The first time I saw my future wife Halima Saoud-Solomon, the young Saudi Arabian Muslim woman was sitting in the Saint Laurent Mall food court, all by herself, eating a plate of Chinese food like only a depressed woman could. I took one look at the tall, plump Arabian gal in the drab brown dress and modest hijab and knew that I wanted to fuck her. Fate had other plans for us, and we got married and have a son, Saleh. Still, my first thoughts about my wife were less than pure.

What? Do my words surprise you? Alright, I wanted to start a book club with Halima Saoud along with a “save the ducklings” type of society. Is that what you want me to say? Fuck you. The way I see it, it takes a big man to admit his mistakes and try to make amends when he was wrong. I’m a lot of things but I am not a hypocrite.

The preferred name I go by is Harun Suleiman, which is the Arabic form of my birth name, Aaron Solomon. I’m a big and tall young Black Canadian gentleman of Jamaican descent. I am a newcomer to Islam, and a student living in the City of Ottawa, Ontario. I’m at Carleton University, trying hard to graduate. Man, they don’t make it easy on a brother, that’s for damn sure.

I love Carleton University but I need to get the fuck out. Seriously. And I am not leaving without finishing what I started. I’ve been at this damn school since September 2011 and I think it’s high time they gave me that piece of paper and let me walk on stage with my so-called peers. I need sixteen credits to graduate and so far, I’ve got 13.5 and it sucks. Welcome to my life.

Life is hard these days, man. I used to live near Baseline Station, but after some serious roommate issues, and the fact that my old house on Prince of Wales Drive was in seriously bad shape, I moved. Yup, I packed up my bags and moved to the Beechwood sector of Ottawa. It’s right after Vanier, an immigrant-laden area of Ottawa that has a bad reputation. Beechwood is supposed to be the nice area of the east, right before you get to the upper-middle-class dwellings of Rockcliffe. I thought this place would be my little paradise.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans. At first glance, the tall brown building on Beechwood, located near a construction site, and surrounded by a residential area leading to a working-class neighborhood, seemed alright. My landlord, Gina Calderon, is a short little Hispanic lady with lively eyes. When we first met, I thought Gina was sweet. The lady talked at great length about her Christian faith, and seemed so nice. Now I know better. Shit, the witch’s religiosity should have tipped me off!

I was raised Catholic, but while in university, I got exposed to Islam through my friendship with Somali guys and Arab guys on campus. You see, I came to the realization that I was brainwashed by the Euro-centric ways of Christianity. Think about it, man. Christianity is a religion that emphasizes white power. They believe that the Creator and the Savior are both white males. Ha! Islam is for everybody regardless of skin color.

The seat of power of modern Christianity lies in Western Europe, and yet the majority of Christians are brown folks and Black folks found in places like the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Latin America. These people would be treated like shit in lily-white Europe, but they’re worshipping a blonde-haired, blue-eyed and pale-skinned deity whose image is modeled after that of an Aryan male. Does that make sense to you?

I feel bad for Black Christian folks who consider themselves strong Black men or strong Black women. They are sadly deluded. You can’t be a strong Black person if you worship the White Male Image. In Islam, we don’t think the Creator of the Universe is an old white guy. We don’t think The Creator is Black or Chinese or Aboriginal or whatever. Nope, we KNOW that The Creator is not a physical being. Indeed, the Creator made the physical world for you and I to inhabit. That’s all.

Islam isn’t an Arab religion. Hell, there are lots of Arab Christians in the Middle East, from the Maronite Christians of Lebanon to the Coptic Christians of modern-day Egypt. In Islam, every man is equal regardless of color. Is there racism among the brotherhood? Sure. People are flawed, but the religion is perfect. Becoming Muslim is one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken.

My staunchly Christian family, like most good Jamaicans, weren’t thrilled with my conversion to Islam. They consider me alien because of this. Islam is strange to them. They asked me to reject my faith and I refused. Long story short? I am on my own, ladies and gentlemen. My parents, Joseph and Elisabeth Solomon, basically disowned my ass. The folks at my old church curse my name. Yeah, I’ve become persona non grata in a lot of places.

Anyhow, I was walking around the Saint Laurent Mall on an early Friday, not shopping or anything, just chilling and checking out the pretty ladies. We were in mid-May, and Ottawa was finally starting to warm up. In northern Ontario, things stay frosty for long periods of the year. I was still wearing my winter gear in late April, believe it or not. Like a lot of brothers out there, I find ladies from the Middle East utterly fascinating. Unlike most brothers, I wanted to do more than look at the curvy cutie I saw sitting by herself at the mall.

Trust me, I can sense weakness, especially in a woman, and it didn’t take a psychology degree to realize that this Arab broad was not having the best of days. I sat some distance away, with a bottle of Nestea in hand. I also opened up one of my favorite books, Fortress of the Muslim, and positioned myself so that she could see me reading the book. I looked up and our eyes met, and the plump Arab cutie smiled and nodded.

The pretty-faced Arab lady’s pain touched my heart, ladies and gentlemen. I approached her casually, and asked if she was alright. The hijab-wearing plump Arab chick shook her head, and smiled sadly. Boldly I pulled up a chair and sat across from her. Hastily I introduced myself and when I told her about my background, and Halima Saoud told me that she’d never heard of Jamaicans embracing Islam.

When those words left the pretty young Arab woman’s lips, I smiled and gave Halima Saoud a long look. The Arab Hijabi returned my stare, and smiled. That’s how it all began, folks. I cheered Halima up, the gal was upset about a bad grade she’d gotten from her Law professor, a dickhead named Nick something or other, and I made her forget about him. Once you make the lady smiles, you’re on the right track, fellas.

Halima Saoud was a lot more relaxed and easygoing than I expected. I thought Saudi Arabian Muslim women were uptight, since they’re from the world’s most conservative nation. Nope, Halima was lively and funny. A breath of fresh air. We’d been talking for about thirty minutes when Halima told me that she had to go. I asked her for her number. Halima hesitated, and bit her lip. My heart skipped a beat. Imagine my surprise when she gave me them digits! What can I say? Mr. Jamaica strikes again!

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how it all began between Halima and I. Now, when people saw us together, they stared a lot. Even in a diverse spot like Ottawa, they’re not used to seeing Black men with Arab women. Halima and I didn’t care, because, we’re about each other, and don’t care what other people think, you see. My lady and I were more evenly matched than you’d think.

What do I mean by that, ladies and gentlemen? Well, for starters, Halima Saoud and I are both rebels. Halima was born in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and lived all over the place. The lady came to Ottawa, Ontario, to study Law at a local school. Halima was estranged from her family because they found her fondness for western society strange. Halima didn’t want to return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Well, since I’m a naturalized citizen of Canada and wanted her for myself, that’s right up my alley. Stay tuned for more. Much more.

Share