down the street and not worry about what I look like. I will meet almost everyday.. .someone I know. So I really have a sense of community. This is my feet 'out' of the Isma'TlT community. I belong to [this] community. My kids have a sense that this is their street. We know people, we know the people who run the stores....It really feels like I'm at home here. 89 Similar to Marrakesh, however, Khartoum finds that not all aspects of her Isma'IlT identity can be replaced by the community that she has created for herself. "In terms of my life outside of the community, it's very rich, it's very layered, and it's very fulfilling. But there is that piece missing, that kind of cultural.. .piece is missing. And that's the part that I go back for." Khartoum continues that she does not go to the Jama'at Khana to fulfill her communal needs or the need to belong but rather for some of her spiritual needs. "When I go there, it's to re-connect with the spiritual side,...[the] essential, foundational, spiritual stuff. So when I'm feeling a bit rudderless, I go there, I touch base, I say 'O.K., I'm on track.' I go to feel the space." Probing further into what aspect of the religious ceremony attracted Khartoum to return to the Jama'at Khana, she said: "The Ginans. Not much else. The Ginans, and sometimes the tasbihs. It's the melody, which itself is a piece of art." Khartoum elaborates on the effect of these religious ceremonies: "I feel moved. I feel there is movement in my heart when I am listening to the Ginan.. .like an energy shift." Khartoum is quick to qualify however: I am not transformed! [But] I do feel a sense of peace and connectedness to a spiritual ethos, and to other people who are sharing that ethos. And we may not all be on the same level or wavelength, but we are there sharing it. We don't necessarily have to talk about it either. In addition to the spiritual aspect, and sharing this aspect with others of similar beliefs, Khartoum attends services at the Jama'at Khana to instill a sense of religious and ethnic identity in her children: The other reason I go there is so that my kids have a sense of who they are, who their people are, and where they come from... .meritocracy be damned, this is the kind of stuff [that's] going to pull them through.. .the first time they get called a racist name.. .1 want them to have a sense of 'this is who I am,' 'these are who your people are, this is what we've been through, this is what's happened.' 90 As an example, in order to inspire a cultural and religious identity in her children, Khartoum brings Islamic history to life. Her son built a man with his Lego "and he says, 'that one mom, that one's Ibn Rushd....' That's what I need to do is to create for them, their culture, in a lived experience kind of way. Not a fossilized, anthropological study." When asked how Khartoum feels about the present status of her relationship with the community she replied that she was content because: "I feel right now for the first time in a long time that I'm at peace, I'm not riled up and feeling excluded. I'm not feeling that there's no place for me there." She adds, "I can find my own way to contribute. And if it's recognized and accepted fine. If it's not, then it's not my time to contribute. I'll contribute later [but] it's been a 30 year long journey" for Khartoum to arrive at this understanding. Cairo, has had a positive experience in Canada since arriving to Vancouver in the early 90s and not having attended school in this country. She enjoys volunteering at the Downtown Eastside "where all the people are at street level... .There is a lot of support [and] a lot of nurturing." Working with other Canadians, she feels respected and her work valued. "I've had the good opportunity to mix with different organizations outside of my community, and I've been received very well.. .I've been treated as an equal." Cairo wishes she could be treated similarly in the Isma'IlI community. In fact, Cairo has come to the conclusion that volunteering in the dominant sector would be more rewarding, productive, and less about power struggles. "Whatever I do for my community, it won't be validated. They will not have any faith in me so I go out there and help the mainstream community." Cairo values working in a voluntary 91 capacity as a means of giving back to society. "I have a sincere desire to have an impact on people's lives....And basically the mainstream commimity really values that." As an example, Cairo says she is a financial planner and volunteered with Revenue Canada to help low income families with their tax returns. Cairo reiterates that she assisted low income individuals of the mainstream community, not the Isma'IlT community and then adds: "I love working with people... .1 would like to help my community [that] I was born [into], but.. .1 do not fit in... .Especially now that I am a single mom, they don't want me there." Cairo explains that she does not fit in because, similar to the other participants, she does not fit a certain profile, and "pre-conceived notions" that the community holds such as having a Ph D, "driving a fancy car," owning a home, or being a family. Rather than wasting my time to make them understand that I have a lot of qualities and skills that I could share, it would take me a lot of time.. ..and the net result would be zero. So why not spend that energy outside in the mainstream that also needs my help and are willing to take it. In addition to volunteer work, Cairo described a number of Isma'IlT employers whom she has worked for in the past both in Kenya and Canada. She described a wonderful opportunity in Nairobi with Jubilee Insurance, an Isma'IlT Institution. According to Cairo, her immediate supervisor saw her potential and assisted her. That job, says Cairo, "was a turning point in my life because I was the only female assistant accountant. And I was the youngest one, and I had nine people working under me." Unfortunately, Cairo has not had the same response and recognition of her qualifications in the numerous positions she has held with Isma'IlT employers in Canada, and has come to the following conclusion: "I will never work for an Isma'IlI person in a job." In one instance, Cairo was solicited in a job interview: "One Isma'IlT employer I went to... [said] 'well, if you are prepared to be my mistress then I will hire you.'" Cairo outlines her misgivings in employment with Isma'TlTs: They don't give credit where it is due. They don't recognize you as an individual. They don't [recognize] your skills.. ..And they have high expectations. They expect a lot of voluntary work. Unpaid. And if in the same token they had a non-Isma'lH person [working for them], they would give them a lot of respect. [But] they take you for granted. So I will never, ever work.. .for an Isma'TlT. No! Tunis stated that she likes the fact that the doors of the Jama'at Khana are open every evening and services are held everyday. This allows her to go whenever she wants: When I need that support, when I need that community feeling, when I feel lonely, I go. And [it] helps me feel better.. ..If I want to, I can pray and that brings that community feeling. It's a really good community feeling to have. To know that if I need to go, and if I want to go, I can go. And nobody is going to judge me for that. That's what I really like." Istanbul related the story of her brother who is married to a Jewish Canadian woman as an example of exclusion in the community. However, one can also see a sense of compromise in this example. Istanbul noted that when they wanted to initiate their children into the Isma'TlT faith, the mother could not enter the Jama'at Khana for the chanta ceremony. Istanbul said that this angered both herself and her brother a great deal. However, compensation was made: "my brother was very angry and I think he talked to the MukhT and they moved the whole thing elsewhere so that she could be present. But it wasn't in Khane, they found another place." At the present time, Istanbul says her brother's two children have been brought up both in the Isma'TlT Muslim faith and the Jewish faith, and they attend both Jama'at Khana and the Synagogue. 93 This theme of Isma'IlT Identity explored the conflict some women face living in two cultures. This can lead to marginalization both in the Isma'IlT world and the Western world. Marrakesh felt "pulled" and perhaps "disjointed" because the two worlds "don't meet at all." Khartoum noted how she has one foot in the Isma'IlT world and one in the dominant culture. In spite of this conflict, Marrakesh, Khartoum, Cairo, and Tunis felt a connection to the Isma'IlT faith and community, and all of the participants felt they were "Isma'IlT" and were proud to be identified as such. Above all, Marrakesh, Cairo, and Khartoum expressed a strong connection to the faith, and the spiritual aspect of the religion. Khartoum eloquently expressed changes she has made in her life to be true to herself, and to navigate both cultures. According to Khartoum, there is a particular frame of reference that many Isma'llls tend to use. People behave according to how they imagine their behaviour would be interpreted and received by other Isma'llls, and Khartoum says she has shifted from such an external frame of reference to an internal frame of reference. She has built a community in her neighbourhood for herself, and her family, and tries to instill in her children a sense of their cultural, and historical past as well as their Muslim identity. Cairo described her reluctance to work with Isma'Tlis given her past experiences. EXPECTATIONS OF ISMA'ILI WOMEN BASED ON GENDER ROLES This theme entails the experiences of the participants as well as deductions based on their personal observations of what is generally expected of Isma'IlT women because of their gender (see Figure 2). Within this theme are issues related to leadership roles for women, and male-female relationships including marriage and sex, body image, and 94 homosexuality. All of the women in this study felt discriminated against, and as a consequence marginalized in the Isma'TlT community because of their gender. Marrakesh gave an account of an incident when she was involved in a community project, the messages she received, and her expected role as an Isma'TlT woman: I found out very early, I think I was about 15,... at that point I had been doing a lot of other kinds of community work outside of the Isma'TlT community and I went in,.. .1 was asked to talk about how I felt about a project, and I was asked my opinion and I said things around how I felt and how I felt it could be changed, and.. .1 was quickly labelled. I was labelled a 'difficult woman'.. .one man called me 'a bitch' and they thought I was aggressive. While working with men on this project, Marrakesh noticed that "the men would be talked to very differently, and given a lot of respect." However, when she spoke, her experiences were invalidated. From this incident, Marrakesh deduced that she could not afford to be herself, or at least not in the way that she is permitted to behave in the larger Canadian society. From this and other similar incidents, Marrakesh drew other conclusions regarding the community as well: "If you are a woman in the community, you are allowed to be strong in a very polite, in a very conservative,.. .professional, and appropriate, and proper, and look the right way, but [you] can't fully challenge the structure." Even if someone wanted to challenge the structure adds Marrakesh, there is a barricade of paperwork to overcome, and a "very good bureaucracy within the community to keep you from challenging." Marrakesh sums up her interactions with the community from a woman's perspective: If you're a woman, and you're a strong woman in the community, there is no place for you. If you're a critical, strong woman in the community that challenges the community, challenges the structures, speaks out,...goes public, wants to bring things from the outside into this little insular world, then there's no room for you. And in fact, you are very managed. 95 Regarding leadership, Marrakesh emphasizes that that role is reserved for men, a woman "could never ever imagine having leadership, real leadership." What Marrakesh finds most "frustrating" is that the community claims to have equality for women but in reality the Isma'IlT community is no different than the larger Canadian society. "We just.. .replicate certain roles, which you get out in the mainstream, it's not unusual for this community but, as a community we say it's different,.. .WE SAY that the women in our community have leadership." An example of this, as pointed out by Marrakesh, is the fact that the only way to become the Mukhlyani or Kamadiani in most Jama'at Khanas, is to be married to a man, who subsequently take on the roles of the Mukhlsaeb and Kamadiasaeb, respectively. The exceptions are in certain gatherings for women only (Huzur Panje Bhenu majalis), in rural or suburban Jama'at Khanas where the Jamat (congregation) is relatively small, in which cases the Mukhlyani and Kamadiani may not be married to the Mukhi or Kamadia respectively, and in University Jama'at Khanas where students are single. Istanbul noted that the Muhki is "given more importance than the women, the muhkiyani," and that this was patriarchical and therefore discriminatory. As an example, Marrakesh provides a vignette of unacceptable behaviour for a woman. She knows of individuals who would like to move out of the family home and live on their own while remaining in Vancouver as Marrakesh does. However, this is not acceptable behaviour for an Isma'IlI woman so instead, an excuse such as having to go away to university in order to establish a sense of independence and maturity is fabricated. You have to go away, you have to say 'I'm going to McGill 'cause I want to study at McGill 'cause it's a great school,' so suddenly hundreds and thousands of Isma'Tlis fare going to] McGill... It's like 'yaa, McGill is so far away from your 96 parents that you would love to do that because you can't say to your parents 'you know what mom and dad, I'm tired of living at home and actually I'd like to live alone. I'd like to go to UBC and I'd like to go and just live on my own. And not live at home anymore'. Moving out of the family home while still remaining in the same township is considered unacceptable for women, because it has certain implications, according to Marrakesh. "It implies that you are sexual, it implies that you are never going to get married, it implies that there [are] problems [in] your home, it implies a whole bunch of stuff." In regards to the power dynamics between men and women, Marrakesh has found the following in her experiences with the community: "I don't think there's an equal sharing of power with men.. .like all other communities, our community is just as patriarchal as European communities." How this inequality "gets played out" in relationships however, is according to Marrakesh, "very interesting." First, because "book smarts are very, very valuable in the community, but actual life education is not." One can find a number of so-called 'career' women but they are not necessarily working towards social change. And women are encouraged to get their education "as long as when they get their degrees, they don't radically change." Second, marital relationships between women and men involve a domination, either the man or the woman over the other: Being with a man doesn't mean that you have to be overshadowed by the man, nor does it mean you have to dominate the man. But, very rarely have I seen confident, strong Isma'TlT women. And yet, they're professional, they're very professional, and they're very proper, and appropriate, and they look right. But, they're not really strong women; they're not women that I consider strong women who want to go out and change the world. Or who want to go out and even change themselves, or who even know what they want. In exploring the power relationship between the genders on a broader scale, Marrakesh claims that she has difficulty with most organized religions because generally 97 speaking the five major religions "have a second status of women, they're patriarchal in their construction, and there's an oppression around them." Therefore, it becomes problematic when that oppression is "played out." For example, organized religions allot a role, "particularly for women that's founded only within very biological, nurturing ways, that's their only role, to support the family unit." And although this is a significant role it can also be a limiting role and therefore oppressive, says Marrakesh, because it is women in all communities but especially in the Isma'IlT community, who are the bearers of the cultural information because they "pass on death rituals, birth rituals, rituals of all sorts, medical remedies [and so on]." Also, as is the case in most religions the same is true within the Isma'IlT faith, the women make up the majority of the administrators of the organization, and the "people up in the power positions are men, people in the council are men, [and it's a] very male dominated" organization. The oppression lies in the fact that women are simply not represented in the higher decision making positions in the council, given their large numbers in the general JamatI population, and therefore women's point of view is going to be less included. Also part of this theme are issues related to body image. Marrakesh has made observations of discrimination based on body size, body image, and dress. She also alludes to the concept of discrimination based on skin shade known as colorism:1 There's no talk about body image. I can be in Khane and see women who are basically on the verge of anorexia, and people are praising them. People in the community are saying 'you look lovely' you know, 'you look lovely that you're dying. And if you're a bigger girl in the community, it's like hell.. .It's not a community that's body size friendly. You have to look a certain way. And if you don't look a certain way, if you're not thin, if you're not fair, and you don't dress well, you're even further ostracized. 1 For a full description of colorism refer to Johnson-Bailey, J & Cervero, R. M. (1996). 98 Similar to Marrakesh, Khartoum says that being a strong, outspoken woman was not desirable: "I felt excluded when we would have our disco parties in the 70s and the guys wouldn't want to dance with me because I talk too much." Although Khartoum says that she is at peace now with gender discrimination, growing up she was "very angry" because her brothers were treated differently: "I had to do housework, they didn't.. .1 wasn't allowed to go out on my own unless I was with them. It was like a constant situation of being chaperoned, like some kind of prize cow." Khartoum provides a "prime example" of why she thinks she did not fit in because of not fulfilling the expected role of a female according to Isma'TlT traditions. When she was 19 years old, she was dating a man and although he was a "nice guy," he was "not very bright." As expected, Khartoum says, "I got to a point where I hit the wall with the relationship because I have a mind that moves like a train and I need to have in a life partner somebody who thinks the way I do in the sense of being intellectually engaged." Khartoum adds that he was not her main focus: "it was entertaining but it was the side program. It was kind of a distraction for a time being, it was part of like rights of passage." She was more concerned with what she wanted to do with her life, her future goals and aspirations and her career were more of a priority. Meanwhile, explains Khartoum: "my friends, they were going to school but their priority was not to be at school. Their priority was to find husbands." So when Khartoum decided to break off the relationship 2 years later, her friends could not understand why: "So I broke up with him at 21. He stalked me for some time period which was very fun. When we were going through this stalking period, he was talking to my friends to convince me to take him back." Khartoum says that her friends were no 99 longer her friends because they were "advocating for him," and did not realize that other things were a priority for her. She wondered: "are you my friends or his friends? What's your priority? And their priority was pleasing men. Because they wanted husbands." Her friends could not understand why Khartoum was rejecting a man that was begging to be with her. Due to this incident, Khartoum did not speak to these individuals for approximately 10 years. In addition, Khartoum offered this incident as an example of how women who have "so little power, fight over whatever bones and scraps they get." Her friends did not support her, "their fellow woman," instead they chose to stand by the man: "I think that women do that in our community. They are so ready to stab the sister. Stab your sister! Don't go after the assholes making up the rules, no, stab your sister... .1 think that happens a lot." Khartoum provides another example of "where women are killing women." She says that especially in her mother's generation, women had to ask their husbands "for permission to do every bloody thing" including having "to take on his name." So when it came to her marriage, Khartoum had to decide whether to take on her husband's name or keep her maiden name. Her husband refused flat out to hyphenate or change his name in any way: At that time, I was not going to change my name,... .the house is full of people and this big discussion ensued about my name and whether or not I should change it. All the women lined up and said: 'oh no, you should bend! You should bend and change your name because if you don't they're going to treat you like shit, and you'll have a horrible in-law experience. And this is what you have to do to survive. Bend! bend! Khartoum used this scenario to illustrate how women get "locked" in their roles in order to survive and are not able to think of new solutions: "All the new slaves came to 100 master's plantation and then they had a talk with the ones that had been there and they were taught the ropes on how to survive. This is a survivor's conversation." In this situation, Khartoum did not believe that the women in her family were trying to undermine her, she felt they were on her side "they [were] thinking about what would be best for me, but not about how the world sucks." According to Khartoum, over generations, women have learned that they have less power, that they are unable to change their circumstances, and so they have developed ways in which to navigate their circumstances in order to survive. So they're having this fight and.. .I'm at the dinner table.. .and they are standing up, around the dinner table, they're fighting over my head. 'Oh my God! What will happen? She can't do this. It's terrible. And then my uncle who has been sitting in the corner, listening to this whole conversation, not saying a word. He finally says: 'well, you know, our mother never used her married name.' And they were all silent and they all sat down. So it was like nani ma came from the grave to say 'it's O.K. dhikri (daughter). Go do it.' Khartoum discussed some of the dynamics that can occur within Isma'TlT families related to gender and concluded with an example of her own family. First, describing relations with men, Khartoum says: "I wasn't happy about the fact that our men are socialized to be emotionally distant. It's a lot of work.. .to connect with a man, to cross all those barriers and boundaries that they have." Khartoum delineates the possible dynamics for her experience with Isma'TlT men: Boys in our culture are really pampered by their mothers.. .to a point that's unhealthy. Mother's married to father, father is emotionally distant, mother puts all, of everything into son... .There is this weird sexualizing thing. The son is the replacement for this emotional distance. It's this weird triangulation and it happens in many, many, many families. She doesn't get emotional intimacy from her husband.. .so she gets that from her son, as a replacement thing. And it's just like this continuous ripple. 101 Khartoum adds that in order for women marrying today to establish emotional intimacy, and strong bonds with their husbands, the man has to "sever the [unhealthy] tie" (described above) but "it's a very difficult process. There are many, many men who can't do that." When this bond is not severed, the parents continue to "interfere" in their children's' lives, and marriages, and the triangulation continues. This in turn can lead to a vicious circle of jealousy between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law because the mother-in-law feels as though the wife has taken away her "emotional intimate link." Khartoum sums up the mother-in-law's relationship to her son: "Nobody is good enough for my son, and my son is my everything, because actually my husband is supposed to be my everything, but he's just not available so i put it all [in him]. It's a very dysfunctional thing we do." Khartoum conveyed that her mother, who had an arranged marriage, and who did not want Khartoum to "suffer the way she had suffered" now has a better relationship with her husband: Because after the triangulation thing got itself sorted out they actually have a relationship that they like. They like each other. And they didn't really have a chance to find that out before. But now they've had this opportunity to actually build a relationship. Which is what I think people should have the chance to do before they sign the contract. Her parents did not decide on building their relationship on their own accord however. Khartoum says it was a "two way street" because first Khartoum let her parents know that she was married, she established her boundary with them, and in turn, they began to discover things they liked to do with their newly acquired free time. "We could have pulled away and they could have kept interfering but that's not what they chose to do." Instead says Khartoum, "they chose to say, you have your life, now we have ours. It's 102 going to be hard but we are going to make our life... .People have a choice. It's not a cultural inevitability." In fact, concludes Khartoum, her parents have come to enjoy their independence and now no longer look forward to moving in with their children: "my parents [now say] 'what can we do to remain independent for as long as possible because living with these people is going to drive us crazy." A second type of "dysfunctional behaviour" according to Khartoum, that can occur in Isma'IlI families is pointed out by her as reason for some of the divorces she has seen among her friends, and as a possible cause for the triangulation noted above: We raise our children in this very dysfunctional kind of way because we don't let them go. Psychologically, we are geared to hold onto them forever.. .they start their families in very close proximity, the nest next door... .And then we're going to grow old, and they're going to look after us. So we don't actually let them go. We don't let our children establish their own families and their own lives, separate from ours because if they have a life that's separate from ours then it means that we will have to have a life of our own. Which means that we will have to confront ourselves and actually face who we are. Following is Cairo's account of sexism or expectations of her based on her gender. She provides examples of oppression at the hands of her father which she takes to heart: "I love him very much because he is my dad but at the same time I just think he is another Isma'IlI man who has high expectations." She adds: "I am very many times downtrodden by my own dad. Even till today, [especially] when he says that [I am] a total loser in life." Cairo recalls: I remember there was one Christmas party and I ran for about 25 minutes, I wanted to go with my dad to this Christmas party and he did not take me simply because.. .1 was a girl. By my own father!....But he took my cousin who.. .had mental problems. He took him because he was a boy... .So it's not been an easy life so far [crying]. When I look back 35 years, it's just been a struggle [crying]. Istanbul offers her observations of the role of women: 103 Women are generally looked as not really equal to men. Women are expected to have certain rules, like being homemakers and cooking, being domestic. If women try to be something different they are ostracized, and they are not readily accepted in the community. There is a certain mold that women have to fit into... [there is] the expectation of being married, and conducting yourself in certain manners. Sexuality This sub-theme explores participants' sexual relationship with men, and how sexuality is managed in the community. Marrakesh describes her early relationships with men. She says it was hard for her throughout her early to late teen years because she used to have a lot of male friends from different races and her parents did not approve. She continues that her parents were very "happy when the first person I ever dated was a 'nice IsmaTii boy,' who (laughs) wasn't very nice.. .but after that I wasn't dating IsmaTii boys, not consciously, but the other thing was I'd never fit in. [It] was very clear." By her late teens, she had come to some conclusions: At a very early age, I knew I would never be with an IsmaTii man.. .because I would look around and my experiences with IsmaTii men were not good. There are some very kind men, very, very good men, I think they're very few and far between. I don't think that's just because they're IsmaTii, I think that's just generally. There's very few men who are socialized to accept and embrace strong women. Once again, Marrakesh shows how not fitting in manifests in personal relationships. There were some men there [prospects in the community] but I didn't fit in and I couldn't play the game. I'm not a quiet person, I'm not a person who likes to be told what to do, I don't like my freedoms infringed upon. