Irum was sitting alone, doing some serious work on her laptop. She wore movie star-like sunglasses that nearly blended in with her dark complexion. Honestly, she didn't look too approachable, but fortunately I tried anyway. As I spoke and explained the project, the sunglasses came off and were replaced by a huge smile. Irum was totally into 100 Strangers, and later thanked me for including her.
IRUM IS Pakistani, but has no accent. She and her husband live north of Toronto, where she is a real estate agent for Keller Williams. She is SO glad to be spending a little time in Florida. But like many real estate agents, she is always working and on call. The laptop was for business, not enjoyment.
She is Muslim. We spoke at length about discrimination and how it was probably a little less in Canada. She pointed out how the media often mis-portrays Islam. We were frank. I said that the number of terrorists is probably a tiny percentage of the Muslim population, but to Americans, it seems that the rest of Islam is not outraged by the acts of this minority. She said that this very point is under major discussion in the Muslim community. Being a newer religion than Christianity, Irum feels that Islam is going through growing pains similar to Christianity during the Crusades. I was surprised at how deeply we discussed this after knowing each other for only a few minutes.
I promised to send her an image, and we exchanged cards. I laughed when I saw her last name, Doyle.
“Oh, you're Irish” (wink).
“Well, my husband is.”