Toronto Star

Farrah Marfatia, 36, Islamic school principal


Marfatia was born and raised in Etobicoke after her parents arrived from Pakistan. The mother of two boys, 6 and 4, is principal of Maingate Islamic Academy in Mississaug­a.

What is something people find surprising about you?

I think people will find it interestin­g that I am an Islamic school principal who went to a Catholic school.

What’s your favourite way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the city?

Going to Susur Lee’s restaurant in Toronto and eating Singapore slaw. And after that, every time a new show comes out, we try to go and see it.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the GTA? Your biggest frustratio­n?

My biggest frustratio­n is the 401 — regardless of the time of day. Someone needs to do something about it. Best thing: the diversity, in terms of clothes, people and food.

Have you ever faced discrimina­tion?

Because there are times when I wear the hijab and times that I don’t, I really feel there is a difference in how I am treated when I wear it. I feel like people are intimidate­d. But when I am not in the hijab, this feeling is just not there.

What do you think people misunderst­and most about Muslims?

The biggest thing is that women are oppressed. I don’t know any Muslim woman who is oppressed. I think what people don’t understand is that wearing a hijab is not oppressive. Any woman who has decided and chosen to wear it, it’s a journey for them.

What do you hope readers take away from this?

That we are people. We have families, we have children. We have hopes and dreams. We fall in love, we get divorced. We like to go to McDonald’s. We watch Game of Thrones on Sunday nights.

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