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm not traditional because in fact, I feel I'm very traditional. Marrakesh explores the issue of silence around discussing premarital sex and the contradictory messages one has to reconcile on one's own. Marrakesh recalls that as a teenager premarital sex was usually not talked about but "when it was, it came up as a 104 religious education class for older teens and the teacher said 'well we don't have to worry about that topic because Isma'Tlis don't have premarital sex,' and a missionary was saying that." Meanwhile, Marrakesh says she used to hear stories of young couples dating and "making out when their parents went to Khane, or doing stuff." Marrakesh illustrates the silence that surrounds the issue of sexuality, and the sense she has of the community based on what she has heard from her family and close friends. There's adultery happening all over the place; there are [married] men making passes at women in the community who are single; there are women who are single who are celibate who don't engage in sexual activity at all. None of it is talked about. There are men in the community going to sex trade workers, where is that talked about, at all? Sexuality as a topic is not addressed, we won't even talk about safe sex in the community. Khartoum portrays her experiences with men and sexuality. From a young age when she could understand relationships, her mother gave Khartoum the freedom to choose her partner by saying to her: "I will never put you in an arranged marriage situation. You go ahead and make your choice." Although Khartoum's mother had some reservations as dating had not been her experience, and the "chance elements, the possibilities of what might go wrong, really freaked her out," she was adamant that Khartoum not "suffer what [she had] suffered" and endure what she had endured in her own arranged marriage. In Khartoum's experience, "almost every woman of my mother's generation has ugly extended family stories. The whole culture of manipulation and all of that stuff that happens within that close quartered extended family thing." For this reason, her mother wanted to make sure that Khartoum had choices, something that she had been deprived of. "She recognized that having no choice was more painful than having choice." 105 Khartoum expounded that although she had this eventual freedom, it was not an easy task in practical terms. She was taught early on to stay away from boys and men and so when the time came to date them it was a daunting task. "We are not really taught how to have friendships with boys or men," and so "when you actually start a friendship with a male, you have no idea where are the boundaries and what you are supposed to do and how do you behave like a friend." Khartoum says she was socialized to fear men and the messages she received were: "Don't talk to him or your name will go bad (taru naam kharab tai jasee), or your whole reputation, then who will marry you? Like from the age of 8, like who gives a shit?" Khartoum states that even though she was taught this diktat, in actuality "it is a lie". Khartoum commented that the purpose of the socialization she received was to keep young women such as herself from being sexual but instead "it teaches us in a very backhanded way (because it's really trying to keep us away from being sexualized), but it actually pushes us towards being sexualized far earlier than other people." The reason this happens is because the "relationship with the opposite sex is characterized in this sexualized way. Because it's forbidden. We are not supposed to. So it's characterized that way." Therefore, in Khartoum's experience, it became difficult to know how to interact with men: "because the only thing I know with men who are not in your family is everything is sexual. So you are actually teaching, we are actually taught to behave in a sexualized manner with men who are not part of the family." This affected Khartoum's relationship with her future husband: "We are not taught how to cultivate friendships. So for me it took a long time to figure out how to do that. How to have male friends who are not my family." 106 This type of socialization, says Khartoum prevents individuals from "cultivating a friendship, and really getting to know somebody and seeing if you are really compatible.. .working things out before you actually sign your name on the contract." And it was for this reason, that she decided to live with her husband prior to marriage. This was only possible, notes Khartoum, because they were living away from Vancouver, for their studies. Khartoum says when her mother visited them, she was shocked but "she got over it" and in fact, was proud to see her daughter being independent, making her own choices, and following a career path of her liking and choosing. Cairo described her experience with men. She is disenchanted with the Isma'IlT men in her life, first, her father, an alcoholic who neglected her, second, an Isma'IlT neighbour who assaulted her, and third, her husband who abused her. My next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman and because I was not getting any [affection at home, and] I could not play with any friends, Isma'IlT friends, I was then going and playing in his yard.. .he had swings there.. .And at one point, he befriended me and raped me at a very young age. Cairo mentions a number of times that playing on the swings was important to her, without realizing the potential hazards: "I thought this gentleman was good enough to let me play on the swings and was feeling happy that somebody was giving me due attention not knowing what hidden agenda or intentions he had. It was very, very disturbing." He asked me to come inside and he started from an occasional hug... .1 just initially trusted this man so much like my grandfather that he is just giving me a hug... .But then when it went to the extreme.. .he started removing my panties and all that and yet I was totally shocked that how come this is happening to me. What is this man up to? And I was just a small girl at that point, just wanting to play on swings. 107 Cairo confided in her mother about the incident and she completely believed and supported Cairo. "She believed me, there was no question about that. She was very upset about it. Terribly upset that somebody belonging to our own clan can do this." Cairo's mother also confronted the man but "he totally denied it." Cairo describes the effect of the assault: "I felt very scared of going out again... .And from that time on, I never went out. I was always stuck inside and then I developed other interests being at home and playing with my mom's clothes and all that." In addition, Cairo described the anger and disbelief she felt towards the man: "I felt very angry. I felt violated that I was not comfortable him touching me. Why did he do that?.. .1 was totally shocked....And the fact of the matter was that I trusted him. And that trust, he abused." Cairo expounds on the effect the rape had on her outlook of the community, and underlines the disbelief of such an assault from within the community. This done by an IsmaTii man who I looked up [to] as a grandfather, and so I had a lot of frustration in me.. .1 was not being accepted by my own group of people that I was born into... .1 had right then ruled myself that I am going into the world a total loser, in the sense that I have got nowhere with my own people. So that's how I felt whilst growing up. Cairo describes the long-term effect of the rape. "It has left a big impact on me.. .till today, I would say that yes I can have a conversation with a man. That's not a problem." But notes Cairo, "as far as sexual activity is concerned, I am very leery... .1 keep myself very busy so I don't even think about entering into anything like that." Next, Cairo described her relationship with her husband. She trusted her marriage would be a positive and nurturing union. Unfortunately, this would be one more disappointment for Cairo. For example, she described her desire to create a positive 108 sexual experience for herself and her mate and to create a sense of intimacy between them: When I met my husband, my first man in my life, I thought I would be able to go ahead and address that area [after the rape]. I guess in my relationship with my husband, I was very hopeful and I was buying his love so we would only make love when he wanted to relieve himself, not when I wanted to, so it wasn't fair play either... .And it would be just a two, three second thing and it would be done and over with... .There definitely was a big void there. There was every excuse from the book and so again I felt inferior... .1 was very hopeful that this is the man of my life, I would live with him for the rest of my life, being very hopeful. I had a child with him. Cairo noted that she decided to marry an Isma'IlI man and to remain in the Isma'IlI community but she paid a price for her choice: "That was another choice I made to marry an Isma'IlI man... .The more I involve myself with Isma'llls, men or women, I am taking two steps back in the sense that my self-esteem whilst with my husband was totally eroded. Totally!" Cairo says she had an opportunity to date a Caucasian man but refused his offer: "I had people interested in me who are not Isma'llls but because I felt that.. .marrying an Isma'IlI man, marrying and living in an Isma'IlI household, that would make me part of the community. Make me still be within the community." Unfortunately, says Cairo, "there is a good price I paid. Seven years of total mental anguish. A lot of physical, verbal, [and] emotional abuse in my life that I really did not qualify for. Cairo described the abuse she faced in her marriage. She mentions isolating herself from her sisters and parents because her husband did not approve of any contact with them. "There had been numerous times that he has hit me. But the major ones were these ones." The first incidence of violence occurred on her birthday. Cairo and her husband had married in September and her birthday was in November. "On my 25th 109 birthday, my sister came to visit me [at my home] which is a tradition in our household.. .we either take a cake or presents for our siblings... Just after she left, he hit me so badly." The reason her husband gave for the assault was that her sister came to their residence, and moreover, that she had done so without calling first and asking for permission. He exclaimed "this is my house!" Cairo tried to explain to him that her siblings had done this every year because they loved one another, and because when they were younger they had shared everything together: "She is my sister, we love each other, and out of abject poverty,.. .when we got one sweet we made three parts of it and we all shared it. That's how much love there was when we were growing up." Regrettably says Cairo, her husband was an only child, he did not understand the idea of "sharing and caring" and more importantly, he was afraid that Cairo would be "influenced" negatively and that is when the violence began. "I assured him that I would not do anything to his detriment. On the contrary I wanted to start a life with him. My siblings, I do love them, but he came first. I couldn't convince him [of that]." The second major incident related by Cairo was when they were moving and Cairo's sister had brought an open van to help them move. It started to rain and the van only had a tarpaulin cover and so Cairo's husband felt that "his furniture, our furniture" would be damaged and so he began "swearing at her so badly." The sister completed the move but after that incident did not want any contact with him. The third major incident was when Cairo was pregnant. Around the time of her due date, Cairo recalls being in "terrible pain" and so her mother asked if she could come to her house to help her. Cairo agreed. Her sister, who had come to drop her off, suggested that their mother sleep on the couch overnight in case Cairo needed anything in 110 the middle of the night. Upon hearing this, Cairo's husband threatened to call the police. "To make peace in the house I told my mom and sister to just go home. I had to again take sides with my husband. I was caught in-between. I was suffering. I could not make my husband understand." For the delivery itself, Cairo was admitted to St. Paul's Hospital for an emergency C-Section: "she just didn't want to come out, the water bag had broken, and her pulse rate had gone down so they had to resort to a C-Section." After Cairo delivered, her husband called his parents in Kenya to give them the good news but did not bother to inform Cairo's mother who was searching for her in the hospital: "So I felt very, very sad at that point." Later, that same day when Cairo's sister came to visit her in the hospital, Cairo had suicidal thoughts: She came there. My husband left the room, she was there only 10 or 15 minutes, but after she left... .1 was still in tubes. I had tubes through the nose, I was urinating through tubes and I was totally helpless.. .and at that time in the hospital he started hitting me. "Why did your sister come to visit you?" That was the highlight of my life. [Crying] Here I had delivered. I just looked at my baby which was next to me and I wanted to jump out of that window but I felt that my baby; Nobody would be there to take care of her and yet we had taken vows that come hell or high water we would be together and here I was in a totally terrible state. Cairo tries to understand her experiences and the actions of her ex-husband: [It is] something that is beyond my control. If she comes to visit in a public place, not even in my home. And yet from all these experiences, I always pulled up the courage to say forget and forgive. Forget and forgive, but you cannot forget [crying]. You may forgive them for that moment and you move on but... .1 just sometimes think, will the sun ever shine in my life? Or very many times I have thought of going to a very far, far place where there are no Isma'llls, where there are no people who I know, and starting life all over again. Cairo asserts that it is due to her faith that she has managed to cope thus far but that too can become arduous at times: "I have so much faith in the Lord upstairs. He is there to guide me.. .1 say, 'maybe there is a lesson to be learned from this' but sometimes I l l you also get tired of nursing your feelings to that extent." Cairo reiterated this sense of hopelessness, "at one point in time, I also lost hope in mankind that, why is this happening?" Even given the extent of the abuse, Cairo still tried to please her husband in order to maintain the family unit. She helped to sponsor his parents and agreed to live with them once they arrived. However, their presence did not help their marriage. As Khartoum noted earlier, sometimes in-laws interfere and make it difficult for a marriage to succeed. "It [their marriage] was aggravated because his parents were living with us for the last 4 years....He is a mama's boy and his mom would say 'Cairo didn't do this or I didn't do that.' In order to keep the family together, Cairo says she used to apologize for things she was not responsible for: All the time, they would pull long faces and I would have to go and tell them, T am sorry for what I have done.' That was another form of me always giving in.. .without there being no fault of mine but just to make peace in the house. That's what I had to resort to. And it made me really angry sometimes that I've done nothing wrong. My conscience is so clean, yet to make amends. It was fighting a battle, three against one, all the time. Cairo tried to understand the differences: So there was that age gap between me and my in-laws. There was that culture gap and their expectations were far too high.. .they felt that I was too Westernized, which I wasn't and I told them I am a real blend between the East and the West. I am living in a Western society, I have to mingle with Western traditions but my Eastern qualities are still there. I am so deeply rooted in that, and nobody is going to take that out of me. But I couldn't convince them enough. Cairo reveals her psychological state at home: "I couldn't have this pressure on me. I was constantly being watched all the time. I didn't feel comfortable. For every small thing I [was] scrutinized to the ninth degree. I didn't want that." Therefore, Cairo suggested to her husband that they find another residence for his parents and then they 112 could concentrate on building their own relationship: "we would have so much affection that way, and we can find a place that we can live together." However, this was not an acceptable option for her husband and in fact gave Cairo an ultimatum that "under no conditions am I [the husband] going to leave them. If you want, you will have to put up with this situation or you're free to go." Cairo tried to make the marriage work but left her home on three separate occasions when she felt abused and returned every time. On the fourth occasion however, she decided to leave the marriage permanently. "And since that time, he has never asked me how I am doing, how I am feeling, what I am up to. So it is very, very sad but such is life." Cairo says that for the sake of her daughter she still tries to maintain cordial relations and blames Isma'TlTs for her difficult life: "So to sum it all up, I have had a terrible experience with Isma'TlTs, and the Isma'TlT community." Cairo notes that she reached out to the community for assistance to save her marriage but it was either not forthcoming or not productive. "My community has not been there to support me... .When I was separated, I was really hoping that I would get some kind of help from my own community. Some direction. And I never really got that." As an example, Cairo says that "we have all these committees out there and yet I don't think they have really developed their institutions to address people who are being separated" or divorced. For instance, when she approached the Social Welfare Committee, the head of the committee told her "why don't you go back?" Cairo recalls: They announce a lot in the mosque that when you have problems or in a crisis, please call the Social Committee.. .but apparently at that time,.. .we didn't have psychologists, or social workers; this is just some people who have a good intention of bringing two families together, but they don't have any experience in that field. So the competency level was not there. 113 As Khartoum observed in her experience, Cairo confirmed that "people that were on the Board, were not competent to know how to deal with these matters. They were just arising from some people who have had a good family life." At these meetings, her husband would reassure them that the abuse would stop, the Social Welfare member would be placated, and Cairo would return home. Cairo states "they really did not touch the core issues. They were talking about their experience." Not surprisingly, the abuse did not stop. Cairo claims that because there was no follow up from the committee to track the situation, there was no accountability for her husband and the suggestions the committee had made were not implemented by her husband. But Cairo was determined to try every avenue available to her and was truly expecting a hands-on approach from the community with her marriage. So then she reached out to the Isma'IlT Conciliation and Arbitration Board and asked them to send her husband and herself to counselling. She recalls asking them: It would be nice if my husband went for counselling because he keeps on saying that the problem is with me. It's nice for him to see his own self in the mirror and to see what kind of deficiencies or attributes he has. Then he can work on them. If he has attributes, he can bring that into the marriage and we can make a great unit and if there are some deficiencies then he can also work on that. And I am also willing to do that." Unfortunately, says Cairo, the Board did not take a stand on the matter and told her that "we are in a Western country, we can recommend but we can't push somebody. It's upon them." After she left for the fourth and final time, Cairo began divorce proceedings through the Conciliation and Arbitration Board. Cairo felt that one of the Board members, "a male arbitrator, was very biased" so Cairo asked for a replacement which she got. Cairo agreed to a cut in child support from $700 per month to $440 per month in order to gain sole custody of her daughter. To date, explains Cairo, her husband 114 has unlimited access to their daughter but has not been making child support payments. Cairo says she put her own career, working in a law firm, on hold for her husband: "because he was [studying], he told me 'can you please be in charge of raising the child....' So I, all alone for 7 years, let him finish his course and today he is.. .earning fabulous money, and I have been left holding the bag." Cairo delineates the reaction she gets from the community as a divorced woman: It's still a taboo in our community to be separated. It's still a taboo. It's not accepted. In the mainstream community, yes it may be accepted that divorces happen, separations happen but in our community till today, I have to pay a price because I am very vocal and I do mention when I go into groups that 'look, I am single, I am raising a child all by myself And I get looked with a very bad eye [as though] 'you are a real loser. You've got something lacking in you.' Not knowing that it takes two people to make such a decision. An interesting aside to Cairo's story are some of the factors surrounding her decision to wed her husband. She met a few men through "the discreet marriage committee" within the community but they were not suitable. A friend then arranged an introduction to her ex-husband. "The first man that came in my life I just thought this is it." The criteria she used to determine his suitability were based on traditional grounds, questions that most South Asian parents arranging matrimonials for their children consider most important: "he is not smoking, he is not drinking, he doesn't seem to be a womanizer, he is intellectually stimulating, he is well-read, and all that." In retrospect, Cairo says there was one incident of abuse before the wedding but she "sweeped it off." I was very naive and it would never be possible for me to live with a man with the kind of family I was coming from... .He hit me once. But the cards were printed and I thought that if I called this off then it would be very shaming. We are having our marriage in 3 or 4 weeks. His parents had come [from Kenya], and I told him I wanted to go here and there and he did not come. So I became very angry, and when I became very angry he slapped me and hit me. 115 Cairo did not, as Khartoum put it, "have the opportunity to actually build a relationship. Which is what I think people should have the chance to do before they sign the contract." Therefore, Cairo said: "Little did I know that people [could be] having other problems, people can be very controlling, people maybe having insecurities, people may not know anything about sharing." She dated her husband four times at which point his aunt said they should get married because he was "getting very old and his parents are getting old." Cairo was hoping to wait to the following year but she says at the age of 25 "I was a yes, yes doll....1 was very naive... .There was so much pressure from his family, so within 3 months, we didn't even know each other. I thought we will develop that love after we get married. It was stupid." Cairo says she would do things differently now but at that time she had to "preserve your virginity so you never really slept with a guy. All this kind of stupid nonsense. Today I say to my daughter, 'yes woman go out there and live with a man before you decide to get married.' At this stage, Cairo believes that being able to live in a loving relationship is more important than having a piece of paper to symbolize the union. "If people are compatible, they respect one another, they have feelings for one another, even if they live together it's more than marriage, in my opinion... .As long as you are happy with one another, that's the bottom line." Cairo concludes that because of her experience with Isma'Tli men she would rather not be in a relationship with an Isma'IlI: I would rather date a black man, or a white man, or a coloured person but not an Isma'Tli person. And yet I keep telling myself that not all five fingers are the same. There could be some good Isma'IlI men out there... .1 am not saying all Isma'IlI men are bad. No. But in my heart of hearts, there is a gut feeling that tells me if I want to be happy again, I will be with a non-Isma'ffi man. Homosexuality 116 This sub-theme explores relationships participants have had with other women, and how homosexuality is treated in the community. Following is one participant's experience within her family as well as the community. This participant, who shall not be named, to ensure extra precaution to maintain her confidentiality, says she is "out" to her mother, but not to her father or other family members. She is also out to her IsmaTii friends who keep personal issues confidential. Her mother was very supportive when she came out to her and continues to support her: "It's amazing that she was very, very supportive and I think that's rare, it's a rare experience." In addition, she said she is not out to the community as she sees her sexuality as a very private matter, after all, "I don't go around asking other people if they're heterosexual," or she could just as well "assume that most of the community [was] gay." What disturbs her is that she knows of individuals who feel they have to leave town, and live far away from the community because they do not feel accepted. She believes that "there are a lot of people in the community that would be identified as queer, gay, lesbian,.. .bisexual," especially a lot of men who are bisexual, but "there's no room for that discussion, and the community is not going to deal with it." When describing the atmosphere in the community, she commented that it is "incredibly homophobic and very heterosexual" but no more "heterosexual than the rest of the world." However, because the IsmaTii community is small and individuals feel a need to belong to the community, "everything gets played out differently." This participant believes that there is an unspoken rule that if you are in a lesbian or in an interracial relationship then you "don't come" to community events. Therefore, people keep their relationships hidden thereby keeping such individuals and their related issues invisible. 