By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Narre Warren South author Wida Tausif’s inspiring works were born from a difficult place.
Ms Tausif, 25, is about to release her second children’s book, Aliens Don’t Belong On Earth – a chapter book on two boys’ special mission from aliens to move humans to Chocolate World.
The story touches on trust, loyalty, honesty and friendship, she says.
Those values seem galaxies away from the cruel schoolyard taunts she endured as a nine-year-old in New Zealand.
The Afghan-born student was told she was a terrorist, Al Queda ringleader Osama Bin Laden and that she didn’t belong “here”.
After school, she was chased and tomatoes and eggs were thrown at her. She was threatened if she reported her torments to teachers.
“I didn’t have any friends for a few months, except an Afghan friend who was going through the same thing.
“I was weak and couldn’t do anything about it.”
Ms Tausif is also concerned about children enduring corporal punishment in overseas countries such as Pakistan.
“As a child you don’t want to go through these experiences. You want to grow up in a happy and safe environment.”
As she grew up, she also wanted to become a role-model and inspiration.
Her works are affirming – a suite of poems and articles on peace and human rights. She has taken to studying the history of Islam and speaking out for women’s rights and against extremist Islamic groups.
Those who read the Koran should also study the contextual history behind the scriptures, she says.
Her third book, yet to be published, is about the lives of herself and other Muslim women. It tackles women’s rights, Islam, how culture and religion is mixed and confused in the Middle East but its audience is everyone.
There’s a common view that Muslim women are required to “cover up” with a head scarf. However, it is optional, Ms Tausif says – though some would not agree.
“I would like to help young Muslim women to speak up and know their rights have been abused for many years.”
In the meantime one of her poems, Peace, was selected for a World Poetry Peace Prize at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
She’s contested the Miss South Asian Australasian beauty pageant 2017, and has spread her message in poetry anthologies and emerging writers festivals.
“This is my home and this is my community,” she says.
“And I will do anything to help the community now.”
Aliens Don’t Belong On Earth will be launched at Balla Balla Centre, Cranbourne East on 16 September.