Study Questions for Samra Habib’s We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir

Study Questions for Samra Habib’s We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir

  • From the beginning of the memoir to the end, what does “home” mean, and what does it look like? What does it smell like to Samra? Who and what is “queer”?
  • How are muslim women and men supposed to behave?
  • How are muslim women treated? How are they expected to behave? What are the functions of silence and violence?
  • What television shows, songs, and sodas gave Samra comfort in her early life?
  • What did Samra and her family flee to Canada?
  • As a child, what kind of relationship did Samra have with her parents? How did Samra’s parents meet?
  • What reactions did Samra have to Canada—its culture, environments, peoples, schools, etc.?
  • Who was Samra’s first husband, and how did this come about? How did Samra feel about this relationship?
  • As she grew older, what kind of relationships did Samra have with her cousins, siblings, parents, and others?
  • How did Samra use books and words and also clothing and swimming to find solace throughout her life?
  • How was Samra always rebellious and independent?
  • When and why did Samra attempt to die by suicide? What was the difference between each time?
  • Who were Petter, Andrew, Abi, Alex, and Shireen? What kind of relationships did Samra desire and foster as she grew older?
  • How did Samra help her mom find freedom?
  • How did traveling to Japan help Samra discover herself?
  • Who and what allowed Samra to embrace being queer and Muslim?
  • How did Samra’s parents take news of her queerness?
  • What kind of activism did Samra start doing to help others and why?
  • What does queerness look like to Samra?
  • What is the problem with saying “we have always been here”?
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