117 "It's not a community that says.. .we support you, we'll support you anyway." Thus, the cloak of silence conceals issues of homosexuality: "My mom [tells] me about other lesbian couples that she thinks exist in the community, and how they kind of coexist but no one talks about them. Sexuality is not talked about in the community at all." This collaborator presented a vignette of how the silence around issues of sexuality and homosexuality can distort some of the realities that individuals face in the community. I've gone to one AIDS death and everyone thought it was cancer. And yeah, it was cancer because it was an AIDS related infection, but the person died of AIDS. And, it doesn't mean that they're gay, it doesn't mean anything. We don't know how they contracted it, and who cares how they contracted it, the issue is they're dying of a disease.. .and where was the community to support that? But because there's a stigma that it's a gay disease still, which it shouldn't be because most of the contractions are heterosexual, and blah, blah, blah... .So that frustrates me a lot. Istanbul commented regarding the death of the same individual: "homophobia [has] impacted me personally because one of my cousins was gay and he never was able to come out to the community and eventually a couple of years ago he died of Aids." Istanbul elaborated on the effect of this incident on her: You could never talk about it and that hurt me so much because when you are terminally ill with AIDS the least you want is to have some support around you, and be able to talk about it and feel some relief about it, or from it. But he wasn't able to do that at all so he basically died very lonely in that sense. He was carrying all of this by himself. But he wasn't supported at all. The previous interviewee pointed out that it can be easier for men to be gay than for women: "if you are a gay IsmaTii man, there' still room for you to exist, and that's just because we live in [a] male culture; generally if you're a gay man and you're White, there's still more room for you" but the scenario for women is different "lesbians and 118 bisexual women are just invisible." She stressed that there is a definite loss in keeping one's relationship secret. There's loss of the fact that no one ever asks about your relationships, or that you don't feel comfortable disclosing, that you can go through a break up and no one will know about it, that you can go through a death of your partner and no one will know. Because of the secrecy, a lesbian woman has to endure the ups and downs of a relationship on her own, or seek support from family members who know, or from individuals from other communities. This can be especially challenging for homosexuals who's families are not aware. This interviewee is also troubled when she hears stories about Isma'Tlis who are living double lives in married relationships and she wonders "is this the kind of community we want, where people are having to construct this straight, heterosexual, middle class, good Isma'IlT household, but on the side having [a] whole different world." Another participant of this study knew around the age of 7 or 8 that she was a lesbian but was too scared to tell anyone in her family or the community: When I was younger, and I realized that, I knew I would never be accepted. And that was the worst part... .As I began to see how the community, my community especially felt about it. And that made me feel horrible....It was taboo, it was stigmatized. And we all knew that. And that made it very, very hard for me. It made me completely repress who I am. And that was very hard. This participant therefore tried to convince herself that she was not a lesbian but was unsuccessful and was in fact angry that in the Isma'IlT world "there is not very much openness to difference and a lot of issues are just swept under the carpet and not addressed." Upon arriving to Vancouver, she confided in her mother: I told my parents and my mom was extremely upset. She was devastated. And they said that it's not possible. They saw it as just a stage that I was going 119 through and you'll get over it. And my mom got really upset and she started getting mad at me every day for small things. And I knew that she couldn't accept it. And then eventually I just said it was over, it's finished, it was just a phase. But I am still what I am, and that hasn't changed. Up until today, this participant says that her family does not know that she is lesbian and it is difficult living with the secret: "they would have a very, very hard time dealing with it. And I am not yet ready to deal with that kind of stuff yet. So I haven't come out. But it's hard. It's really hard." This lengthy but pivotal theme, Expectations of IsmaTii Women Based on Gender Roles, examined a number of issues facing the participants because of their sex. Leadership roles for women, male-female relationships including marriage and sex, body image, and homosexuality were explored. All of the women in this study felt discriminated against and therefore marginalized. Marrakesh described how she felt "managed" because she voiced her opinions and challenged "the structure." She noticed how men were treated better than women, and she found it most frustrating when the community claimed to have women in leadership roles but true leadership, said Marrakesh was reserved for men, as is the case in the larger Canadian society. An example of unacceptable behaviour for a woman is to live on her own, as Marrakesh does, in the same city as her parents because it conjures up in the minds of some, undesirable behaviours. Marrakesh said she rarely meets a truly strong and confident IsmaTii woman. Strength and independence are not qualities that are nurtured in women even though they may have the appearance of confidence. In regards to power relations, Marrakesh notes that similar to other communities, the IsmaTii community is "just as patriarchal as European communities" and power is not shared equally with women. This can become oppressive when most of the decision makers are not women and so 120 their voices are not included. Marrakesh noted her experience of discrimination based on body image, and colorism. Khartoum described similar experiences of discrimination based on her gender while growing up. A "prime example" was how she decided to make her career more of a focus in her life rather than finding a husband and how this alienated her from her friends. She provided examples of how women vie with one another for power rather than acquiring it from the source, namely men. Khartoum offered her interpretation of some of the biased behaviours she has observed in women. She relates her observations that over generations, women have learned that they have less power, that they are unable to change their circumstances, and so they have developed ways in which to navigate their circumstances in order to survive. Khartoum discussed some of the dynamics that can occur within Isma'IlT families related to gender and concludes with an example of her own family noting particularly: "I wasn't happy about the fact that our men are socialized to be emotionally distant." Silence around the issue of sexuality was discussed. Marrakesh commented on her family's preference for her to date Isma'IlT men but explained her difficulty in finding a suitable match because men generally are not "socialized to accept and embrace strong women." Khartoum recalled her mother permitting her to choose her own partner but then not knowing how to form a relationship with a man other than in a sexual manner. Cairo described her unfortunate experiences with the Isma'IlT men in her life, first, her father, an alcoholic who neglected her; second, her Isma'IlT neighbour who assaulted her; and third, her husband who abused her and whom she eventually divorced. She noted that she reached out to the community for assistance to save her marriage, but it 121 was either not forthcoming or not productive. Cairo mentioned the marginalization she presently faces in the community as a divorced mother. Last, homosexuality was discussed in the context of Isma'IlT women and some of the issues faced by marginalized individuals. WEALTH: EMPHASIS ON MATERIAL ADVANCEMENT This theme looks at the emphasis on material gain within the Isma'Tli community and the effect of this inclination on individuals who may hold differing values. Participants of this study related their experiences of marginalization due to this emphasis on wealth. Marrakesh provided an example of the conflict she sees and feels in her interactions with other Isma'Tlis surrounding wealth. Not only does she feel conflicted between the religious values and the practical realities of individual interactions, but finds the over-emphasis on material advancement disturbing and alienating. There's a very greedy element of the community that's not very pleasant, it's not very savoury at all, it doesn't take into consideration all the values that are espoused. [For instance], you should be giving, you should be kind [etc.]. I have no patience anymore... .for people talking to me about money and how much you make or what your career looks like... when I've asked people who I [know]... 'how are you doing? Are you happy?' And they go on about their lists and lists of things, 'Oh I bought a car and I'm doing this, and I'm president of that, and I make this much money and they don't talk about their happiness. They just talk about these things. And then I go back to 'so now that you've told me all these things that's really great but 'are you happy?" And a lot of people in the community I don't think even have that discussion. Marrakesh commented on what people have told her regarding her job that "doesn't' make a lot." Following this statement she says "there's [a] silence, people don't know what to do with that." Regarding her appearance, she describes what people say to her: It's not necessarily people saying 'oh Marrakesh, you come from a working class/poor background, you're really terrible, oh look at you, [you] don't dress 122 well'. No, they don't say that but their behaviour is 'look at this new watch I bought, look at this new outfit' or T can't wait to go and get this.' Their whole world revolves around material possessions and when.. .[I'm] wearing like a basic dress, and shoes, and no make-up.. .people look at you,.. .people don't want to be your friend, people don't make friends with you. Khartoum provided her outlook on the emphasis on wealth in her interactions with other IsmaTlIs. She explained that in her late twenties, she was angry at the community and therefore behaved in such manner: "When I was younger and still trying to figure myself out, it was [a] very angry kind of interaction." She provides an example of when she was attending a focus group in 1992 that specifically addressed problems related to the youth. Khartoum reflected on the nature of the panel: You know those stupid youth problem nights where there was a panel.. .and then they tell you totally stupid things like, if you had the courage to get up and say 'my husband is beating me,' they would say 'well stay together for the sake of the kids.' You know, stupid things. Anyway, this was a youth focus thing. At the focus group, she recalls having a conversation with the wife of an important official who, according to Khartoum, said "isn't this [the focus group] wonderful?" and Khartoum responded: 'Actually, there is nothing really wonderful about this.' She is shocked, like 'who the hell are you lady? And I basically say 'nothing has moved since 1978. We were having these focus groups then and we're still having the same conversation. Fifteen, 20 years have passed and we are still talking about the same where is the progress?' And she went on about 'well, it takes time.' Yaa 15years, I'm all grown up now. I had the same issues. In response to the comment that solving social problems takes time, Khartoum retorted: I think that the community is so hung up on making money and having status that we really don't have time for everybody's petty little problems.. .we are so busy out there sucking the tits of the capitalist system.. .that we don't have time, you're so busy sucking on that tit, really worry about some 15 year old having identity issues and anxiety problems....You don't care....those were the kind of angry interactions I was having for a while. 123 Similar to Marrakesh's experience, Khartoum finds that when her interests do not coincide with accumulating wealth, then conversations and interactions with most Isma'Tlis becomes "limited." [My husband] and I are not interested in money and status. We are interested in a rich intellectual life, and a rich cultural life, and a rich spiritual life. And when you try to explain that to other people, who want to make a million dollars before they are 40, they don't get that. So there's very limited conversation then. Khartoum and her spouse have thus spent a number of years building their social network: We've had to find our own social net within this larger net because when you cast the net in the larger pond you are going to draw the Wall Street, Harvard, MBA types first.. .and a bunch of medical types.. .and then you might get, this would be the fish that most people would throw back,.. .the artist, the writer.. .the film maker. And so we've spent the last 10 to 15 years building a network like that. Similarly, Tunis recalled that although she has not had success in creating relationships in Khane or built bridges as a committee member, she has gone through the same process as Khartoum, and built a network of friends either from her work setting or from her school. Tunis explained that her friends understand her, support her, and encourage her. "My friends are really supportive.. .they respect me for who I am... .It's good for me because we have the same cultural background, we have the same values, we understand where we are coming from." Tunis views her Isma'IlI friendships as a positive influence in her life: "If we have issues at home, I understand [them] and they understand [me] because we both come from the Isma'IlI community. So there is a really good sense of support and I really like that. That's very positive." Istanbul noted that the funds that are collected in the Jama'at Khana, in the name of charitable contributions, and for the general welfare of JamatI members is not utilized in the most constructive manner: "there are a lot of single women, with kids, divorced 124 women who might need help, social assistance of some sort.. .but I don't see that money being used that way. And for seniors, they could have low cost housing." In sum, this theme looked at how emphasizing wealth and material advancement was related to the marginalization of the women in this study. Both Marrakesh and Khartoum noted how interactions with most Isma'TlTs can be limiting because of such an emphasis. All of the participants mentioned the effort required in finding those individuals that were "like-minded." C L A S S I S M This theme reflects on how discriminatory behaviours rooted in systemic classism in the Isma'TlT social order can lead some women to feel excluded and therefore marginalized (see Figure 2). Included in this theme are examples of classism, and the effect of this classism on marginalized individuals. First, Marrakesh described how classism manifests itself in the community. We're very compassionate, open, as long as people are the same as us, and us being middle class, conservative. And if they're not like us, then we 're very good at helping, very charitable., .there's a charitableness if you are disabled, there's a charitableness if you don't look the right way, but generally people are not very kind. According to Marrakesh, classism dictates those behaviours that are acceptable . Marrakesh gives the example of voluntary service and working for the benefit of others and society, which is a fundamental Islamic principle: We like to help people in Third World countries,...we. like to help people locally, sometimes. Although, I don't see a lot of Isma'TlTs at the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre; I don't see a lot of Isma'TlTs at soup kitchens at the mission; I don't see a lot of Isma'TlTs at End Legislated Poverty... I just don't see them. Classism also dictates the form in which personal choices can take shape: Middle class in the Isma'ill Community means a standard of living greater than that expected in middle class Canadian culture.2 125 It's really great that there's this great serge to do work, but how are we manifesting in our community? Like how are we working? And when you do that kind of work...people say 'oh that's really good work' but there's still such a class thing, that's 'really good work for some people.' Continuing with the same example, Marrakesh describes the experiences that frustrate her, and make her not want to be a part of the Isma'IlI community: Even the ones with power and clout who have the doctor degree, who are they helping? Are they doing free clinics? Are they going out and doing a needle exchange program? Are they helping teen moms who are struggling or addicted teens who are having babies? Are the lawyers doing free legal service for all of the women who are going through problems around custody access, sexual assault, immigration? I don't think so... .1 think it's what the line is, and that's the most frustrating part and that's what pushes you out. Marrakesh explains that the "conservative faction within the Isma'IlI community is really big,.. .even if they're not big, I think they have a lot of power in how to reflect the community and everyone lives within those standards." This implies that there is a standard to live up to. Marrakesh describes how the middle class portrays the Isma'Tli community to the rest of Canadian society: I think the middle class dominates in our community. And the professionals dominate and they put on this show that we're all like that and I think the problem is because we're a small community.. .we get lumped in publicly much more, because there's only how many thousands of us... [so] we all get lumped in as being doctors, lawyers, professionals, seeking higher education, that we're very progressive, equality with women and men, and we all make a lot of money, and we are very honourable and charitable and we lead really good pure Muslim lives and it's like we all know that that's not true. We know that that's not true but it's like we perpetuate this myth, and it's a status thing, it's very much a status thing, so there's no room for critical discussion. Marrakesh underlines that the conservative faction that exists in the Isma'IlT community is not a unique phenomenon noting that "in every community, there's a conservative faction." The Isma'Tli community "only parallels what happens out in the bigger communities... .If you went into any community, if you went into the Chinese 126 community," there's a middle class. "Just like in other communities, I think the middle class dominates in our community," and therefore an outsider may come to believe that the entire community is middle class. On the issue of being a different race from the rest of the population where Isma'TlTs have resided, Marrakesh believes that racist views were held by Isma'TlTs while living in East Africa, and subsequently, these have become transformed into classist views in Canada. [When] we were in East Africa, we [saw] ourselves as better than the black people...and so we got to re-colonize people, yahoo, and create more racial stereotypes and divide and conquer,.. .and then we come to Canada and we're now the darkest people here, and.. .now we have to fit in, and that's where class comes up. Commenting on her perceptions of the community, Marrakesh noted that it disturbed her immensely to see a number of young girls struggle: "There [are] so many [young women] and that's what hurts.. .they are paying the price of trying to be middle class when they're not. They are struggling and not fitting in." Marrakesh revealed how she feels about other young women in the same situation. "It hurts me very much because I don't think there's a need for that." Marrakesh draws conclusions about the Isma'TlT culture from her observations: "A lot of us don't fit in, actually most of us don't fit in... .There's a few that do, and they create any sort of social order; they create the laws by which we live; they create our culture." Khartoum illustrated some of the classism she faces: I get a lot of flack for living in this neighbourhood from people in the community. My child went to North Van Khane and met some little kid there. They got along, they played , everybody had a really good time. Then the parent comes up to me and says, 'Oh the kids are really getting along, we should get together.' I say sure, the guy gives me his business card, he lives in West Van. 'Where do you 127 live?' 'East Van.' 'Oh.' Didn't hear from him, nothing. He was really hot and heavy until he found out where we lived. Khartoum interpreted this incident to mean that a judgement about her character was determined by her choice of residence: For many of the people in our community that are very class and neighbourhood and address conscious, East Vancouver is a poor neighbourhood. Scum lives there. So we must be scum, we must be people with the wrong kind of values. And that's something that comes up often. Next, Khartoum made the link between the East African Isma'Tlis' colonial past and the image based on wealth and class the community tries to portray in Canada: "This is how the game works. You have to appear to be an amazing stellar community in order to get any scraps from the people in power... .And [so] we have been doing that. We have been playing that [game] for three generations now," explained Khartoum, "we don't even deconstruct that. We don't even take out the bag and look what's inside." Cairo described her experiences as a young girl born and raised in Kenya within a poor family. Her family resided in an Isma'IlI complex and therefore she interacted with Isma'llls on a daily basis. "From a very young age, I was exposed to the Isma'IlI community" where Cairo says she experienced classism: "There were different groups of people in the sense that there were some people who were very wealthy and some who were middle class and so myself coming from a very poor family, I experienced that right off the bat." Cairo recalls her feelings dating back to the age of 5: "I felt inferior from a very young age....1 felt very inferior whilst mingling with the neighbours. We were always despised because of our financial status." Cairo remembers how she was not included: "My friends were Isma'Tlis but.. .because we were poor, you were not 128 included. There were other kids that wanted to play, but I couldn't play with them because simply they were rich Isma'TlTs." Around the age of 7, Cairo noticed that because of her poor background she was not treated the same in Khane. "When [I] went to Khane to pray, you were kind of despised because you were poor. You were not given the duties [waras] other kids were given. At the same time, you were not acknowledged very well." Also, notes Cairo, "there was [a] lot of favouritism based on class. Because you did not have all the other things that all the other people had like good homes, cars, good clothes, what I had was hand me downs from my sister." Cairo elucidates that based on these circumstances, individuals in the Jama'at Khana made assumptions about her capabilities and therefore disregarded her: "Although I was competent and able to undertake a lot of tasks.. .a lot of waras, I was still not given that opportunity. How could I convince them that although I am poor, it doesn't really matter, I could still...." At that point, said Cairo, "I had kind of accepted, today I can say why I was not given that opportunity, but at that point, I had already accepted being substandard." Cairo said that even her religious education teacher in Mombasa was biased. "Only the girls from rich families were her favourites. The favouritism was always there." Cairo describes how much she used to enjoy singing Ginans but "[the religious education teacher],.. .she would always pick on me. I tried my darndest to sing well but she always said 'you don't sing well. You will never get a chance.' And I never got a chance with her." So Cairo recalls, "I would go home crying." I remember my mom would say 'don't worry, things will become better. You can sing to me.' And I would sing to my mom. We would have a little Khane at home... Just taking two, three pots from the house, from the kitchen, and doing the chanta ceremony. And in the same ceremony, I would be singing. I really 129 wanted to sing out there in front of the people. But I never got that chance... .1 used to go to 'Little Sisters of Poor' [a church], and sing there because I loved to sing. I would sing our national anthem. But doing something for my own community I was deprived [crying]. So.. .you can understand how much I really love my own community.. .but I couldn't [participate] because I was belonging to a [lower] class [crying]. After that, Cairo tried to become a volunteer but because her uniform was not exactly like the other girl's.. ."even becoming a volunteer, you had to have the uniform properly. And I didn't have a real uniform. I had a lighter shade, so they wouldn't accept me." After this incident, Cairo would do the jobs that others did not want like sweeping the Jama'at Khana after everyone left: I would do all the back scenes for which you would get no recognition. Which I was happy doing that. At the end of the ceremonies I would be cleaning the pats....1 would help in the library... .But I also wanted to be in the limelight. I wanted to be a volunteer. I wanted to serve juras, and I wanted to serve waras, and I never got that. [Crying] It was very hurtful whilst growing up with that inferior feeling....1 constantly felt inferior [crying]. There was never a chance in my life that I was proud to say 'Yes! This is what I have done.' Cairo described her home life, the reactionary image of the community, and the impact of this image on her self-worth: We were very, very poor. We were a family of three and my dad was an alcoholic. He is still an alcoholic and he was the main bread earner. And he did not want us to go to school and my poor illiterate mother would be sewing clothes at night and whatever little income she got she put us through school because education she knew was very vital and very important. She was not educated but she wanted us to be educated. I would not say all the people were bad but generally 70% looked down upon [us]... .Right off at that point, I did not have any self-esteem. I knew that I had come into a doomed world. Cairo elaborated that her perception of having arrived into a "doomed world" was partly because of her home life and partly because of the community. Here I am, I am fighting all these things within myself, and had all these misfortunes that I have to deal with, in the sense that I have no support, no love from my dad. My mother is illiterate, she cannot understand. More so, my 130 outside environment, meaning my [Isma'TlT] friends,.. .ranging from religion teachers to people in power. So it was a very negative experience for me. Nonetheless, Cairo did not let her background or the community's perception of her derail her from practicing her religious beliefs and continued to derive satisfaction from helping others. She illustrates in an example that occurred around the age of 11 or 12: In me there was always this power to go out there and help people who are worse off than myself. And I remember for the longest time, I used to take one blind man to Jama'at Khana and that really gave me a good eye opener in the sense that here I was, I was poor, but I was still able to help another Isma'TlT man. Also, there were moments of joy and thankfulness living in Mombasa, says Cairo. Not every single Isma'TlT was unhelpful or took advantage of her but they generally were independent individuals acting on their own accord, they were not part of the leadership or institutions. Some Isma'TlTs and non-IsmaTlIs assisted her family both monetarily and in kind. "I remember one woman who had a fish processing plant. When she was having fish at her place, and she didn't like the heads, she would send them home. I would never forget those moments." Cairo added "there were Goan families who had jet fruit trees and we would have jet fruit coming to our house." Cairo said there were a "lot of bounties in other areas" but the "basic needs" that one should expect as part of an Isma'TlT family and community were not there and that as an Isma'TlT she has the right to expect such assistance from the community. Cairo underlined how the leadership could be role models for the community by not propagating favouritism, classism, bias, or by being judgemental. Another aspect that Cairo would like to acknowledge is that the classism continues to occur here in Vancouver. "It's very sad, today I see it also happening here. My daughter wants a waro, and they will only give waras.. .the doctors would only give 131 to their own professional friends... .This classism is still existing here." However, Cairo says that unlike her mother who did not drive and did not have any options, she makes sure that her daughter has options, and gets waras even if it means calling the other Jama'at Khanas in the Lower Mainland and driving her daughter to North Vancouver. Tunis described how she feels about the community due to her lack of conforming to classist behaviours and views. Because of "received or unspoken judgement, I really feel I am not accepted within the community as I am. That I haven't had a chance to express myself." For example, Tunis said that individuals have approached her and said to her: "Oh, you're wearing pants on a Friday? Why don't you dress up a little bit more?" These kinds of comments make Tunis feel judged, and not accepted by other IsmaTlIs. This theme reflected on how discriminatory behaviours based on classism in the IsmaTii world can lead some women to feel excluded and therefore marginalized. Included in this theme were examples of classism, and the effect of this classism on marginalized individuals. Marrakesh explained how she has observed that the middle class, conservative sector of the community reflects the community to the rest of Canadian society. The image put forth by the middle class leads women to believe that a certain standard of living has to be achieved and displayed. Women not able to attain this standard may therefore feel marginalized. Marrakesh highlighted that this is not a unique phenomenon to the IsmaTii community, and can be observed in other ethnic minority groups working on similar issues. Khartoum noted how she felt judged because of her choice of residence. Cairo passionately described her struggle with classism from a young age growing up in Kenya. She described how she was discriminated against in all 132 spheres of life; the play ground, in both the secular and religious schools, in Jama'at Khana, in her housing complex, and even in voluntary work. Discrimination based on class led to feelings of inferiority for Cairo. Tunis also noted classism as playing a role in her alienation from the community. JAMA'AT KHANA AS A PLACE OF COMMUNITY Although the Jama'at Khana serves many purposes in the lives of Isma'Tlis, one of which is a location where social and family ties are reinforced, several women have felt excluded from the Jama'at Khana setting for a number of reasons (see Figure 2). Some of the ways in which the women in this study felt excluded from the Jama'at Khana were as follows: the Jama'at Khana can be seen as the only place where women should have their family and communal ties, some can feel marginalized because there is no arts and cultural centre in Vancouver, and when an attempt was made to run a specific project, namely the Zamana Gallery in London, England, management was placed in the hands of a non-Muslim curator which resulted in discriminatory behaviours towards Isma'llls. Also, some felt excluded because there is a lack of concern for people with disabilities, and a lack of inclusion and understanding about their issues especially in the Jama'at Khana setting. For Marrakesh, the Jama'at Khana is seen as a place where communal ties are built and maintained. However, she was told that she had to make the Isma'Tli community her primary community, and interacting with other communities was frowned upon. Marrakesh said that difficulty arose for her when the message she received throughout her life was that this had to be her only community; "when you grow old, this is the only community that you're going to have, this is your only support system.. ..if 133 you lose ties with this when you get older, you'll have nobody." Marrakesh emphasizes by repeating herself; "all the way through growing up until present day, "you won't have anybody else. After your family goes, this will be it. So if you don't start going to Khane everyday and making connections then you will be [a] very lonely old person." Sometimes, community ties are accentuated at the expense of putting down other communities; "you're not one of those people. You're not White. You are never going to be a part of that community... .This is your only community." As a result of this type of "insular identification," Marrakesh says she feels "overwhelmed" at times, and acts as a source of unnecessary fear because she is tempted to believe it: "You get caught in that going: 'What if I do become really old and I don't have a community.' I don't believe that to be true, I believe there's other communities that you can be a part of but...." As a secondary illustration, Marrakesh says that there are individuals who seek out IsmaTii professionals because they feel comfortable, trust, and expect to be better assisted: "when I see people who actually truly believe in this community, and this is where their main support is, I'm happy, I'm really happy for them. It's not that for me though." Khartoum explained the important role the Jama'at Khana played in the life of her family upon arriving to Canada in the early 70s. "As a child and a teenager, the Jama'at Khana was important because as a new immigrant it became a place where I could be more of myself than at school.. .it was a really important part of my support network." When asked what she meant by 'more of herself?' she replied, "I didn't have to explain any cultural things. Nobody asked me stupid questions like: 'where are you from?' Or 134 'o/z you are from Africa. Do you know Tarzan?' So it was good to not have to deal with that." Khartoum went on to describe that the racism was "hugely" difficult to deal with and that the Jama'at Khana acted as a sanctuary: I don't think that anyone missed the fact that we were not welcome here. We didn't miss that. People were pretty clear about that and they were pretty clear about whatever it was that we knew regardless of what kind of school system we had been in, what sort of privilege we had there [in Africa]. According to Khartoum, Canadians seemed to have made up their minds regarding the Isma'IlT immigrants: "as far as everyone was concerned here we came from a backward Third World Country, so we must be backward Third World people. And so dealing with that day to day it's [a] pretty stressful thing." Khartoum says her family attended Jama'at Khana in Canada more frequently than in Kenya: "there's this thing about, bonding with other people who are having a common experience to help you get through an experience that's hard or bad." In addition to the racism, economic constraints meant that both her parents had to work and she had to learn to cook and carry out other domestic chores, which would have been unheard of in Africa due to her family's privileged lifestyle: "And then having to pool together and band together to make it here. So everybody was feeling stressed, not just me. So Jama'at Khana, the community place became this haven for all of us: for my parents, [and] my brothers." Khartoum reiterates that while residing in East Africa, her family attended Jama'at Khana only once a week and on special occasions: "we didn't have a huge bond with Jama'at Khana or a need to be there.. .we were already secure where we were, we didn't need the extra [social] support." Upon arrival to Canada and during her teenage years however, the Jama'at Khana took on a greater role in her life as well as her family's, and again the role of the Jama'at Khana has changed after 29 years 135 in Canada: "It [the Jama'at Khana] played a really important role in helping all of us I think to adjust in that early period. And I would say that for about 10 to 15 years it played that kind of role. And as we've become more relaxed, our need for it has relaxed. And as we feel more at home here we will need that less, I think." Additionally, for Khartoum, the Jama'at Khana is seen as a place where Isma'TlTs' spiritual, cultural, and historical heritage is passed on. To this end, Khartoum passionately desires to infuse the arts into the Isma'TlT experience. For instance, she states that there is a "crying need in the community to have a full blown arts and cultural centre, a place where our cultural expression (and we do have one) gets explored, archived, retained, and passed on." Such a cultural centre could house a much needed library and archive: "There are people who die who have enormous libraries that they want to give to the community but these guys have not got their shit together to be able to receive and process. And they also have the.. .space problem." Such an archive would make it possible for individuals to "gift" historical items "so that our experience can be documented and catalogued, not just the experience of the rich but of everybody. But that's a huge issue." Khartoum had the following to say regarding the diminutive amount of cultural expression thus far: I have been very angry that there has not been a place made for art and cultural production within an Isma'TlT consciousness until this year [2001]. And the way that it's been made really pisses me off. Because it has nothing to do with me. Whether, Yo Yo Mah travels the Silk Road or not. It doesn't have anything to do with me as a grass roots Isma'TlT person who has an interest in cultural production. Has nothing to do with all the musicians who we have that are self-taught. Who have not received any support at all for doing what they do. 136 As an illustration of this lack of community involvement in the cultural aspect, the closing down of the Zamana Gallery in London, England, was discussed. Khartoum claimed that the absence of community involvement is due to the lack of confidence by the administration, and the absence of a sense that the gallery belongs to the local community members, or 'ownership' as Khartoum calls it, as root causes: The Zamana Gallery failed because... [it was run] from the top down. The only way to make a cultural institution survive is.. .it's got to be run by Isma'Tlis, the people who actually use the Jama'at Khana. The Jamat have to feel connected to that space. They have to feel that parts of themselves are in there, and that they have a connection to the shows that are in there, the lectures [etc.]