Anti-Hate Forum Planned in Fremont

January 8, 2007

Author: Lisa Fernandez

Source: The Mercury News

Moina Shaiq wants more people to smile at her.

And the 47-year-old Pakistani born mother of four plans to tell hundreds of people that Thursday evening at an anti-hate forum in Fremont.

"If I get poor service at a restaurant, or a certain kind of look, I am always second guessing,'' Shaiq said. "Is it because I wear a hijab? Are they associating me with an image they have seen on TV.''

And so, Shaiq, a Fremont resident since 1982 and an active Muslim community member says, it would make her feel more welcome if strangers just looked her with a grin.

"A smile is a very simple and small gesture,'' Shaiq said. "But it makes such a difference.''

Shaiq will be one of five panelists discussing their personal struggles with discrimination at the second annual Anti-Hate Forum sponsored by Fremont's Human Relations Commission. Last year, the program drew about 300 guests and focused on the post-9/11 verbal and physical attacks Muslims and Sikhs suffered from those who wrongly assumed they were terrorists.