... .But that was not what was happening. Instead, notes Khartoum, "some high-falutting White curator was hired to basically program the Victorian-Albert Museum which is right across the street. So if you want Victorian and Albert you are going to go to Victorian and Albert!" Khartoum describes her experience while visiting the Zamana Gallery in 1989, which was housed in the Isma'IlT Jama'at Khana and Centre in England. This is the same Jama'at Khana where Khartoum's husband's grandmother who lived in England attended on a regular basis: "This was her Jama'at Khana. So she took us to Jama'at Khana. She was going to go upstairs and clean the pats" and so Khartoum and her husband joined the tour of the Centre including the Gallery. 11 The tour is being given by some White guy who is treating the building like some kind of an anthropological's not a building that was alive to him at all." More infuriating to Khartoum however, was the behaviour of the curator: "He is taking us around and here is nani ma cleaning the pats, and he is treating nani ma like she's some kind of servant. But this is nani ma's building! It's not this White guy's building who's taking us through." This incident is an example of in-group discrimination because it shows that at times, decision makers 137 do not know of or believe that there are Isma'TlTs capable of administering an important project such as the Zamana Gallery. Instead, trust and confidence are placed on non-Muslims, preferably Caucasians to oversee such assignments. During the same visit, another incident at the Art Gallery illustrates Khartoum's anger when projects are operated by non-Isma'Hl experts or 'top down' as Khartoum refers to them: There were these woolly-haired White women who had come in for this tour.. .And they're coming towards me with their, we're at the shoe stall, taking off our coats,.. .and this woman is coming at me with her coat and she says: 'Do I give this to you?' And I said, 'No, I'm a visitor here just like you are! You're going to have to hang this up yourself.' Which is still, you know, in 1989 in Britain this was around the time of the race riots and things were pretty edgy there. But that's the kind of crap that goes on when you allow a building and you allow an institution like that to be run from the top down. It is because of this lack of community involvement and responsibility for the Gallery falling on the local Isma'TlT consumers such as 'nani ma' that Khartoum cites as responsible for the failure of such a project: "You don't get that sense of ownership because that's what you want. You want nani ma to say "this is my Jama'at Khana and I am cleaning it." That's where the attachment is. That's where the real sense of the community lives!" Khartoum underlines that this emphasis on the administration making the decisions and carrying them out according to their specifications, and the hierarchical nature of the administration within Isma'TlT institutions makes it "too top heavy," and as a consequence, "it takes away from us as individuals the right to experience our faith. The right to experience our buildings, our spaces, the right to use them the way that we as a community might decide to use them." For Khartoum "being told how we can use them [the buildings]" translates into "being told how to be an Isma'TlT, how to be a member of this community, being told what to do, and when to 138 do it, and how high to jump." And as a result, Khartoum feels distant from the community: "I don't have patience for that anymore." Khartoum also explained how the stifling censorship in Isma'IlT art production prevents full expression and inclusion of local artisans: So what specialized thing could an art gallery housed within a Jama'at Khana offer a gallery going public? They could showcase.. .contemporary art that's being produced. In order to do that though, the community has to be able to allow people to express themselves without coming down heavy with censorship which they're not yet at a place where they can do that. Tunis talked about the issue of "insular identification" raised by Marrakesh. "Our community is too much focused on Isma'Tlis and you don't really branch out to other communities. I don't like to have only Isma'IlT friends. I want to get to know the other communities as well." Tunis stated her plans to this end: "And so right now I am trying to branch out, I want to meet other communities.. ..Sometimes I feel suffocated in the Isma'IlT community." Tunis described in more depth the reason for her feeling of being closed in when interacting with Isma'Tlis: With Isma'llls there is [a] specific mentality. You have to be a certain way, you have to act a certain way.. .there is too much of a preoccupation with money and status, and who you are, and what you do; it's a specific mentality. And I find that suffocating. I don't want to be judged by what I wear or what I do, or how much money I have, or whether I go to Khane or not. That's why sometimes I feel suffocated, and I need to get out. Tunis commented that "a sense of community builds up from Khane because that's where everybody goes and meets each other." However, issues pertinent to individuals with disabilities are not taken into consideration and are therefore discriminated against. As an example, she said she was a member of the Disabilities Issues Committee, and the committee basically failed to meet their goals because there was no support from "council members, from [the] higher ups". The committee was 139 working on increasing access and accommodation for peoples with disabilities in Khane and at social events, but according to Tunis, it was not possible to even work on a list of IsmaTlIs in the Vancouver area who have a disability and were therefore not attending Jama'at Khana. "I was very frustrated because there is no accommodation, there is no understanding of people with disabilities... .There is no support for them, for us." Tunis mentioned that there are probably a number of individuals with a disability who are "hiding" at home because they don't feel accommodated and stigmatized: "We [want].. .the people higher up to come down and say 'What can we do for you? How can we provide access? How can we provide support? How can we increase awareness of people with disabilities?' But there is no response." As a second example, Tunis recounted a detailed incident in which she believes she was discriminated against because of her disability. She applied for a position as a camp counsellor for a youth program known as Al-Ummah that runs every summer. The Al-Ummah committee knew that Tunis had a disability from her application, however, when they learnt the full extent of her disability, Tunis said she was denied the opportunity to interview for the position and that was discrimination: "What about when the kids are sleeping, there has to be a counsellor in the room with the kids...? Being a counsellor is a lot of responsibility and it's going to be very hard if she can't [ ]." Tunis called them to reiterate her experience in the field, her desire to contribute, to explain to them that it was a matter of cooperation between people so as to accommodate persons with disabilities, and to ask for an interviewer to decide whether she is capable or not. However, she received no response. This type of back and forth communication 140 transpired until she was offered an administrative position that Tunis denied because she felt that she was much more capable. I was really upset because I really wanted to be a part of Al-Ummah and I thought I could really contribute. One way that teenagers could learn to interact with someone with a disability. And as counsellors we could work it out, we could decide if there are certain things that I can't do.. .how can we work together to do what needs to be done. Tunis noted her disappointment with the community: "I couldn't believe our so-called 'progressive' Isma'Tli community, that these people are doing that." In order to ensure that this would not occur again, Tunis wrote a formal letter of complaint regarding how she was treated, and forwarded it to ITREB (Isma'IlT Tariqa and Religious Education Board) for resolution and is presently awaiting their response. "I should have been given a chance to be interviewed.. .you can't decide how capable I am without giving me a chance.. .and then back out and not respond to me." Tunis summed up her thoughts on the issue of disability as perceived in the Isma'IlT world: "There is a lot [that] has to be worked on where disability issues are concerned... .You want to break down the wall but you are only doing it with a nail.. .you can't." On the whole, however, the few Isma'Tli friends that she does have are very supportive and in fact encouraged her to write the letter of complaint. "They were so incredibly supportive. They really felt for me... .Some Isma'llls are so progressive but some of them are not. There is a lot of work to be done. I guess that applies to any community not only ours." Perhaps even more disturbing to Tunis regarding Al-Ummah was that she has not had similar experiences outside of the community in the few jobs that she has held thus far. Tunis recalled that she has been treated very well in her university experience and her work experiences and that is why the Al-Ummah incident was so bewildering. "At 141 work they have been more accommodating.. .In all my experiences, I have been given a fair chance. I have been interviewed, and I have been given more than a fair chance. So that's why I was really surprised [about] Al-Ummah." Contrary to the previous participants, Istanbul holds a different view of what she misses about the Jama'at Khana because she does not care for the religion, and also observes a lack of culture when interacting with other Isma'TlTs. First, Istanbul describes what she longs for, due to her choice not to attend Jama'at Khana: I, on one level, really miss being [a] part of the community.. .1 miss the contact with various people in the community.. .but I feel that I can't be a part of the community.. .1 can't have that contact.. .because the whole culture is around religion. And I have issues with [the] religion. And so even though part of me is sorrowful that I can't have that connection... .1 can't bring myself to.. .go there [Jama'at Khana] and meet people and have that contact. Commenting on finding individuals that think similarly, Istanbul said "I don't know how to find them unless I go to Khane, and then who do I interact with? I don't know." Istanbul adds, "I would like to have that contact or at least find my people within the community but it's extremely difficult." Istanbul described her difficulty in getting along with Isma'TlTs that she has known: "And even if there are relationships developed, like I have had relationships outside of Khane with certain Isma'TlTs that haven't lasted, because their focus is again on religion, mostly." Probing further into Istanbul's desire for "contact" with Isma'TlTs, she noted that she is not seeking individuals of similar background, but rather individuals who are also marginalized for the reason that they too dislike the religion, and have interests that are different from other Isma'TlTs and concludes: "I would like to have contact with maybe likeminded people in the community, not necessarily anybody [belonging] in the community." 142 In contrast to Khartoum, who believes that Isma'llls have a unique and distinct culture in addition to the religion, Istanbul is not as certain. "There is nothing separate. In a lot of other cultures, religion is one aspect of the culture but with Isma'llls it seems that it's the whole thing." If one were to remove the religious aspect entirely, "I don't think you would have anything, because that is what binds the community together.. .we don't have a strong sense of identity. If we took away the religion, what would we have left?" Istanbul ends, "Is there a culture there without the religion? I am not so sure." As part of a lack of cultural identity within the Isma'IlI community, Istanbul said that parents are not making the effort to teach their children Indian languages. Instead, she noted that parents believe that speaking "good English" is all that matters and therefore they make excuses such as 'English is all that is required in school.' Istanbul provided the example of her niece and nephew: "they learn everything else, English, Spanish, French, but not their own language." Istanbul recollected a conversation she had with her brother's children: "I tried to emphasize to them: 'if you don't learn your language and pass it on you will lose.. .this part of your culture, and your heritage." Istanbul attributed this lack of concern with passing down one's language to the next generation to an internalized sense of British superiority Isma'llls gathered while residing in Africa. Istanbul noted that the internalized colonialism "manifests itself.. .on very racist terms because there is always this feeling of the British or the Westerners being a bit more superior than anybody else.. .there is that sense that everything white is good, and still trying to compare themselves." To summarize the theme 'Jama'at Khana as a place of community,' Marrakesh said the Jama'at Khana can act as an invaluable venue for building and maintaining 143 communal and family ties. The downside however, is when other communities are rejected in fear of loosing Isma'TlT ties. For Khartoum, the Jama'at Khana is a place where the spiritual, cultural, and historical heritage of IsmaTiIsm is passed onto future generations. To this end, she would like to see a cultural centre operated by local Isma'TlTs where "people can hang out." With the Zamana Gallery, Khartoum described how relinquishing autonomy can be detrimental as it led to discriminatory behaviours and "takes away from us as individuals, the right to experience our faith." She also emphasized the need for communal involvement and the inclusion of local artisans into the Isma'TlT milieu; the lack of which makes her feel distant from the community. Tunis felt that because there is a lack of concern for people with disabilities, and a lack of inclusion and understanding about their issues in the Jama'at Khana setting, she felt excluded. As illustrations, she discussed her involvement in the Disabilities Issues Committee, and the application process with Al-Ummah. Last, Istanbul believes that Isma'TlTs do not have "a strong sense of [cultural] identity" without the religious aspect. Themes: Outcomes of Discrimination Following are the outcomes of discrimination, or those themes that are a result of the five types of discrimination, described above. Due to a sense of marginalization, the participants felt silenced, they disengaged from the community in various ways, and their family relationships were affected (see Figure 3). In addition, due to any one of the previous five themes such as, issues of classism, or expectations placed on women, the participants of this study failed to achieve recognition in the community. The following five themes are therefore consequences of the types of discrimination described earlier. 144 Figure 3: Outcomes of Discrimination 145 There may be, however, some overlap in some of the instances, for example, the lack of recognition may precede another outcome. SEEKING RECOGNITION (OUTCOME) As a consequence of the previously described causes of discrimination, the women described how they sought recognition. Recognition can be status based, for example, which in turn, can be attained in several different ways including wealth, education, and recognition from outside the Isma'Tli setting. Due to a lack of status, the participants of this study did not feel recognized by the community and as a result of this lack of recognition, the women felt marginalized. Marrakesh stated that recognition in the community is status based. One way of achieving status is through wealth, ownership, and inheritance. She provides an example of the "friends" she used to have when she was a young girl, the group she desperately wanted to belong to, but could not fit into. Going back to the Jama'at Khana some years later, and talking to them she realizes the following: Now I look at those same people and I go 'oh my God, you've literally not changed, you've literally stayed the same, your development has stayed the exact same place....Before it was.. .these little inner dramas and traumas about either boyfriends or outfits,' now it's just changed to 'oh look at so and so got married' and ' look at her wedding ring,' and 'where is she going for her honeymoon,' and 'how many people is she inviting to her wedding' or 'she is having a baby; I heard that they just bought a house.' They've just replicated this whole model and it' limited, [a] limited little world....And yet the air that they have is... 'we're doing really good work', 'we're still seen as important people in the community,' because of whatever status they have. Participants of this study agree that status is largely based on the acquisition of wealth. As can be seen in the following example, at times other forms of achievement are therefore not acknowledged. Women are generally not expected to move out of the family home, establish their own careers, make their own choices, support themselves, 146 and develop their own identity and path in life. Therefore, behaviours not congruent with this expectation do not receive recognition. There's no acknowledgement when you have to make it on your own. Like, when you're working, and making it on your own. And you're not taking daddy's money and daddy's not paying for everything that you do, there's no acknowledgment for that. And what bothers me the most is when parents are made to seem like bad parents because they can't provide you the money. Marrakesh adds that she is happy and blessed to have a loving family, and did not have any financial expectations of her own from them. "No one ever talks about, you can't go to Khane and talk about 'yea, I have student loan; I have debt!'" She felt bad for her parents however, because there is the communal expectation and assumption that they would be paying for her university, buying her a vehicle, and so forth. As parents, I think it's hard if you are in the community with kids. I think that's when some of the not fitting in and exclusion [comes in]... .It's an awful place to be.. .where other parents are paying for their kids, and you can't, what do you do? The gender bias is even more apparent when Marrakesh describes her experience of moving out of the family home to live on her own in the same home town, Vancouver. Her parents did not tell anyone that she had moved out of the house for 2 years. Marrakesh muses on what this reveals about the community. "What does that say about the community that you can't say that your daughter is living on her own because it conjures up so much stuff." When I moved out, they felt very much like bad parents and for a long time they didn't tell people I had moved out. I felt really hurt, because they felt that they would be judged by the community as bad parents and I think that's disgusting. I would always say 'why don't you ask the other parents why their children left? What do they think that's really about?' I'd love to have a forum about all these kids that go away to study.. .about why [they] really left. Marrakesh implored her parents to question the possible motives behind the action of those who go far away to study. She asked them to ponder if they really go away for a 147 better education, or they go away because they can not tell their parents they want to live on their own, or because "it would cut off [their] financial support [because] there's a lot of financial control stuff that gets played out that way too." Marrakesh describes one more way in which wealth can secure recognition. She agrees with the Islamic principle of philanthropy. Voluntary service can take on many forms such as the donation of time, thought, skills, education, effort, or even a prayer. However, Marrakesh notes that the community over-emphasizes the giving of material wealth. In turn, these financial donations are status related and can derive a great deal of recognition. "Where do you go in the community if you are not making any money, if you have to say to the community 'I'm on welfare'... .How are you treated? Are you treated equally? I don't think so." Tunis described her frustration, as did Marrakesh, since recognition is based on the acquisition of wealth, therefore encouraging careers that generate large earnings. "We are expected to go into a field where we will earn money.. .rather than doing what you want to do from your own heart even if you don't make money from it." Tunis expressed her bewilderment with this phenomenon: "I feel there is a huge sense of wanting to be something or someone in order to get recognition from our community. I feel very puzzled by that." Tunis tried to explain as though others before her may not have understood: "I don't want to be something or someone or have a certain amount of money in order to get recognition or in order to feel valued within our community. Does that make sense?" Finally, Tunis summed up this concept "our priorities are material success and status.. .rather than who you are, or having a more universal perspective of being true to yourself." 148 For Marrakesh, her career choice makes it difficult for her to fit in. Marrakesh often feels that she is not valued when she explains that she works in the social service field. [If] people say to you 'so, what are you doing? Where are you going to school?' And you say 'oh, I'm going to be a plumber'. You can't say that because if you say that, people are going to look at you like you're crazy.. ..There isn't a lot of respect.. .for the diversity of what people do. Khartoum underlined that "it's a good thing that there is an emphasis on education" in the community and education is extremely important to have "because.. .in general, it allows the community to be forward thinking than it might be if it didn't have that education." However, according to Khartoum, "it's a bad thing that it's a directed emphasis. Because it [may] not [be] right for everyone." And so what Khartoum would like to see instead is an emphasis on choosing careers that give individuals happiness and meaning. "To me, education is not just simply having a means to [a] higher income. To me, education is about upliftment. So if I am going to get my upliftment from learning how to fix cars, then that's where I am going to find my upliftment. And that education will be important to me." Rather the emphasis in the community should be towards giving individuals the freedom to choose those careers that give them happiness, "then all those guys who really secretly want to be out [for example] tinkering with their cars, that they can go and do that. To find that thing that is their passion and get meaning out of their work. Instead of, the meaning being how much money you make." Probing further into Khartoum's ideology that it is better to follow one's passion in life rather than entering careers that offer stability and financial security, for example, in the technological fields and computers, Khartoum responded: 149 What it means ultimately is at the end of the day when you are on your deathbed and you are taking your last few breaths, will you worry... 'gees isn't that great that I worked so long so that I can have this amazing retirement fund?' Or are you going to be thinking about the passions in your life? The joy; 'I am so glad I travelled around the world' or whatever it is, those things. Will you be glad that you worked like a dog and you made a bundle of money or will you be glad for the experiences that you've had? One could argue that it is those financially secure careers that provide the means whereby one's dreams, passions, and ambitions become a reality. For instance, travelling the world requires a substantial amount of funds, but Khartoum disagrees: This is a myth! This is a huge myth because the money does not facilitate the going, it's the attitude that facilitates the going. If your attitude is that you have to be chained to a desk and work, work, work, work, work, and suddenly you're going to be free at 55. What, somehow some of the angels are going to come and lift the manacles off you that you have put on yourself? You've bound your attitudes by being in that desk and working like that so suddenly you're going to be able to get on a plane and go travel and do everything that you always wanted to do? This is a lie. We are being sold a sack of goods and we're being sold that sack of goods by a capitalist economy that needs people to be chained to their desk, working. Because the whole economy would fall apart if we all said 'oh no, I think we would really like to be doing what makes us happy.' Khartoum sums up her beliefs with regards to the freedom to make one's own choices in life including career. "My purpose for being on this earth is to go through my own process. It's not to go through everybody else's process. It's not to go through the community's process. It's not to do any of that." Khartoum expounded that she has been given this physical form in order to accomplish a certain purpose, to experience certain elements and whether she is successful or not will depend upon her choices but those choices have to be hers. "I have been given ' AQL, I have been given my soul, my emotions, my feelings, my intuition, and I have to rely upon these tools to make the best possible decision for myself. That's my job." However, notes Khartoum, "if I'm relying on somebody else to tell me 'Oh, you go do this,' then I have just given my power 150 away" and, in fact, Khartoum believes the Imam would have "a better community if he has a group of self-actualized, self-motivated people to lead, than a bunch of blind faithers." Marrakesh suggested that a second way of achieving status is based on educational achievements. According to Marrakesh, the emphasis placed on education can make it difficult for some individuals, including herself, to fit into the community. She is often questioned as to her level of education and then feels judged when she replies that she does not have a doctorate degree. There's this other huge thing in the Isma'TlT world about school, right? You have to go from, because 'the higher ups' are telling us, that you [have to] go from high school to university, to more university, to MORE UNIVERSITY, and then you get a job. This emphasis on a University based education fails to take into account individual differences such as differing interests, lack of resources, learning disabilities, family constraints, illness in the family, and so forth. Marrakesh says: "I've had friends who went to college, and just by going to college, instead of university, they were shunned... .It's that kind of not fitting-in that eventually gets tiring because you feel like you're banging your head on the wall." In terms of committees, or being a counsel member, or being up in the elite, or producing that lovely magazine, Canadian Isma'TlT\ mean, you have to have a couple of degrees. You have to have a couple of scholarships, and if you've got a little bit of Harvard, a little bit of Stanford, a little bit of Oxford in you, even better! A second example of status attained only through certain kinds of achievements is seen in the magazine produced for an Isma'TlT audience, the Canadian Isma Hi. Marrakesh notes that in this magazine, children and young adults are honoured for being "all round students," which is not necessarily a bad thing, but "that's exclusively what they're being 151 honoured for." Marrakesh notes, "you are honoured for how many events you do. People are doing voluntary things so that they can put [them] on their resume versus really believing in what they did. And that's what the community I believe is encouraging." Also, the children and young adults in the magazine who are supposed to be role models do not include those individuals who are struggling to fit in. Recognition based on educational status alone, at the expense of experience or other personal qualities can promote the marginalization of many Isma'IlT women as Marrakesh noted: I don't even battle anymore about being involved in the community because the first thing that comes up is 'So, what's your PhD in?' And I go '.. .1 don't have a PhD...' So then it's like, everything you say is not valid. But then when you talk to these people who have the PhD's, some of them do have front line work,.. .but most of them don't. Khartoum commented on the issue of education. She vehemently pointed out that education is a positive attribute but that the emphasis on certain types of scholarship and on "meritocracy" has it's pitfalls: "I think education, regardless of what form it comes in, is extremely important and it doesn't have to be at an Ivy League school for it to have an impact. I have a problem with that." Regarding meritocracy, she explained that there are other factors that play a role in achieving success in this country, which are not mentioned in the community but which she noted was part of her experience: If I want to be the senior law partner in some big firm downtown, they are going to first check out my gender and the colour of my skin. Whether or not I can be one of the boys! And if they don't think that I can play the boy's game, then they will find something or some way to exclude me from the boys game and no matter how hard I work, I am not going to get that partnership. [Meritocracy is a] crock of shit! Khartoum clarified the impact on her due to this emphasis on meritocracy. She recounted: 152 Every stupid announcement coming from the council has this 'word' in it. But it's bullshit! We do not live in a meritocratic society! We live in a classist, colonialized, racist,...sexist, ageist, you name it. That's the society we live in. And we all make our deals with the devil to be able to make it through. This is a lie that we are in a meritocratic place and that we all have access to success if we merely excel. This is a lie! And I'm not sure why it's being sold. But it is one that I can look at and again feel angry and abandoned. A third possible way of achieving recognition, noted Marrakesh, can be accomplished when status is provided from outside the IsmaTii community. [If] someone else outside of the community acknowledged me. If I got a scholarship of some kind, a university gave me a position, I got an award, then the community would suddenly embrace me and say 'oh she's one of ours.' I can't stand that, I absolutely can't stand that. That makes me sick! Marrakesh emphasized that the recognition that she seeks from the community is based on the type of work she does, her accomplishments, and is not a form of approval. It's frustrating to know that I could literally sacrifice my life; work, work, work, work, work, doing work at a grassroots level forever, and the community would literally not acknowledge me....1 think there's a need for, not necessarily approval; just acknowledgment, acknowledgement, recognition, that the work that [I] do is important,.. .that it should be talked about; that [I] do have it! To illustrate this point, Cairo says that after she got tired of trying to volunteer in the Isma'TlT community who did not accept her, she became involved with the mainstream Girl Guides Movement in Kenya. She worked hard, believed strongly in empowering children with some "good values" such as team spirit, and voiunteerism by giving of her time and effort. Consequently, when she got older, around the age of 20, she quickly rose in the ranks until she reached the District Level. "I was called into the leadership ranks at a very young age." It was at this point that the community recognized her and let her lead the IsmaTii Rangers and teach religious classes to the "small children" in the evenings. However, Cairo was not disillusioned. She recalls that even though the community included her more, their perception of her did not change and the 153 classism continued. "From childhood they know who you are so they are not going to change their thinking of you, whatever you give back to them." Similar to Marrakesh's and Cairo's frustration due to lack of recognition, Khartoum says that she feels "unnoticed" because she does not fit a certain profile: "I don't fit that demographic. I am not going to Harvard... [or] an Ivy League school. I am not doing [a] MBA. I am not becoming a doctor; I am not becoming a lawyer. I am not doing any of those things." Khartoum says she feels excluded because the arts and culture are not given recognition: "I feel excluded when for years there hasn't been any talk about arts and culture, and the only conversation has come from people who are feeling excluded. And so now because some committee somewhere has decided that arts and culture" are important, so now it is acceptable. However, Khartoum points out: "I don't really feel included now, even though it's out there because it's lip service. So I [feel] excluded that way." This may be because although the arts are gaining acceptability and recognition at the Institutional level, especially with the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, acceptability and recognition of artists and designers among the general Isma'IlI population may be more gradual. Khartoum relates the role of the author Moez Vassanji and the lack of recognition of his work within the community: Moez Vassanji should be given big trophies and awards, and dinner nights in his honour. Because this man single handedly has recorded in a kind of fictional archive our history, our experience as a community in East Africa. Does this man get any respect? No! They treat him like shit! The Commonwealth Book Prize gives him an award. Does our community even bat an eyelash about the role this man is playing to us? NO! Why? I don't know. There's not a value I guess for what he's doing. 154 Although Vassanji has a doctorate in physics from Harvard, he never talks about it or writes it on his book covers because, according to Khartoum, "it's not something that's of value to him." In reality he wanted to become a writer and for approximately 20 years has been publishing a journal, four issues a year, with topics on "South Asian contemporary writing, North America wide." However, notes Khartoum, when Vassanji was studying, becoming a writer would not have been a welcomed endeavour: "there was no path open to this through the kind of accepted community roots." Khartoum describes Vassanji's impressive but unrecognized accomplishment: "He signs on with McClelland & Stewart, this is a big deal in the publishing world, to get a five book contract....It's huge, it's gynormous, nobody gets that without deserving it or without really working to get it. Khartoum reiterates the lack of recognition for the arts in the Isma'IlI world: [Vassanji and his wife] run a publishing company and they publish new authors... .Does our community give a shit? No! No! We are much more excited about some 20 year old jackass that comes out of Harvard MBA School who is working for some multinational conglomerate on Wall Street who are basically screwing poor people to rip down their tenements and build big, huge condos. We are much more excited about that kind of thing. The above description of the Isma'IlI community being proud of a hypothetical individual working for a large corporation that may not be concerned about all of the consequences of their actions on the welfare of others illustrates another point that both Khartoum and Marrakesh have mentioned. The concept of incorporating the ethics of Islam into all aspects of one's daily life. "Where is this ethic of Islam within the whole question of.. .how we make our living, and how we find meaning in the work that we do? Where is that ethic? I don't see it in many of my contemporaries." And this says Khartoum, 155 "really disturbs me." Khartoum concludes: "Me and Moez Vassanji; we're waiting for our dinners." This theme explored how recognition is generally achieved in the IsmaTlT world. Due to a lack of status, the participants of this study did not feel recognized by the community and as a result of this lack of recognition, the women felt marginalized. As an example, forms of achievement other than wealth are sometimes not acknowledged. The community chooses to emphasize the giving of material wealth rather than on voluntary service that can take on many different forms. In turn, financial donations are status related and can derive a great deal of recognition. Again, due to this emphasis on wealth, the community encourages careers that generate large earnings. The lack of higher education is another source of contention. In particular, by not taking into account personal interests and individual differences, some women felt marginalized. The third form in which recognition can be obtained based on status was from outside sources of approval. Cairo demonstrated how she was accepted by the mainstream Girl Guides Movement before she was accepted by the IsmaTii community. Khartoum feels excluded when the arts and cultural aspects of the community are not recognized, and is offended that writers such as Moez Vassanji have not yet been acknowledged and celebrated. FEELING SILENCED (OUTCOME) The censure when voicing concerns or the silencing that women can sometimes experience within the community are considered here (see Figure 4). Participants note that certain topics are openly discussed whereas others are conveniently ineffable. At times, difficult issues are denied existence in the Isma'TlT world. As a result of this 156 Figure 4: Themes of Silence Showing Topics Not Openly Discussed Silence 157 inability to speak freely, women may feel excluded and therefore marginalized. For example, other than behind closed doors of one's home, the only sanctioned places to discuss personal issues are during a pre-arranged appointment with a member of the Social Welfare Board, and quite recently a 24-hour confidential hotline has been introduced for individuals in distress. An associated concern for participants is the issue of confidentiality when accessing these services. Marrakesh alludes to the systemic silence that permeates the community. "People don't talk about the abuses that happen in the community. People don't talk about child sexual abuse, or.. .the violence against women, or.. .battering, or.. .women who are sexually assaulted, or.. .women who get pregnant." 'Don't wash your dirty laundry in public' is very much part of the Isma'Tli code of conduct. When I worked in the community, and wanted to do a project, and one of the issues that came up was around child sexual abuse. And a woman wanting to talk about that and the project would involve her telling her story. It was shut down. I realized that they didn't want those kind[s] of stories. In another instance, Marrakesh had a "friend who in their religious education class had brought up the issue of homophobia, and then was reprimanded for that because a parent said it was not an appropriate issue" to discuss. According to Marrakesh, there are unspoken rules as to which topics can be discussed openly: The community can deal with doing plays or doing community forums on parenting and the conflicts of parenting; like your son or daughter doesn't want to go to Khane let's talk about that, your son and daughter.. .doesn't want to speak your language what do you do about that, versus your son or daughter is suicidal; your son or daughter can't bear the colour of their skin in school; your son and daughter are coming out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual; your son or daughter is dating someone else outside of the community. We're not even there yet, no one wants to even talk about that... .For as progressive as we are, we're still very, very, conservative. 158 Marrakesh believes that the silence within the Jamat spills over into interactions outside of the community. Sometimes, as a community, we're way more Canadian than, we're just soo Canadian, we're soo glad to be Canadian that we don't want to challenge the structures [in the dominant society]. We don't talk about racism in the [larger] community, it's KILLING some of our kids in school, but we won't talk about that. Difficult issues are denied existence in the community: "We won't talk about addictions, we won't talk about that at all. We won't talk about all these nasty things; they're all outside of our community" [Marrakesh]. One of the other participants of this study was sexually abused by the "house boy" (male domestic worker in the home) as a child while residing in East Africa. However, she knew that going to the community or even her family was not an option. "It's something that the community doesn't acknowledge or talk about... .1 knew that I couldn't even say it to my mother. I was not able to talk about it with my mother and father until I was in my twenties." The participant was clear that she did not and would not receive support from the community on this issue: "that's another little piece of baggage that I have had to deal with on my own. No support from the community on that... .even I at 8 years old was not foolish enough to realize that this [social support] would happen for me." She notes that although the abuse did not impact her relationship with the community, it did impact her relationship with her family. Khartoum was clear that even in the present context of the community, acknowledgment and support for issues of sexual abuse are non-existent. One of the issues that makes it difficult to seek support from within the community is that of confidentiality, whether it is accessing the services of the Social Welfare Board or the 24 hour confidential hotline. Marrakesh says that it's very 159 important that confidentiality is maintained: "I know women who are doctors and people don't trust them even though they are bound to this ethical thing.. .because there's a lot of breaks of trust... .Would I go to an Isma'TlT health care provider? Lawyer? Probably not." Khartoum says that she is of two minds when it comes to talking about difficult or negative subjects within the community. "There is one part of me that says 'ya, let it all hang out and let's discuss it, lets all admit that we have these issues in our community.' There is a part of me that really advocates for that." On the other hand, Khartoum says that it may not be the appropriate approach for everyone because "not everybody is ready to have that kind of conversation." Therefore, Khartoum says she needs to find those individuals that are like-minded where she can have "that type of conversation." This process of having to find one's own support system, and social network according to Khartoum is "slow [and] frustrating, but at the moment, in terms of the development of this community, in terms of actually being able to discuss anything negative, that's where we're at." Khartoum does protest the censorship role that the Isma'TlT Council plays, however. She notes that although Vassanji has written "a fictional archive of our history" in the form of short stories, he cannot call the characters in his book Isma'TlTs so he calls them the 'Shamzis'. The reason for the substitution of the word 'Isma'TlT?' "Because we are not allowed to do that. There is some edict somewhere." Khartoum elaborates on the role of censorship: "If Isma'TlT artists call themselves Isma'TlTs in the public sphere, [the administration].. .will come and make your life a living hell." The reason for this censorship is that the work would represent all Isma'TlTs in the larger community. "The 160 minute you say T am an Isma'IlT,' they [the Isma'IlT Council] are on you.. .they want to approve it, they want to consume it, they want to own it.. .And I am talking about the institutions." Khartoum does not believe that anyone has the right to carry out such a censorship role: "This is what I don't understand yet, why is it that they believe that they have all this power over us? Like where do they get this idea?" That is why, "the way to get out of the censorship role is to not call yourself 'Isma'IlT'. This is what we have to do in order to get work done." To summarize the theme of 'feeling silenced,' participants noted that certain topics are taboo and cannot be openly discussed and at times, difficult issues are denied existence in the Isma'IlT world. Marrakesh believes that the silence within the Jamat spills over into interactions outside of the community such as in the case of racism by the dominant culture. As a result of this inability to speak freely, many women feel excluded and therefore marginalized. Figure 4 illustrates some of the topics that are taboo in the community. This lack of open discussion prevents the means by which to seek solutions, and support women in difficult circumstances, as was the case of the sexual abuse victim. One of the issues that makes it difficult to seek support from within the community is that of confidentiality. Marrakesh says she would not access the resources of an Isma'IlT professional for this reason. Khartoum resents and is angered by the censorship role the Isma'IlT Council plays. Not being able to identify oneself as 'Isma'IlT' prevents full expression of one's identity, and leads artists and writers to go underground, working from a position of false names and pretence. 161 DISENGAGEMENT DUE TO THE STRUGGLES OF NOT FITTING IN (OUTCOME) As a consequence of the discrimination faced by participants of this study, the 6 women voluntarily decided to disengage or distance themselves in different ways from the Isma'IlT community. This theme therefore, explores the feelings and experiences of belonging to the Isma'IlT community and the struggles involved in such a venture for some Isma'IlT women. All of the participants expressed a desire in their past, if not in the present, to belong to or fit into the community. Each of the women tried in their own way to find their niche, but eventually realized that fitting in.would involve a personal cost or a loss to one's identity that was too great and therefore was not a suitable option. This led to their voluntary choice to disengage or distance themselves from the community In an attempt to fit in, Marrakesh was "actively involved in the community" on a regular basis from the age of 2 until the age of 11, by attending the Jama'at Khana services several times a week, including religious education classes once a week, religious camps for children, and religious celebrations (three times a year). Although not all of her friends were Isma'IlT, she did have a "circle of friends" from within the community. Marrakesh looked forward to attending the Jama'at Khana services especially on Khushyali, and meeting with friends. She describes in the following: "we used to [go to] Khane a lot. Khane was a big thing.. .For a long time I had enjoyed it.. .very much because I felt a part of something there. I still saw myself as a member of the community." Marrakesh notes that she was "trying to fit in, but [at the same time] not, not quite ever fitting in." 162 After the age of 11, Marrakesh began to realize that she definitely did not fit in: "looking around and just noticing that I didn't fit in." Marrakesh notes that developmental changes as well as her personality may have played a role in this realization. For example, when describing her personality she says: "I was very quiet, I was very shy,.. .as a young girl I wasn't very vocal." Developmentally, Marrakesh notes that she was trying to "become [her] own person" and began a sort of resistance phase. She began to resist the idea of having to fit in by looking the same as the other girls. I think the first big argument ever was around 'I don't want to dress up, I don't want to wear these outfits, I don't want to have to look a certain way to go to Khane'. And that was sort of the first battle... .It was around looks, it was around what you wear, and how you wear it, and what all the other girls are wearing. And try to fit in with that. Marrakesh explains that fitting in is linked to one's socio-economic class; "we didn't come from a family with lots of money.. .we fit in [up to a point], but we weren't like the rest of the community." I just always knew that the family that I came from worked very hard to make their money and struggled. So it wasn't like, that we came from money or that we had money or that it was easy, there was no easiness about it. So, it was a big deal when I got a new dress for Khushyali. It was a big deal because I knew, at this point, I can reflect back and know there was a big financial cost for that, when both parents are working and struggling to do that. Why is there such a need to fit in? According to Marrakesh, "there is a pressure to fit in and that pressure.. .means that as a child you dress up so you look like the rest of the kids." And the reason for looking like everyone else in the community is "so [that] people don't know that you're coming from a family that doesn't make a lot of money." Everyone has to look really good. You all have [to].. .feign middle class, because everyone in the community is middle class. Whether or not you are or not, and whether or not it's a struggle, whether.. .you are working a 24 hour shift, at whatever, like a factory,.. .doing whatever; you're still going to make sure that 163 you look like you don't do that work... .And that.. .you're like a doctor, or lawyer, or whatever...instead of...what you [really] do. For some women, the conflict between wanting to fit in, wanting to be a part of the Isma'TlT community and attend services at Jama'at Khana, and realizing that they did not fit in was painful: "It was very, very painful because I thought I just don't fit in. I felt very crazy... .1 wanted to be a part of...little groups that formed not only the popular people but who do things with each other, afterwards" [Marrakesh]. After struggling to fit in and realizing that belonging to the community would be too great a task, each of the participants made a decision to disengage or distance themselves in various ways from the community. Marrakesh realized that she was not going to fit in and that she was not willing to pay the "huge price" that was necessary to fit in. "I realized I can't fit in, I'm not willing to pay the price to fit in,.. .so then through that, there was turmoil.. .I'm not going to look like the other women in the community. I don't want to." Another aspect of this decision, was the fact that Marrakesh did not believe in marriage and wanted to remain single and this she thought would inevitably make it difficult for her to fit in. For Marrakesh, the transition from thinking of herself as a member of the Isma'TlT community and trying to fit in more fully, to that of someone who is on the periphery of the community and probably would never fit in, was not smooth. Feelings of loss and grief accompanied the decision to disengage from the community along with the following realizations: "I'm not going to be this nice Isma'TlT girl, with this nice Isma'TlT husband, and 2.5 kids with a nice car. That's not going to be me and that loss I still deal with a lot." Marrakesh adds "there [is a] part of me that will always be very sad about that. Until the present day, Marrakesh wonders if she could fit into that prescribed box, 164 not just in pretence but "visibly," marry an Isma'IlT man, and play that role. She also feels sad that her parents will not be able to host a wedding for her, a public celebration for their daughter, because she does not believe in marriage. In response to not feeling comfortable in the community, Marrakesh stopped attending services as well as religious education classes at the Jama'at Khana around the age of 11 and returned only on occasion. She had a group of diverse friends, her two closest friends being non-lsma'llls. She recalls: "my Isma'IlI relationships started to slip away just because we weren't growing at the same pace in terms of our day-to-day time or what we were thinking about." I sort of went in and out of the community and had chunks of time in there. What I found when I did that, was that things never changed, people's perceptions never changed. Like my whole world was opening up, I was thinking about new things, I was challenging things about how we think about things, or questioning the faith, or just questioning in general around how the community operates, or even as individuals [just] talking,.. .1 was up against really monolithic traditional thinking that couldn't move. After realizing that she could not fit in and let go of that expectation, Marrakesh says she felt more relaxed and comfortable. "There's loss with letting go" and grief "because you know you'll never fully be accepted by this community and this community will never fully understand you, and you will never seek full support from this community." However, what follows is a sense of "comfort and relaxation in getting to know yourself better, and feeling more confident in yourself, and saying this is who I am.. .[and] I'm not willing to change myself to fit into the community." Marrakesh slowly reduced her attendance to Jama'at Khana after the age of 11. In her early to late teens, she attended irregularly, and in her late teens she went occasionally. She describes her experience of occasionally attending the Jama'at Khana 165 at the present time. Marrakesh says she feels nervous just before entering because she knows that she does not fit in, and is cautious because she is afraid she may make a mistake, "knowing people are watching." She mentions getting a lot of stares because people are wondering who she is; no one talks to her the entire time especially if it's a Jama'at Khana that she does not normally attend, and subsequently the experience is of a "very solitary act." Marrakesh offers her opinion based on her experiences as an integral member of the Isma'IlT community, a formula for getting accepted in the Isma'IlT community: As long as you can maintain the status quo in the community, you'll do fine. Marry an Isma'IlT man, and make money, and have kids and buy a home, and do your job outside. Give your money, go to the Partnership walks, donate some money here and there and make nandi.. .and make sure you're always getting a new car every year then you're fine. Like you're totally set.. .your life in the community is [a] bliss. Again, Marrakesh offers from her observations in the community, the rewards for getting accepted in the Isma'IlT community: "You get praise, and prayers, it's just great! I mean you're set, you get accepted by the community, you are part of this community, you get your membership." However, Marrakesh continues... What worries me about it is when you are not happy, the price you pay... .How many women are discontent in their relationships but stay in them, or there's abuse going on,...and [they stay] to keep up this front,.. .and that's what I don't like. And I think there's a price because women lose their identities. There are women who are still losing their identities, even the women who are the progressive 20, 30-something women, who are basically replicated models. Marrakesh outlines the rewards for marrying within the community. "There is this ease and privilege of having a relationship that fits within the community. Because you get to go to events and nobody looks twice." Marrakesh exclaims: "YOU GET INVITED!" Usually, single women living on their own, divorced, or widowed women 166 are less likely to be included in other family's homes, and social events. She cites an incident with an interracial couple that attended a community event. "They weren't treated badly, people were respectful, and polite and nice, but you knew that they were outside the community. When holding their baby, Marrakesh notes that the first thing the mother said to her was 'the name is Muslim.' Marrakesh interpreted this as the mother having to justify that the baby was Muslim. Marrakesh compares this incident to her own situation and states that she would have the same problem if she decided to have a baby on her own. "Everything is cased in having a man in your life.. .the whole chanta ceremony around babies [where] the husband plays a role." So if Marrakesh decided to have a baby on her own and entered the community once again, and announced that she wanted to raise her child in the Isma'TlT faith, she wonders how that would work. "I don't think that would go over well. And it's like the year 2000. I still don't think it would go over well." As a child, Istanbul attended Jama'at Khana regularly "and [did] everything that an Isma'TlT person is expected to be doing. And I was quite involved in the community and in the religious activities." She describes having a diverse group of friends, "I had some native Ugandan friends, non-Isma'TlI friends like other Muslim friends, I had Hindu friends and a couple were Isma'TlT friends at that time." Istanbul provided an account of her first disaffirming experience within the community at the age of 14: "my first experience of separation came about..." when Istanbul says she was having a conversation with her Sunni Muslim friend who expressed to her that non-Isma'TlTs could not attend the Jama'at Khana during the prayer services. Istanbul had henceforth not 167 been aware of this regulation. She inquired with her mother who confirmed her reservations: And I tried to question why that was, and I didn't get any satisfactory answers. And that really struck me. It impacted me greatly because it was my first experience at how the community excluded people, people of other races and religions. So that is a form of discrimination, or that is discrimination on a racial level. And so because I didn't get any satisfactory answers around that, I started to feel like I am not wanting to be a part of it. From then I was starting to question a lot of other things about the religion, and not really getting any satisfactory answers, ever. Also, when I questioned, I was sort of looked at as, 'why are you questioning, you shouldn't be questioning these things. Just accept things as they are. You shouldn't be questioning,' that in itself is a sin of some sort. So because of that, I started to separate myself from the community. Istanbul depicts that it was a difficult time for her. She recalls that when she had opinions that were different from others, she felt "ostracized from the community." Two years later, at the age of 16, Istanbul immigrated to a town in Canada where she and her sister were the only Isma'llls, and the only people of colour. She, therefore, had no contact with any other Isma'llls or the community for 3 years. "I didn't really miss that. What I was missing was being around other people of colour and especially African people." These first 3 years in Canada, Istanbul attended high school where she notes: "I was experiencing a different type of racism. Well, not a different type of racism, but I was experiencing racism there as well, being only one of two people of colour." The incident through which Istanbul learned that her friend could not attend the Jama'at Khana for prayers and the subsequent lack of "satisfactory" answers gradually led Istanbul away from the Isma'IlI faith. Istanbul referred to a number of religious differences throughout the interview that she holds against the Isma'Tli religion. They were not included, however, as difficulties with the tariqah were not the focus of this study. In sum, Istanbul said that she "had lots of questions, and basically no responses. I was even asked not to question... .1 didn't want to be part of a community or religion that excluded other people." Istanbul concludes that this still bothers her because "things haven't changed in that area and I am not sure why. On further inquiry, Istanbul clarified that this type of exclusion still bothers her "to a very great extent" because it "discriminates. It's racism in it's truest form. If you are excluding people because of their race or religion, that's racism. And I really disagree with [that] because I have felt the impact of racism, I know how damaging it is." Istanbul concluded that she was not sure whether this regulation was part of the religion or a social construction, but said that it "felt that it was more of a social rule, because in a true Islamic tenet everybody is welcome." On further exploration, Istanbul recalled her early childhood and her fundamental views regarding the religion: "when I was a child, I would go to Khane and I enjoyed certain kinds of social things, meeting friends, it was a place to socialize as well... .So I don't think I ever felt that strongly about the religion itself." Istanbul explains: "but that's again a childhood thing where I don't think that any child feels very connected to a religion, that comes later as an adult. You develop a stronger connection, you develop it or you don't." According to Istanbul's timeframe, it was too late by the time she was 14 to then develop that connection because she had already started to question the faith. At the age of 18, Istanbul graduated from High School and moved to Vancouver to attend UBC. I was really happy [to attend UBC] because now I was in contact with lots of people of colour. And I remember the first person I saw at campus was an African man and I just went and hugged him. I said 'ohh, somebody from home!' So I was really happy about that. But again, my involvement with the [IsmaTii] community was minimal... .1 stayed away from them. 169 After the age of 18, Istanbul noted that she explored a number of other religions: "I have been to mosques, churches, Buddhist temples. I have been to native spiritual ceremonies and explored different things. And I came to the conclusion that I didn't like any organized religion." Istanbul explained that she is a "very spiritual person," but then "there is a pure form of the religion, and there is all the dogma around it.. .in most organized religions.. .which I didn't want to be a part of." Damascus described her relationship to the community and why she felt marginalized. She noted that although she grew up with a sense of class and privilege she had the perception of "always feeling marginalized. Always feeling not as good as the others in the Isma'TlT community." Damascus attributes part of this feeling to the fact that her father was abusive towards her entire immediate family including her mother, and also to the sense of isolation in dealing with the problem: "I didn't know that everybody else was having similar problems. At school,.. .1 couldn't tell anyone what had happened the night before, we had these huge crises and beatings." As a consequence, "you always feel that you are living a lie. That was part of the beginning of my feeling a sense of disconnection from the Isma'TlT community." The other problem that Damascus identifies as leading to her sense of marginalization was her parent's drive to Europeanize the children. "We were learning German, French, and English and we were not learning Kutchi and Gujarati. And so we didn't.. .connect with kids of our age, the Kutchi jokes that people would tell... we would feel a bit outside." In addition, Damascus was taught "European" ways of behaving and describes her family as "non-traditional." For example, says Damascus, "[my father] taught us to drink wine at the 170 age of 8 because he wanted us to grow up like the French, [and] take different parts of different cultures." At the age of 12, Damascus was sent to Boarding School abroad. This theme illustrated the struggles involved in living within the Isma'TlT social order as a consequence of in-group discrimination. All of the 6 marginalized women in this study decided to disengage from the community in some way. Marrakesh, Istanbul, and Damascus rarely attend Jama'at Khana services, and socialize with Isma'TlTs on a limited basis. Khartoum, Cairo, and Tunis have greatly reduced their attendance to Jama'at Khana to once a week and on auspicious occasions; they try to keep their social contact to a minimum, and Khartoum and Cairo take their children to Bait' ul-ilm. The transition for some of the women was a difficult process with feelings of loss and grief as described by Marrakesh. Some of the costs of being accepted, and the rewards for acceptance by the community were also briefly outlined by Marrakesh. T H E C O N S E Q U E N C E S O F M A R G I N A L I Z A T I O N O N F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S H I P S ( O U T C O M E ) Some of the consequences of being marginalized and feeling discriminated in one's faith and community of origin are described in relationship to one's family. The participants' perspectives of the hopes of family members for them regarding their relationship to the faith and the community are also described. Marrakesh notes that she has a very good relationship with her parents. I think they really love me, and they think I'm doing a good job, and they know I do good work. But there's still a pull, 'why won't you come to Khane more? Why? They're very excited when I go to Khane and I meet friends,.. .they think it will be my hook back into the community... .But I've been burned too many times in the community to actually have any desire to go back. 171 Khartoum says at first her family was "really uncomfortable" with her relationship to the community, but they have since come to accept her choices: "I find that they have come to genuinely respect my road." In addition, her parents are "happy that the kids go to Khane and they go to Bait-ul 'ilm and they're happy with that. They like to take the kids to Khane, both sets of parents, and that's fine." Cairo's family has a similar outlook. Although they agree with Cairo that discrimination exists they would prefer to see Cairo be more involved in the community. At the same time, they are happy that Cairo is attending at least once a week and they know and understand her limitations. Given Tunis' young age, her relationship with her mother is more tenuous. The first area of difficulty is around dress and appearance: "A lot of women my age have long hair, wear make up, dress a certain way,.. .and I am not really into that. I sometimes feel pressured especially from my mom.. .and that really bothers me." Tunis explained that "to be non-conformist is not really welcome." Probing further into why her mother might want Tunis to conform, Tunis explained that her mother wants her to be "like everyone else" so that she may "fit in with everybody" and therefore attract a "boyfriend" that she could eventually wed, and have lots of friends to socialize with. Second, as mentioned above, Tunis feels pressured by her mother to find a boyfriend. She noted that she feels this pressure from the community as well. Tunis said that there is an expectation that there is "something wrong if people are not, or women are not married by a certain age. People wonder why women are not married, and if they are not married they are past their prime or stupid ideas like that." Tunis described what her marriage would mean to her mother: "She would be thrilled. To her the most 172 important thing is for [her] children to get married. That to me is not a priority. I find that with a lot of the Isma'IlT families... .Fair enough, but not for me." Tunis recounted her mother's pleas for marriage which she has to withstand: "When are you going to get married?.. .Why aren't you dating? Why aren't you like the other girls? Why don't you go out more? Why don't you find a guy and your life will be so much [more] exciting?" A third area of contention between Tunis and her family revolves around the tenets of the religion. Tunis said her mother is not pleased when she asks questions regarding the faith. Tunis would prefer to delve deeper into religious issues to obtain the significance of certain tariqah matters but this is not encouraged. According to Tunis, her mother would like her to fit in, which entails "the clothing, going to Khane a lot, having boyfriends, going out a lot, not questioning too much, not being rebellious, conforming, things like that." Tunis reiterated that "there is not much room to be different" either in her own family or in the community where she goes to Khane. "I am under a lot of pressure from my mom, to conform to what [an] Isma'IlT girl should be." Istanbul explained that she has had a good experience within her family whilst growing up in Uganda but that her family is the exception to the rule. "I have been fortunate because my immediate family has been very supportive, and have given me a lot of freedom ever since I was a child! I had a lot of freedom, in fact too much I think." Istanbul went on to mention how she was different from other Isma'llls and this was acceptable to her parents. "I was never really questioned about certain behaviours within my immediate family. I was always quite a bit different, especially as a child. I had many friends of diverse ethnic backgrounds so that wasn't common with other Isma'Tlis." Istanbul clarifies "other Isma'Tlis used to hang out with other Isma'llls only. So at that 173 time, I was perceived as different and I never was questioned from my family." Istanbul notes that the freedom of choice she experienced within her family was not limited to friendships: My other choices in life, not wanting to get married. I got a little bit hassled about that but not much. And any choices of living by myself, I have lived on my own basically since I was 16, and being socially active. So all of my choices have been supported. Istanbul described how she enjoys spending time with family members but at the same time, there are costs and compromises she has to make in order to maintain the relationships. Istanbul remarked that she sometimes becomes frustrated when interacting with her siblings and extended family members because they hold racist views: "there is a lot of racism towards Africans. Most of them [Istanbul's relations] came from Uganda and Kenya, and they brought that [racism] with them. And that bothers me so much." Istanbul underlines that she has a very different perspective from her relations: I keep telling them, 'you're very fortunate that [you] were kicked out,' because the native Ugandans were killed by the thousands. It wasn't a racial thing because even the native Ugandans were killed... .So they were fortunate that they didn't at least die. That they had somewhere else to go. Istanbul concludes that she has to "pace" herself with regards to the amount of contact she has with her family: "racism is very prevalent, and sexism, homophobia, even within my immediate and extended families. And it's hard for me to be around a lot of that... .Their whole perception is very different from mine." Istanbul surmises that it is hard for her to hear such comments and refutes some of their comments sometimes but says that it is futile in the long run because she does not perceive any change. "They are in one space and I am in another space about everything," says Istanbul but at the same time she does not want to completely sever ties with her family. "I compromise... .my 174 own principles because by being with them I am complicit in their racism, and complicit in their sexism. So that's a huge compromise." Istanbul expressed her family's displeasure for not attending Jama'at Khana or participating in praying at all: "especially my mom doesn't like it and [she] is always pushing me to go to Khane....The difficult times are when du'a (the prayer) is being said and I don't want to be a part of that." Istanbul says it has been "quite difficult," with her extended family but above all with her mother, to express to them her displeasure with the religion and her lack of interest in participating: "my mother always wanted me to.. .at least go to Khane regularly, or once in a while anyway. And it's upsetting for her if I don't, especially on important occasions, or what they think are important occasions." To summarize, this theme looked at some of the consequences of being marginalized and feeling discriminated in one's faith in relationship to one's family. The participants' perspectives of the hopes of family members for them, regarding their relationship to the faith and the community were described. All of the parents of the participants felt that the women should attend Jama'at Khana more frequently, but were understanding if they did not. Relationships between the participants' and their parents ranged from very good in the case of Marrakesh and Istanbul to feeling "a lot of pressure" to fit in and to marry, in the case of Tunis. Tunis described the most difficulty with her mother. The above nine themes described the various types of discrimination, the reaction of the participants in terms of their feelings, their behaviour, at times their perceptions of the Isma'TlT community, and how they distanced themselves from the community as a result of the discrimination and marginalization. Five of the themes dealt with the causes 175 of discrimination, and four of the themes were outcomes of how the discrimination affected the participants. THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THE DISCRIMINATION OCCURS: The next part of the results explores the context in which the above nine themes develop. Included below are the participants' deductions and conceptualizations based on their own experiences as well as from conversing with other Canadian Isma'llls. For example, the Kenyan Isma'llls' history with the British system was mentioned as partly responsible for giving rise to the classism, racism, and institutional structure presently observed in the community. Relationships with Other Ethnic Communities Marrakesh presented her view of the relationship between Isma'llls and other Indo-Canadian groups in Vancouver. She noted that most of the Isma'llls presently living in Canada are of Indian origin, having lived in East Africa for 3, sometimes 4 or 5 generations, and so Marrakesh said that we are a "displaced people." In fact, according to Marrakesh, there is "a whole denial within the community that we're even Indian... .Most people will not identify themselves as Indian... .Because we separate ourselves from Punjabis and Hindus and all those... imp lying [that we're] better; we're more educated, we make more money," and so forth. Marrakesh added that this type of classism is "awful... [and] it doesn't endear us to anybody else in the Indian community because they don't even see us as Indian....[neither do we] see ourselves as Indian." Relationship with the Dominant Community This next section delves into culturally shared opinions, and ways of making sense of the Isma'IlI migratory experience as offered by the participants. Also discussed 176 is the possible link between the colonial past and internalized racism experienced in East Africa and the present day discrimination witnessed within the Isma'Tli community. The section ends with the document submitted by Khartoum to depict her experiences of an Isma'IlT woman living in Canada but still struggling with her colonized past. Khartoum explained that colonialism is a "social, political, and even a religious structure in which a culture or a peoples that want to rule another people have to make up reasons why it is their right [to] rule the other peoples." Khartoum provided her conceptualization of how colonization began. She begins by explaining how the first European settlers and explorers sold the idea to the general public in their respective countries: They go abroad and they have met all these different cultures and then they go home and say 'this is what we met out there. We met barely civilized people and they really need our help. And they need the help of the church. And they need our help to govern and rule them. They are running around lawless....And they need our help to become more civilized.. ..They sell this to the British public and to the European public and everybody is like 'oh yes, of course, yes. We have the right to take resources from these people because clearly they don't know what to do with them. They are ignorant, and...stupid.' And they come and they help themselves without ever once really trying to.. .understand what that culture is about. Khartoum then described how the colonists "decimated aboriginal cultures" in North and South America but when asked how this related to Isma'Tlis in East Africa, she gave the example of her parents who lived in Nairobi their entire lives. My parents grew up during apartheid. My uncle ran a 'coloureds only' hotel. They had restaurants for 'coloureds only.' And you couldn't go into a White restaurant and you couldn't go pee in a White toilet, and you couldn't do all of these things... .That way of living.. .plays havoc on your psyche, it plays with your sense of self, your sense of your own power, what you are able to do and not,.. .how much you are able to protect.. .and provide for your family. It's all restricted by whatever the glass ceiling is. 177 Elaborating on the structure of apartheid during the 1940s and 1950s, Khartoum illuminated as follows: And the British set it up that way so they would be at the top, the browns in the middle, and the Blacks at the bottom. They set it up as a colour hierarchy, [and] shame on us because we gave them the idea because they took it from the cast system... .The cast system is structured partly by people's jobs, and [partly] by what they are born into. It's a sad and messy horrible truth but it's true. Delineating how this conceptualization of history affects IsmaTlIs in present day Canada, Khartoum described her mother's experience who has been living in Canada for the past 30 years: So then Independence comes in '63 and they are still behaving that way: 'White is Right,' whoever says it, as long as he's a White person, he's right. It has taken them a really long time to unlearn that... .It's been devastating, what's happened to them. And then what's happened to us. My mother for example, only recently has been able to talk back to White people and say: 'No, I am standing in line, you have to go behind me.' This separation of the races in the early 1900s in East Africa, according to Khartoum, has been internalized and brought to Canada a century later. In practical terms, this internalized racism translates into a mistrust of other cultures and groups of people. "You can't go out with anybody White because they are dangerous. That's their experience. They are dangerous and you never know when they are going to turn on you or do something horrible to you. You just never know." Khartoum explained that this kind of mistrust is "part of the construction" because the "distrust between groupings.. .keeps everyone in their place." When inquiring as to how these internalized lessons from colonial times manifest in our present day life Khartoum replied that "we have that. We live it. And we walk it." For example, there are "judgements on people," if people begin to behave "too much like this society, behaving too much like White people, that's a problem. If you're developing habits like White people's habits 178 then... .It's judgemental and competitive." Khartoum added that the hierarchical nature of the council system and institutions was acquired from the British because it was previously non-existent when the IsmaTlIs lived in Persia and India. "We were not organized like this previously. This model of governing comes from the British... .It's like a corporate hierarchy... [but] it actually started.. .like a British government hierarchy with it's departments. There are direct parallels to how things have been structured." In sum, Khartoum attributed apartheid and later colonialism as the causes for some of the judgements within the community, the hierarchical nature of the institutions, and some of the present beliefs and interactions between IsmaTlIs and Caucasians. In conclusion, Marrakesh presented her view of the relationship between IsmaTlIs and other Indo-Canadian groups in Vancouver. Essentially, she described how some IsmaTlIs have rejected their Indian identity in order to set themselves apart from the other Indians making it a class issue. Other participants of this study made sense of, or interpreted their experiences in the IsmaTii world including the IsmaTH migratory experience by linking colonialism to the present-day discrimination observed in the community. Below is the document submitted by Khartoum to augment the discussion of her experience as an IsmaTii woman presently living in Canada. The document is a picture of an art piece she created and exhibited. The explanation and a description of the various meanings attached to the art work are presented in conversational style directly from the transcript from the interview with Khartoum with some minor changes for grammar and brevity to reflect Khartoum's dedication and intense passion for the topic. This is followed by a short glossary and a summary of the concepts in the art work. 179 Figure 5. Document Submitted as part of Data Collection: Art Work by Khartoum 180 181 Description of the Art piece by Khartoum. Discussing how Khartoum represented the community in her artwork, she had the following to say: . i, . . , Kar: I am very conscious of what goes out there. This piece has the word 'Allah' on one side. That's the only kind of reference that this could have been done by a Muslim. I don't go out and say, 'Look over here, I am an Isma'IlT.' Partly because I have been conditioned [not] to, but I also feel that sometimes there is no need to say it. Those who know it, will know it. And there is a swastika on [the other] side [The swastika is part of Indian mythology and culture]. Q: Would you like to describe it? What is it about? Kar: It's a chest of drawers and it was in two shows but one of the shows was about 'The Body' and so for me that was a very private [issue]; so showing myself in the nude was not even an option for me. The context was, the show was sponsored by a studio that does nude sketching, which is a very normal, it's a very conventional part of Western art practice; sketching the nude. They were doing a show about the body and they wanted different cultural perspectives. And in my case it was like, 'we're not doing that,' 'we're not going there,' because that's not where we go in my cultural perspective. Q: Your culture or your religion? Kar: It's all the same as far as I'm concerned. Q: Isma'TlTsm is also a culture not only a religion? Kar: Yah, I am not saying that every Isma'IlT has its own, has the same culture. The faith is influenced by the culture and the culture is influenced by the faith. So let's just say that there is a reciprocal arrangement there. Q: You couldn't show yourself naked, so this was what you came up with? 182 Kar: So what I did was I showed my hands and my feet. And then on either side [of the chest] was ME as my 'Western self and the other side was ME as my 'Eastern self. So I was in a sari-blouse [outfit]. And I am sticking my tongue out, very irreverent. And then on top there is a bottle of vanishing cream and the 'mirror mirror on the wall who's the fairest of them all?' It's not me [Replies Khartoum and then chuckles]. And then each drawer had different things about my experience. So the first one was everything I have been taught about being brown, as a child. So there was like 'little black Sambo,' 'Mogli,' and 'Barbi' in there; and various comments about what was considered beautiful and normal and what was considered not. What was ugly and reprehensible. And the second [drawer] was 10 racist things that people say to me on a daily basis. And they were all pinned in a shadow box just like butterflies. As [though] they were these very precious things that people [have told me]. So the whole thing was about how people just spout this stuff [out], and they don't even think. Yet we carry them around and remember each one, and we take them out, and we savour each little thing. It's a very negative experience, and a very, very negative process but that's how we treat them. Like they are these really beautiful, delicate things. Because we are so hurt by it that we hold them for so long before we can let them go. And so that was like a point in time, when you are savouring all that stuff. And so relishing your victimhood, you know that feeling of.... Q: What does the sari represent? Kar: Background...cultural background, literally. Q: The skin [dotted print on top of the chest] reminded me of Africa, like a Zebra skin, is that what it is? Kar: No, it's actually a shawl. It's a photocopy of a shawl. And then I have collaged it on. And then all this [orange border] is sort of done like Mehndi. Q: When I first saw it, I thought it was a combination of African motif and Indian? The orange colour is Indian so I thought it was like a blend of the two. Is that what you had in mind? Kar: I wasn't conscious of it looking like animal skin, but I think that's great that that came through because it means that one more point of my identity got expressed without my even realizing it. Q: The hairbrush and the mirror is very much like the colonial period? Kar: Yes. Q: You see the old movies of the Serengeti, and the woman would have these kinds of things in her bag. • Kar: Yah in the middle of bloody nowhere! Yes, that is what I had in mind. That whole thing you know, / must brush my hair a hundred times before I go to bed. And the notion of 'Snow White,' and 'Who's the fairest of them all in the mirror?' No, it's not me. The vanishing cream, I put it on. I'm trying to 'White myself and really I just become invisible. The poem, it was a statement to the colonizer [something to the effect of], 'I'm not your whipping boy.' Glossary Allah Arabic word for God in Islam Mehndi Henna Some of the concepts alluded to by Khartoum in the above narrative include colonization of the African Continent; sensitivity to cultural and religious traditions by not appearing in the nude, and by not directly 184 referring to the Isma'TlT tariqah; using the swastika, part of Indian culture as a symbol of Indian identity; the intermingling relationship between culture and religion; the two identities—Eastern and Western; the internalization of racism in the form of body image, loathing one's skin colour, wanting to be White—not only in colour but also in behaviour; and finally the effect of racism on one's psyche and the work required to process the hurtful instances of racism. RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COMMUNITY Presented here are the participants' recommendations to the community, and some of the issues that participants would like to see addressed before they can feel comfortable in the community again. Many of the recommendations revolve around the hierarchical structure of the Institutions and Councillor system; social attitudes and discriminatory behaviours such as feeling silenced, in addition to the other themes presented previously; and the lack of inclusivity of marginalized individuals in the community. Marrakesh suggests a change in the balance of how the faith is presented within the Jama'at Khana setting as well as some changes in commonly held attitudes of the Jamat. Marrakesh believes that there is far too great an emphasis on achievement and not enough on spiritual awareness, and that the balance between material and spiritual is "not heightened enough." She also feels that when spiritual matters are talked about, they are "conveyed in very economic terms" encouraging to "contribute financially" and honorary service is talked about in a very insular manner, encouraging to contribute within the community. She suggests that spiritual aspects as well as the Ten Commandments or the 185 "do's and don'ts" for leading better moral lives should be emphasized more during the congregational services. Marrakesh believes that the community is very judgemental in its approach to social issues versus adopting a compassionate standpoint, implying that this is outdated and would like to see it changed. Growing up as a teenager, I remember seeing someone in the mosque,.. .a teenage girl, 17,.. .1 used to come regularly so I'd see her, and then I didn't see her for a long time, and the next time I saw her, she had a baby and I thought 'my God did you have to stay away from the community the whole time that you were pregnant because it's not acceptable?' The incident prompted Marrakesh to question the values of the community. I began to wonder 'are we still living in.. .the kind of world where we don't support the birth of a child whether it's by the fact that you are a single woman choosing to have a child, a woman who has gotten pregnant accidentally, or was sexually assaulted and kept her baby or whatever the circumstances are, that we would try to hide that?'.. .1 think where is the.. .real humanity or compassion of the community? Because I know that that's not the case and there's a lot of judgement in the community. In order to increase communication among JamatI members, including marginalized individuals, Marrakesh noted that she would attend an Isma'IlI group or a meeting if there were other individuals from the "periphery" and if there was a "shared agenda from both the community and the people on the peripheral perspective." Unfortunately, at this time, she does not trust the community enough to share her problems in a meaningful way because she no longer "trusts" that the community is wanting to change or even to try to change and address issues of concern. "I think that my opinion of the community is very negative at this point in the social way it manifests; in the way it deals with issues." 186 Marrakesh had a suggestion for eliminating the "huge" class differences. She suggests having a dress code for the women and men similar to a uniform: "All of us, everyone, wearing the exact same thing, the exact same colour.. .to the mosque and for all events... .and no jewellery allowed," except for a wedding band and watch "but people aren't wearing huge sets" of jewellery. At the same time, Marrakesh realizes: "I don't know how that would work, I don't think anyone would want to come." Generally speaking however, Marrakesh is not very hopeful of major changes as "it would require getting up strength, and speaking out, and making changes,... [and] the vulnerability in that is too hard." For example, "it's too hard being working class and [openly] saying 'I'm working class,' it's too emotionally difficult." In addition, there isn't the support for women to be open about issues of "violence and abuse," body image, disabilities, homophobia, and so on. At the same time, Marrakesh is hopeful for smaller changes. She sees individuals especially of the next generation "pushing the boundaries." The way Marrakesh envisions this change is IsmaTlIs speaking on issues of poverty, drugs, addictions, abuse, and so on in the public arena without necessarily identifying themselves as IsmaTii. Individuals in the community, however, would know that they are Isma'TlT and then the community would have to "deal with it." Similar to Marrakesh, Cairo believes that it is too difficult for individuals facing discrimination to fight for change. "People do not want to talk about it. Do not want to deal with it because it is too painful and they are at a level of being despondent. In the sense that they just move along with their lives." Cairo is also not hopeful for change. "They [individuals] go and look for other solutions, they seek other solutions but do not 187 get to the root cause of it. It is a very, very challenging area for anybody to get involved in." Cairo noted that she is not content with the present status of her relationship with the community as she would like to be much more involved. But in order for this to occur, she says she needs to be accepted the way she is, and the leadership needs to be less biased, less judgemental, and open-minded: "Take me the way I am. See what I have to contribute rather than just ruling me right off without even assessing what I have." Cairo described her present relationship with Isma'llls; she has acquaintances in Jama'at Khana, other women with children, as well as some elderly women but does not have any close Isma'IlI friends. "I go to Jama'at Khana, do my job, and I leave." Cairo suggested that the leadership carry out a "reality check" perhaps in the form of a survey as to how they are viewed by the general Isma'IlT population: "How do the Isma'llls perceive us? What are we doing? What is our evaluation? I haven't had a questionnaire presented to me as yet and I don't think there ever will be." Cairo remarked that it would be preferable if the leaders took suggestions from the community rather than relying solely on their own perceptions of having accomplished their mandates. "If the leadership did such a survey.. .lots of people have written letters, they have e-mailed, and God knows what happens to that.. ..They think that somebody who has raised an issue is a trouble monger, or has nothing better to do." Khartoum also commented on the issue of accountability. At times, decisions are made by the administration and individuals are expected to follow. Commenting on the leadership within the community and their misuse of power, Khartoum had the following to say: 188 Our leaders are, sometimes they are wingnuts. They are trying to keep their power by keeping us subjugated. 'Well, the Imam said so. 'Oh ya, show me the letter?' Because that's what they do, that's their rational for all sorts of things, decisions that they take, that he [the Imam] has no clue about what's happening. To me that's a complete.. .manipulation of people's trust. If an individual observes any kind of injustice, or impropriety, or a difference of opinion specifically related to decisions by a Council or Board there does not exist an easily accessible forum for the discussion and eventual resolution of such issues. Khartoum inquires: "How do I or when one has a disagreement with the institutions, where is the venue to call them on their shit? To say, hey, this isn't particularly Islamic what you are doing. This is not about brotherhood." Where does one go, wonders Khartoum. Tunis also mentioned the issue of accountability: "They have no forum for us to address our issues. If I had a problem with something in our religion, I should be able to speak out, and ask questions about it, and get the answers I want." Instead, said Tunis, she is told to have "blind faith" and her questions are answered "in a very round about way that doesn't really solve anything... .There should be more communication." Another problem Khartoum noted and would like to see changed with the leadership of the institutions is that the members of the various Provincial and National Councils and numerous Boards are usually well educated professionals who volunteer their time to serve the Jamats. However, professionals such as MBAs, accountants, physicians, dental surgeons, and so forth are not educated in Islamic Studies or what one may call the Humanistic/Arts and so their approach in their voluntary capacities in the Jamat may be limited at times. The kind of brain that it takes to make the kind of money that is being made at [large cooperations] this is not the kind of mind that would be required to provide excellent social programming.. ..These people they're educated but they're not necessarily educated in an all round Renaissance kind of way. They're educated 189 in their specialty.. .and that's all they know, is what they've been trained to see. Most of the people who have the ability to see the whole picture have a liberal arts education, or are interested in that, or see that in an intuitive [kind of] way. It's a huge problem! An important issue that Cairo would like to see changed is the way in which religious literature is distributed. Cairo says religious education materials are not easily accessible. This can be a form of discrimination as certain individuals who are associated with religious education teachers can have more access.fhan the rest of the community. "Literature should be out there to be distributed, not to be hoarded." She states that although there is a large amount of literature available for Isma'Tlis, it is instead "gathering dust... [and is] hoarded." She provides an example of the Sunni sect of Islam that is more forthcoming with their resources: "[They] will pick me up, drop me off, [and] distribute all the material they have....They even gave me [a copy of] the Qur'an... .Yet, in my community, though the resources are there, I am not able to tap into it." Cairo says the impact such religious knowledge would have on an individual is not realized. As a designer, Khartoum holds strong views about the "cultural output" of the community and the censorship role that the administration plays. Khartoum believes that the rich cultural past of the Islamic world and especially the Isma'IlT world should be studied for the purposes of inspiration but that is not where artistic endeavour should end because there is presently an enormous resource of artistic talent within the Jamat that is not being expressed, valued, or showcased to the rest of the community, and the world. "We should be making Hafiz.. ..We should not just be reading these anthropologized.. .it's not the end, it's to inspire, we need that to inspire new production." She adds that the "community has no problem putting on shows of Islamic calligraphy" 190 presently at UBC's Museum of Anthropology "because it's acceptable, it's not threatening." To experience a cultural sense of being an IsmaTii, they're looking to the Fatimids. And I am saying don't look to the Fatimids because we live it right here...we are actually creating culture as we live. But we have a little bit of a content problem because... if you choose to worry about 'whether or not your stocks went up?' and not really worrying about what you are putting out, culturally. Then that is the quality, that's the level of our culture It doesn't mean that we don't have a culture. It just means it's very poor. Khartoum emphasizes in the following example that new talent, and present day experiences need to be validated. We are not valuing those who are creating new things now. There is a woman who does these paintings. And what she does is , she starts writing a tasbih. She just starts 'Allah humasallie alia Muhammadin waalle Muhammad.' And then she just rips with it. It's almost like doing zikr. She just rips with it and just goes and goes and goes and it becomes some other thing on the canvas. They're amazing, they're just beautiful. [But] we are never going to see that. Khartoum condenses the meaning and importance of present day art, and the type of shows, she believes, that need to take place in the community. Concluding the above example... I want to see her work, because it's new and it's original and it's coming from here and it's inspired from here [points to heart]. It's inspired from her depth. It's here. It's now. It's happening. From her own soul now! It's not inspired from 1500 years ago. Sure she might look at that stuff and get inspired but she is inspired. Let's have a show of that. Let's have a show by a group of women who are documenting their experience of.. .one foot in the community, and one foot out.. .Let's have a show about...our lived experience. Summarizing the role of censorship in the above vignette, Khartoum says that when inspiration from the soul in the form of artistic expression is shut down or not shown then it "means that somebody else is coming in and saying what your soul is about and what's not valid. And nobody has the right to do that." 191 In order to affect change in the community on a large scale, Khartoum alludes to the radical idea of internal revolution. But at the same time acknowledges the impossibility of such an occurrence. "There are these coalescing moments where individuals come together to fight for a single cause because the injustice of it is so great that they can no longer bear it." An example of such an event, provided by Khartoum, was the civil rights movement in the United States where individuals in large numbers reached the point where they could no longer tolerate the conditions and decided to revolt. "If you want mass change that happens fairly over night that's what we're looking at, some kind of insurrection." However, says Khartoum, this would require individuals to find one another and organize themselves: "It's going to happen.. .only if there is a sizable population that's disgruntled and dissatisfied. To be willing to band together. It's a tall order.. .to stand strong and to say, 'we are not letting you take our power." When asked if this was a viable possibility in the Isma'IlI Jamat, Khartoum replied: "No! That's why most of us are plodding along in our individual lives." Khartoum provided her view of the present structure of the community, the possible freedoms available within this structure, and how one can effect change in the community within this framework: There is a difference between the institution in terms of it's structures and the community as made up of people. So [there is] the community as structure and the community as people. Within the community as people there is all kinds of fluidities and flexibilities and people do all sorts of things that they do all over the world that they do in all kinds of different communities. And as long as you don't have to interact with the structure too much there is a lot of freedom in that. For example, Khartoum presents a vignette of how individuals in the community can effect change: 192 I know [people] who are struggling with homosexuality, and some of them have amazing parents, amazingly supportive parents who are out there, advocating.. ..This is my son. This is who he is. This is how he is. Yaa, I'm going to be out at the Gay Pride Parade holding a banner. That sort of level of involvement and acceptance and embracing of their kids and yet not every parent is able to do that. But there are parents who are. Khartoum illustrates in this vignette how individuals can make a difference in their lives by taking initiative and responsibility for their own lives rather than relying on the community to become more accepting or to change or to look to the community for guidance in such circumstances. In turn, this proactive approach by individuals sets an example to others in the community: What happens is that when somebody takes a step like that it sets a rule, it sets the standard for other parents who are going to deal with that. Their own child or their own circumstances push them to have to make the step. And then there are honourable ways to make steps and dishonourable ways to make them. And it's the honourable ones that can serve to be role models. Khartoum summarizes that within this framework, she tries to make changes, on her own terms, in small ways that are both palatable to her and the community: Through my minute, through my lived life. Just through my life. Because if I try to go out and make it in some kind of broad sweeping [way], 'I'm here to make change!' I'm going to get eaten alive and spit out.. ..So if I can make small incursions and be out there, because I find that people find me. Like you, people find me.. .they need to have this kind of alternative or an ALTER-NET PERSPECTIVE of things; they find us. Khartoum offers a possible scenario for change in the community via the individual: Live your life, be strong, be true to who you are....[Vassanji] shines because he is true to himself... .Get to that place where they [the institutions] don't have that kind of power. And they don't have it for many, many people. Because once they don't have that power for just over 50 percent of the population, we are looking at a whole new structure. Khartoum discusses the roles that we as individuals play in life, and the significance of these roles. Comparing the role of the President of the National Council 193 for Canada, the highest ranking official representing Canada, to that of a devoted elderly woman struggling to practice her faith: Everybody has their role in what they can do. Because we are not all going to be able to do what he does. Nani ma had a role and she played it. This guy has his role and he is playing it. And I don't think that what he does is any better or worse than nani ma cleaning the pats in Jama'at Khana... [It] does not make him any more of a momin than nani ma. Nani ma's faith isn't any less than this guy's. According to Khartoum, a common strategy for IsmaTlIs when they see discrimination is to criticize the community (behind closed doors of course) but Khartoum believes that this is not an effective strategy: "Our problem is that we get hung up looking at everybody else's r o l e and not examining our own... We criticize a lot, and.. .I'm getting tired of that as a strategy cause it's not much of one. It's just very exhausting." Khartoum concludes: "What we have to do is to look at where we can make change because each of us has our own skills,.. .what we have to offer. What can I do?" Last, Khartoum had some suggestions regarding communicating with the younger members of the Jamat. For example, she commented on sex education for teenagers: Future generations are not going to be so naive. I would say that my generation is incredibly naive... .My children are not going to be that naive. And so for me to [say] 'no, don't do that because it's bad, it's bad, it's evil,' that whole guilt thing 'who will marry you?' It's not going to mean anything to them. More open discussion...and probably more useful than guilt as a behaviour modifier. Khartoum recommends that discussing sexual issues with young adults in a respectful and logical fashion is more likely to be productive: "What it's going to mean to them is whether or not it's the right thing to do?.. .Is it something that honours yourself, and respects yourself, and the other person involved?" Khartoum explains that sex during teen years may be wrong, but not "wrong for the kinds of reasons that we were told that it 194 was wrong. It may be wrong because to do that as a teenager, you need to have emotional maturity, and it's something that a teenager" has not yet adequately developed. These are the sorts of issues that when discussed with young adults, Khartoum believes, would be more empowering. Tunis would like to see better communication within the Jamat. "Open communication. A lot more communication. Be more assertive and bring issues into the open that are not talked about like violence, rape, whatever. They need to bring it out and address them. Support for disability issues, that would help." Commenting on the present status of her relationship with the community, Tunis noted: "I am not happy. I am not happy with it. That's for sure. I am not feeling connected. I am not feeling that communication. I am not feeling connected in general to the people, [or] to my religion." When asked if she would like to be more connected, Tunis replied "Sure. I don't see why I should have to isolate myself so much. At the same time,.. .1 am not sure if I want to be so much a part of it.. .1 am trying to find a happy balance." Tunis described her task at hand: I don't think I am looking for my community to change as much as I am trying to find my own satisfaction, my own sense of acceptance. I can't force the community to change. There are some good things and there are some bad things. I am trying to find a happy balance of where I can fit. If I can't then I need to move onto something else or branch out. Tunis is not hopeful, "right now I don't have that balance because right now I am not connected at all. I am not sure that I [ever] will." Istanbul would like to see an arena where she and other marginalized women can get together to discuss the issues and their feelings similar perhaps to a support group: "people who feel marginalized in the community need to somehow get into contact with 195 each other and maybe.. .find ways to change things in the community because my feeling is that it's quite impenetrable." Istanbul recommends how the community needs to change but also realizes the magnitude of her request: "the community at large needs to be more open and more accepting. And to try and deal with their internalized colonialism, their racism, sexism, all the 'isms,' but that's a huge thing." She concludes that "it's hard to get in there and to affect change....and it's hard for one person to do it." Participants of this study provided a number of recommendations for the community leadership, as well as for individual members. Marrakesh suggested emphasizing the spiritual aspect in the way the faith is presented including the balance between the material and spiritual. She also suggested organizing a forum where marginalized individuals were included, the ability to talk more freely about difficult issues, and perhaps a dress code. On the whole however, Marrakesh is not hopeful for change. Similarly to Marrakesh, Cairo is not hopeful for change because it is too difficult for marginalized women to ask for it. She wishes individuals would accept her the way she is, and suggests the leadership carry out a "reality check" perhaps in the form of a survey, whereby they could incorporate JamatI suggestions into their decisions. Cairo would also like to see better distribution of religious material. Khartoum would like to see the establishment of an Arts and Cultural Centre where religious literature and art could be housed, and a relaxation of the censorship role played by the Isma'TlT Council. She also suggested a change in the attitude of looking to the past for inspiration rather than concentrating on the present issues and talent in the community. Khartoum made an insightful observation regarding the differing roles individuals play in life and suggested that people concentrate on what they can contribute 196 rather than comparing themselves to others and criticizing the community without examining their own part. Tunis would like to see more open communication both among JamatT members, and between the Jamat and the Institutions. She conveyed her ambivalent feelings towards change in the community. POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THE COMMUNITY Participants expressed positive aspects of the community in spite of the negative impact of discrimination in their lives. Marrakesh expressed that there were in fact, a few individuals that she could associate with. "There were people there [in the Jama'at Khana] that I got along with and talked to, they were I felt, like-minded, but they were smaller [in numbers]." She feels a connection to the Jama'at Khana as a place of worship where she would like to go and practice her faith, given of course, that the social milieu improves. And there is also a connection to the faith itself for example, an attachment to "parts of the prayer, or the meditation." Marrakesh enjoys the "community sharing" that occurs within the Jamat. She feels she has a connection because of "people knowing where you come from, people seeing you grow up.. .there's some level of community sharing that's really great." Marrakesh also finds some social behaviours positive when describing a JamatI picnic: "just chatting, and getting food, and hanging out, and some level of socializing, and the history of relationships, and seeing family, other distant family, or other friends." Regarding language and racial similarity Marrakesh adds that: "everyone speaks your language, there are very few places where everyone speaks your language, where you can communicate with ease, you can joke with ease, and language is not a barrier,.. .and everyone looks like you,.. .there's this familiarity." More specifically, 197 Marrakesh states: "I'm more comfortable with the older people in the community, like the seniors.. .than I am with my [own] age [group]. Because I feel they're also marginalized in the community... .No one ever talks to them, or asks them how they're doing" and so on. The reason Marrakesh provides for this comfort with the elder generation is because "within the seniors crowd, it's a lot more relaxed. It feels like the front is a little less, it's still there, but it's a little less. It's much more spiritual, people are much more religiously inclined I've found." Khartoum points out positive aspects of the community that she has seen and clarifies that although there is a "huge" emphasis in the Jamat on educational achievement, it is not entirely a negative trait. "We are acknowledging that it [i.e., the community] has given us certain privileges and foundational stuff to be able to move forward with this next phase." Khartoum estimates that among all of the "South Asian Arts and Cultural producers in Canada, 50% or more" are IsmaTii. She attributes the strong educational base of the IsmaTii community as one factor for this "inordinately high proportion." Other factors include the East African colonial past, and financial stability, again due to an educational foundation. Responding to the large estimate she provides of IsmaTlIs involved in cultural production, Khartoum comments: I think partly it has to do with the fact that we are so educated. Because many communities are just beginning to catch up with the education. Many Indian communities, and many South Asian communities are just beginning to turn out their first generation of educated kids. That's one factor. Another factor is that we are so highly colonized. We are very, very Europeanized. We were so before we got here. So we are a couple of generations... [ahead of] somebody from a village in India. So once you've got all that food, shelter business settled, and you have the beginnings of an intellectual life, then automatically cultural expression has to come within that timeframe. We had the foundation. 198 Last, the lack of a forum for self-expression within the community, leads to art expression: A lot of the reason that.. .we have to coalesce in that kind of venue [i.e., art expression] is because there is no venue for that kind of expression within the community.. ..we were so sick of not having a place to voice our opinions and to talk about how we felt without being censored. Cairo lists a number of positive attributes and underlines that she is proud to be an Isma'IlT. First, she says that the "Isma'IlT community is a strong community. It's because of the Isma'IlT community that I got a good education. I went to the Aga Khan schools." Second, she notes the spiritual aspect of the religion by separating the actions of the individuals from the teachings of the religion: My faith is very strong.. .my faith and my practice is what I have with the Creator. That is spirituality. These people who come to the same Jama'at Khana, who belong to the same faith are using their power or their positions for their own sake. That's their own doing. It's got nothing to do with our faith.. ..It's the people out there whose actions are deplorable....But the faith on it's own is so powerful and so rich that nothing can be taken from it neither can it be watered down. Third, Cairo emphasizes the values she has learnt from her faith. "My faith, my religion, my belonging to the community has taught me a lot of qualities like sharing and caring for one another, respect, being fair, being credible,.. .respecting each other's space, not taking things that don't belong to you... [and] forgiveness." Cairo also notes that when she reads about the faith she realizes that there are qualities that she can develop further such as patience, and tolerance. "Belonging to the Isma'IlI community has made me into a whole, well-rounded person. Not to be discriminative of other faiths.. .to respect all religions." Fourth, Cairo says she has gained tremendously from the guidance of the Imam, the contemporary approach that he brings to Islam, the need to 199 live balanced lives incorporating both material and spiritual aspects into daily practice, his contribution to the environment, and to Islam on the whole. Tunis mentioned what she felt were positive aspects of the community. She stressed that "the community spirit we have.. .is very strong. We don't see that in other communities." Probing into what 'community spirit' meant for Tunis, she replied that the Jama'at Khana is open daily indicating community support. And the fact that volunteers are available to run the services at these times is a commendable feat. "I don't know where there is such a high volunteer commitment [as we have] within our Khane. There is real commitment. I don't know if they have that in the other communities." Tunis added that the Isma'IlI Partnership Walk and Khushyali celebrations at the PNE reflected a "real, real commitment." In sum, Marrakesh remarked on her attachment to parts of the Isma'IlI faith in particular the spiritual aspect and finds satisfaction in some of the communal activities. She also finds solace in the common historical, social, and linguistic background of other Isma'llls. Khartoum attributed the emphasis on education, East African Isma'llls' colonial past, economic stability due to education, and strict censorship within the community as "foundational" to the creation of artisans and self-expression in that form. Cairo named four positive attributes about the faith. She is thankful for the strong educational foundation she received in the Aga Khan school system in Kenya, she feels a strong connection to the spiritual aspect of the Isma'IlI Muslim faith, she appreciates the teachings of the religion, and she is fortunate to have the guidance of the Imam and is proud of the work he does for all Muslims. Last, Tunis is in awe of the strong voluntary 200 commitment in the community, and appreciates the fact that services are held daily in Jama'at Khana, which makes it extremely accessible. To summarize, all of the participants of this study were of South Asian ethnic background or Khoja IsmaTlIs and had previously resided in East Africa for varying lengths of time. As expected, results indicated that various forms of in-group discrimination led to the subsequent marginalization. Nine themes were identified, five revealing the forms of discrimination, and four describing the consequences or outcomes due to the discrimination. Also discussed was the context in which the discrimination occurs, as interpreted by the participants; future recommendations the community may implement to improve relations among IsmaTii members and finally, positive aspects of the faith and community that participants observed. 201 CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to illuminate the experiences of 6 adult Isma'TlT women who were identified as marginalized. It was expected that various forms of in-group discrimination led to this marginalization. Results revealed that the women had experienced discriminatory behaviours by other Isma'TlT community members (i.e., in-group discrimination). The findings also clearly indicated that several of the participants disengaged or distanced themselves from the Isma'TlT community primarily due to in-group discrimination while other participants maintained minimal contact with the community for the reason that they disagreed with fundamental Isma'TlT and Islamic tenets of the faith and in-group discrimination was only a part of the problem. The women identified a number of issues that caused them distress and therefore a lack of desire to participate further with either individual Ismaili members or the Institutions of the Jamat. These issues were reflected in the following five themes: the conflict some women felt between living in a Western country while trying to maintain an Ismaili identity; expectations of Ismaili women based on their gender roles; wealth, with an emphasis on material advancement; classism; and what the Jamat Khana meant for each of the participants. Due to the experience of discrimination, the women reported a lack of recognition in the community, and the feeling of being silenced. Consequently, the participants distanced themselves from other Ismailis. In addition, family relationships were impacted. The results were not linearly defined however. The themes reflected a complex array of issues. For example, the diagram profiling the 'Individual' (see Figure 6), illustrates that sexuality is a sub-theme that can stand on it's own merit and can also lead 202 Figure 6. Diagram Showing Individual Struggles 203 204 to a struggle to fit in. Figure 6 also shows how classism, wealth, and seeking recognition are themes that have their own identity but can at times overlap with one another leading to a struggle to fit in. Some of the overlap occurred between themes that were causes of discrimination (for example, wealth), and consequences of discrimination (for example, seeking recognition). Figure 6 also depicts the environment in which the struggle to fit into the Isma'Tli community ensues. In other words, expectations of Isma'IlT women based on gender roles and feeling silenced encompass this challenge. Hence, the data revealed a complex, non-linear relationship between the themes and were not mutually exclusive. Figure 7 demonstrates various aspects mentioned previously including the relationship between an individual Isma'IlT and the dominant culture. It highlights the struggle to fit into the Isma'IlT community occurring within oneself while domicile in a Western context and navigating cultural conflict, and relationships with other ethnic communities. In addition, at the same time that a marginalized woman is struggling to fit into the Isma'IlT community, there are issues and concerns that are associated with her interactions with the mainstream community such as racism both from and against the dominant culture (see the theme on 'Isma'IlT identity: Torn between Isma'IlT and Western worlds'). Although not depicted on Figure 7 for sake of simplicity, one may note that the same issues of struggling to fit into the Isma'IlI community such as sexuality, classism, and so forth can also occur in the dominant culture hence, the cultural conflict. This study provides new evidence delineating the experience of discrimination for marginalized Isma'IlT women. The emotional, and psychological impact on the lives of 205 Figure 7. Diagram Showing the Relationship between the Marginalized Individual and the Dominant Culture 206 207 these women was described extensively. The resultant changes in behaviour towards the community were noted. Also reflected in this study was a more comprehensive description of the types of discrimination that can take place, and some of the mechanisms whereby the discrimination can reveal itself. The context in which the discrimination occurs and/or interpretations as to possible causes for the discrimination were offered by the participants. Also unique to this study were recommendations and practical solutions for the community to implement. A portrayal of the relationship between colonialism and the subsequent internalized racism was illustrated by Khartoum in the document she generously provided by permission for this study. Clarke contended that the community performs an essential "bridging function" and that even those who no longer follow the religion continue to attend Jama'at Khana in "the hope of finding a marriage partner, meeting a business associate, receiving family news and meeting people with the same outlook and mentality as themselves" (Clarke, 1976, p. 488). Clarke also noted that individuals who have strong family ties tend to have strong communal ties and the reverse is also true. The results of this study did not confirm either of these two contentions. The two participants of this study, Istanbul and Damascus, who could be identified as having "lost faith" according to Clarke, do not attend Jama'at Khana even for the purposes mentioned. A number of the participants mentioned having close family ties but not with the community. However, Clarke was not considering discrimination as a factor in his assertions. The results did confirm Clarke's other contentions regarding feeling silenced, exclusionary behaviours due to class, interracial marriages or exogamy, and the importance of community to the individual. 208 Many of the findings in this study extended findings in the aforementioned literature. Regarding family structure and gender roles, results recognized Assanand's assertion that although children may live separately from parents after marriage, social and psychological ties to their parents and in-laws may continue. In well-functioning households, the interdependence among family members can be an asset (e.g., Khartoum's relationship to her parents). However, when parents and in-laws are seen as interfering, marital problems can ensue (e.g., Cairo). Although women have professional careers and appear as strong, self-reliant individuals, traditional gender roles continue to operate. Revealed in the 6 women's experiences were concerns about the lack of support for issues of abuse, the emphasis on women to marry, and the lack of encouragement for girls to be independent, self-reliant, and confidant. Difficulties when residing with in-laws, and the pressure on a woman to stay within an unhappy marriage were indicated. One example, while residing with in-laws was the accusation of being too "western" for a woman who worked outside the home, and who did not conform strictly to traditional gender roles. Participants provided evidence of all three forms of discrimination outlined earlier: Individual, institutional, and structural (Pincus, 1996). All of the themes and most of the items proposed at the focus groups held at the IsmaTii Jama'at Khana and Centre, and the University of British Columbia were illuminated by the data. For example, several participants voiced that choice of career determined if recognition was attained, Cairo noted that nepotism is rampant when applying for participation on JamatI committees, and Tunis noted that dress code determined if she was accepted or not. A number of gender related issues were revealed, such as the better treatment of boys than 209 girls (at times) as mentioned by Khartoum, the lower status of divorced women as outlined by Cairo, and greater responsibility towards housework as mentioned by Khartoum. In other literature, for example, in an Ismaili journal: Hikmat, Zayn Kassam-Hann implored the community leaders to present more positions of leadership and opportunity to women, to include women more in the decision making processes, and to consider women's issues in every level of administration. "It is critical for every existing Jamati institution and every portfolio within that institution to examine what it can do to include women's issues within its domain" (1992). She concluded her article with an often quoted speech by the previous Ismaili Imam: "No progressive thinker of today will challenge the claim that the social advancement and general well-being of communities are greatest where women are least debarred by artificial barriers and narrow prejudice, from taking their full position as citizens" (Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, 1953). Results reverberated the work of Triandis wherein collectivist cultures give import to who a person is, as opposed to individualistic cultures, where import is attained by what a person does. Results were consistent with those found in other studies on other communities such as the Burakumin people of Japan and the Jewish community. The particulars, that is, the types of discrimination and the impact of the discrimination on participants varied. Common findings between this study and those of the Burakumin and Jewish studies included discrimination based on family of origin and socio-economic level. Limitations of the Case Study Design 210 Guba and Lincoln (cited in Merriam, 1998) warn that a case study is the study of a small segment of a particular population and should not be taken to imply an entire group or situation. Further, "case studies can oversimplify or exaggerate a situation, leading the reader to erroneous conclusions about the actual state of affairs" (p. 42). Case studies are also limited by the sensitivity, ethics, and, skill of the investigator as I am the primary source of data collection and ultimately, data analysis. However, I have been trained in interviewing skills, and ethics of the counselling profession, and so I attempted to avoid common errors of qualitative researchers. Step-by-step procedures for data analysis were outlined prior to the research process for the same reason. Because the object of this study was to describe and interpret the phenomenon of discrimination in a specific community in a single country in a particular period of history, the results are not predictive of future occurrences of discrimination in a different community, setting or period of time. The 6 women that decided to participate in this study ranged in age from 24 to 45, and were all South Asians of East African heritage or were born in East Africa. In other words, none of the participants were born in the Indian Subcontinent, neither had they lived there for any length of time. Therefore, the results of this study are limited to women belonging to this age group and heritage. Younger women in their twenties, and teenage women as well as older women in the Isma'TlT community most likely have additional issues not mentioned here. For example, in the ITREB report it was noted that women from India and Pakistan sometimes feel discriminated by women of East African heritage who are the majority in Canada. Unfortunately, this could not be investigated in this study even though every effort was attempted to attract women of varying 211 backgrounds to participate. Conversely, neither of the 6 participants of this study had lived in the United States for any length of time. Therefore, they could not discuss the discrimination that women of East African descent sometimes experience in the US where the majority of Isma'Tlis are from the Indian Subcontinent. Neither is this thesis meant to be an exhaustive list of the issues pertaining to the above age group and heritage. Guba and Lincoln (cited in Merriam, 1998) offer another ethical limitation regarding case studies. Potentially, an unethical researcher could skew the data and present only those sections that illustrated the views he or she desired. For this reason, Guba and Lincoln suggest that both the readers of case studies and the researchers become aware of their biases. For the same reason, I attempted to outline my biases prior to commencing the study, and I placed several safe-guards into the design of the study. First, there were a minimum of 6 participants in the study ensuring a diversity of data, and second, steps to increase internal validity, generalizability, and dependability were incorporated. Marrakesh was concerned about the confidentiality of her participation in this study. Since it is a small community, would she be identified, and if so, what would that mean for her? Would there be a negative consequence as a result of her participation? She was even more concerned for my safety as my name would be on the cover of this manuscript. How is the community going to respond? Is the community going to [say] 'this is really great that you 're doing this, thanks for telling us.. .and now we want to hear all the stuff you've gone through and make it better. I don't know that that's going to happen (big laugh), I think it might get worse for you. 212 Nevertheless, Marrakesh stressed the benefit of such a study and her altruistic motives for participating in this research: It breaks the silence, it breaks the INCREDIBLE amount of silencing that happens in the community, the incredible recognition that we are a community that is no different than other people, that needs to come across.. ..We insulate ourselves, and we're not letting people know about us. But, we're not a cult, we're not weird (laughs), and I don't feel like we're any of those things. Marrakesh wondered how this thesis would reach the women who would benefit from reading it because it would not get permission to be distributed in the Jama'at Khana. If and when women do read this research, Marrakesh hopes "that the document makes people in the community feel uncomfortable, [she] hopes [that] it makes people wake up." In addition, she believes that such research could potentially help women feel less isolated if they read about other IsmaTii women in similar situations and realized "oh my God,.. .there's other poor women who are struggling," or that there are other women who do not conform to the Isma'TlT standards of beauty for women. Implications for Future Research Similar issues of discrimination are likely to be found in other groups of South Asian descent living in Canada. Future research may be directed, for example, in the Punjabi community residing in Vancouver. Collaborations and coalitions with other ethnic groups in terms of conducting research and ultimately finding solutions to such issues could be productive. While working with other ethnic minorities, issues common to these groups may become apparent and solutions found in a collective fashion. For example, although there would be variation in terms of religious context and historical immigration in the Punjabi Sikh community, solutions for social discrimination could be investigated in conjunction. 213 A study investigating the concerns of other marginalized Isma'IlT and Muslim groups may be undertaken such as the newly arrived Afghani Isma'llls and marginalized male members of the Isma'IlT Muslim community. Marrakesh noted that it will be interesting to see how the newly arrived Afghani Isma'llls will be perceived. The Afghani Jamat have their own unique history and cultural practices (dress, food, dance, and so on) that are going to be different, in addition to the religious practices. Marrakesh believes that this will be a good challenge for the community to try and learn from the Afghani Jamat, about different ways and practice of the faith. Marrakesh observed that so far all of the adjustment has been on the part of the Afghanis (at least in Vancouver where the Afghani Jamat is very much a minority). Future research may investigate similarities and differences with individuals who have immigrated to Canada at various stages in their lives, and may reveal a relationship between the length of time spent in Canada, the amount of acculturation, and the experience of discrimination. Future research may also want to investigate the roles culture and religion play on the experience of discrimination. For example, Istanbul claimed that Ismailis would not have a culture without the religion, while Khartoum felt strongly about preserving Ismaili culture, and Marrakesh noted that Ismaili culture and religion were essentially inseparable. Counselling Implications This study may help counsellors to become more aware of the issues Indo-Canadian ethnic minorities from East Africa in particular, Isma'IlT Muslim clients may bring to the counselling arena. Efforts to establish group counselling for marginalized women was alluded to by one of the participants of the study. This would allow marginalized women 214 to meet other individuals who may be facing similar circumstances, and to be supportive of their struggles. In addition, counsellors should be aware that although clients may discuss difficult issues around discrimination, all of the participants of this study had positive feelings towards either the faith or the community. 215 References Adams, B. N. (1974). Urban skills and religion: Mechanisms for coping and defense among the Ugandan Asians. Social Problems, 22(1), 28-42. Assanand, S., Dias, M., Richardson, E., & Waxier-Morrison, N. (1990). The South Asians. In N. Waxier-Morrison, J. M. Anderson, & E. Richardson (Eds.), Cross-cultural caring: A handbook for health professionals in Western Canada (pp. 141-180). Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press. Bunjun, B. (1996, October). Orientation meeting of the Women of Colour Mentoring Program-Summary report. (Available from the Women of Colour Mentoring Program, Brock Hall Room 203, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, University of British Columbia) Clarke, P. B. (1976). The Isma'llls: A study of community. British Journal of Sociology, 27(4), 484-494. Dossa, P. A. (1994). Critical anthropology and life stories: Case study of elderly Isma'IlI Canadians. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 9, 335-354. Gilligan, C. (1996). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women's development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ITREB (1998). Gender project. (Available from ShI'a Imarni Isma'IlI Tariqah & Religious Education Board for Canada, 4010 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC, V5G 1G8). Johnson-Bailey, J & Cervero, R. M. (1996). An analysis of the educational narratives of reentry Black women. Adult Education Quarterly, 46, (3), 142-157. Kazi, M. U. (Ed.) (1990). Guidance from the Messenger: A treasury of ahadith. Jamaica, NY: Islamic Circle of North America. Marti, J. (1997, Jan-Apr). The Burakumin, in Japanese society. [On-line]. Revista-Internacional-de-Sociologia, 16, 183-203. Abstract from: NETINFO File: SOCIOFILE Item: 9800536. Mihashi, O. (1987). The symbolism of social discrimination. Current Anthropology, 28(4), S19-S29. Pincus, F. L. (1996). Discrimination comes in many forms. American Behavioral Scientist 40(2). 186-194. Reinharz, S. (1992). Feminist methods in social research. New York: Oxford University Press. Sandhu, K. M. (1998, June). Out of Africa: Uganda's expatriates 25 years after their expulsion. Mehfil (pp. 26-42). 216 Semyonov, M., & Lerenthal, T. (1991). Country of origin, gender, and the attainment of socio-economic status: A study of stratification in the Jewish population in Israel. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 10, 325-343. Smooha, S., & Kraus, V. (1985). Ethnicity as a factor in status attainment in Israel. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 4,151-175. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Wehrly, B. (1995). Pathways to multicultural counseling competence: A developmental journey. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole. Wieland, D. (1991). Elder-care in North American Isma'ili families: A preliminary inquiry. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 6,165-171. Woolf, H. B. (Eds.). (1977). Webster's new collegiate dictionary (5th ed.V Springfield: G. & C. Merriam. (May 31, 1999). The Aga Khan-Venture Capitalist to the Third World. Forbes Global Magazine (p. 1-6). Yusuf Ali, A. (author of commentary) 1411 Higra (1991). The Holy Quran: English translation of the meaning and Commentary. Revised and Edited by the Presidency of Islamic researches, IFTA, Call and Guidance. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex. 217 Appendix A Uganda's Asian Refugees: Where did they go? (Sandhu, 1998) Britain Canada United States Austria Sweden The Netherlands Belgium Norway Switzerland 27,000 6,175 1,600 70 319 253 30 families 114 200 218 Appendix B Participant Information Form Thank you for agreeing to participate in my research study. As you know, the material that you discuss in your interviews will remain confidential, and the data presented in my Master's Thesis will refer to you anonymously. I do however, need some background information, and I would appreciate your time to answer the following questions. Date Name Phone No. Address Rent Own Educational Level Place of Birth: city Country Age Number of years in Canada Number of years in Vancouver Income level (thousands) < 25 25-35 35-50 50-65 >65 Profession/type of work Marital Status (Single, Married, Divorced, Widow, Common Law) Children Ages and gender of children Amount of Contact with Isma'llls: No. of Visits to mosque/ week Frequency of Attending Isma'IlI social events /Non-Isma'IlI social events Number & gender of siblings Size of family present in Vancouver/~living with extended family members? How much social/family support do you receive from family members? Have you ever been active in the community? Number of years of involvement? Type of involvement? Appendix C Invitation for Voluntary Participation in Study Name Address Vancouver, B.C. Date. I am writing this letter to introduce myself. My name is Shamsah Mohamed and I am doing my Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology at The University of British Columbia. As part of my degree, I am researching the experiences of Isma'TlT adult women who were either born or immigrated to Canada within the past 30 years. If you decide to participate in this study, I would like to meet with you for one in-depth interview conducted only by myself and perhaps one follow-up interview, two weeks later. This interview will be approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours in length and will be conducted in a place that affords a sense of privacy and is comfortable to both you and I. This could possibly be at your home or an office building at the University of British Columbia. The purpose of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of experiences that have caused you difficulty and/or hardship as a woman and member of the Shia Isma'TlT community in Vancouver, British Columbia. For example, there may have been a time when you felt disrespected or excluded from the community. The occurrence of such instances may have taken place in the past or may still be on-going. It is the hope of this study to become aware of the impact of such experiences on the lives of individual women. The interview will be recorded by audio-tape in order in assist me with data collection and analysis. This interview will then be transcribed verbatim. The total amount of time required for your involvement in this study would be approximately 3 hours. This includes a short time at the completion of my study to provide you with a summary of the results. Inaddition, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning the procedure of the study to ensure that they are fully understood by you as the participant at any time. Your identity as a participant of this study will be strictly confidential. As a practicing IsmaTii I am fully aware of the importance and consequences of keeping your identity and nature of your personal stories completely confidential. The only individuals who will have access to the transcribed transcripts, without any identifying information, will be my research supervisors, and one individual who 224 Appendix E Transcription Symbols Bold Emphasized in transcript by participant B O L D Bold & Capitalized: Greater emphasis by participant Italics Spoken sarcastically by participant Two or more words not included from transcript One or more full sentences not included from transcript [ ] Words inside bracket added by author to clarify speech implied in the context but not included in the transcript by the participant Redundant words left out. For example: You know, Like, I think Whatever Quotations may begin either at the beginning of a sentence or midstream. ( ) Empty parentheses indicate the transcriber's inability to hear ? Indicates participant's intonation 225 Allah humasallie alia Muhammadin waalle Muhammad Glossary A tasbih meaning "Oh Allah (name for God) let thy Peace be on Prophet Muhammad and his Progeny." Therefore, it is a prayer for the Prophet Muhammad and his descendants who in Nizari Isma'TlTsm are the Imams Fatimids Ginans 'AQL Mind, intellect, reason Bait-ul Tim Religious classes for children Chanta or Baya ceremony Ceremony performed to initiate into the Isma'IlT faith; usually performed at the time of birth The name of the Isma'IlT dynasty of Caliph-Imams from 297/909 to 567/1171. Ruled from Cairo Derived from a Sanskrit word meaning contemplative or sacred knowledge, used in reference to the indigenous religious literatures of the Nizari Khojas and some other communities of South Asia. Composed in a number of Indie languages, the hymn-like Ginans are recorded mainly in the Khojkl script. Goan Indians originating from the State of Goa in Southern India Hunzai People from Hunza; a northern Pakistani state Huzur Panje Bhenu majalis A special gathering for women only Ibn Rushd Early Muslim philosopher and scientist, pioneer in the field of medicine Imam The spiritual and temporal leader of the Isma'ihs. Institutions Jama'at Khana Or Jama'at Khana (slang) J.K. JamatI The Jamat Juro (pljuras) Khane Kamadiasaeb (Kamadia) Kamadianlsaeba (Kamadianl) 226 descendant of Ali, the first Imam, son in-law, and first cousin of the Prophet and Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad The JamatI system of Councils, Boards, and Committees at the Provincial, National and International levels The place of worship for IsmaTlIs; lit., community house; congregation place, with a special prayer hall; used by Nizari IsmaTlIs and some Sufi Orders for their religious, communal, and cultural activities. (Persian) Commonly used abbreviation for Jama'at Khana in conversation Of or belonging to the Jamat Referring to either the entire IsmaTii community, or a single congregation belonging to one Jama'at Khana. A food offering distributed to JamatI members on certain occasions Slang or short for Jama'at Khana; used in conversation Assistant to the head of the Jama'at Khana (Mukhl). Lit., treasurer; seated next to the Mukhl on the men's side Usually wife of the Kamadiasaeb; Assistant to Mukhlyani; Seated next to the Mukhlyani on the women's side. Assistant to the Mukhlyani All (4) are voluntary positions 227 Khoja Khojkl Khushyali KutchT Missionary Moez Vassanji Momin Mukhlsaeb (Mukhl) All (4) are voluntary positions A Khojki word derived from the Persian Khwaja, meaning lord, or master. It became an ethnic term used to designate the Muslim converts in the Indian Subcontinent, the great majority of whom are Nizari Isma'llls, but including Sunnis and Ithna Asharis. One of the earliest forms of written Sindhi known to still exist. The characters of the script consist of 42 letters Lit., A happy Occasion; Special celebrations in the Isma'IlI faith, three times a year Dialect of Gujarati, languages spoken by many Khoja Isma'llls Isma'IlI religious education teacher; does not refer to one who converts non-Muslims to Islam or one who spreads the religion Author of: 'the Book of Secrets,' 'No New Land,' 'The Gunny Sack,' 'Uhuru Street,' and 'Amriika,' A true believer Leader appointed to local community groups, among the Nizari Isma'llls; currently his function is to officiate in the Jama'at Khana at the time of prayers and religious ceremonies. Head of the Jama'at Khana; seated at the front of the Jama'at Khana on the men's side, women and men 228 Mukhiyanisaeba (Mukhlyani) Nandi Nani ma Nizari Isma'TlTs Pats Tasbih Waro (plural: wara) sit in separate sections in the Jama'at Khana. (Khojki) Usually wife of the Mukhl; seated at the front of the Jamat Khana in the women's section. Conducts ceremonies which require individual female participation in the Jamat Khana Food offerings brought to the Jama'at Khana by individuals Lit., grandmother; at times used by Khartoum to represent an elderly woman In 1094, upon the death of the Caliph al-Mustansir, the Isma'TlTs split over the issue of succession. Those following the eldest son, Nizar became known as the Nizari Isma'TlTs; those following the younger son, al-Musta'lT, became known as the Musta'lT Isma'TlTs Derived from pata (A Sanskrit word denoting a space or specific place to be used for something). In Khoja Isma'TlT tradition denotes low rectangular tables inside the Jamat Khanas for the purpose of ritual ceremonies Lit., rosary, string of prayer beads. A repetitious prayer using the prayer beads The appointment of individuals attending the services at Jama'at Khana to perform various religious ceremonies on behalf of the Jamat or for the Jamat. For example, to sing a Ginan, to lead the Jamat in prayer, to read the daily announcements etc. Lit., belonging to the Times, of the Era, or Ages Slang for 'Dikr' meaning prayer or a repetitious prayer using the prayer beads (tasbih) Appendix F Domestic and Public Religious Observances of Hindus and Isma'ilis Rituals at home Public Services Religious Community Number of respondents Twice or more daily Daily or More Daily or more Weekly or more Isma'Tlis 103* 11% 68% 46% 88% Hindus 189 26% 74% 5% 38% Note. * signifies the number of respondents who answered that question. Adapted from Adams, B. N. (1974). Urban skills and religion: Mechanisms for coping and defense among the Ugandan Asians. Social Problems, 22(1), 28-42. 


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