Steven Zhou is a journalist and editor who focuses on international security-related affairs, often in the post-9/11 context. He has worked and consulted on a number of initiatives aimed at implementing effective counter-terrorism and civic engagement measures among Western Muslim populations. He has worked as a journalist for The Ottawa Citizen and for CBC-Radio’s Day 6 program. He is currently an associate editor of the The Islamic Monthly magazine and is a frequent op-ed contributor for CBC News online. His writings have also appears on Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera America, The Globe and Mail, Buzzfeed Canada, The American Conservative, and Embassy Magazine, among other outlets. Steven studied Socio-cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto before obtaining his Master of Journalism at Carleton University.
Muslim Link received this letter to the editor from Hailey DeJong in Ottawa. Hailey wears niqab (face veil) and wanted to find a way to thank the OC Transpo bus driver who stood up to a fellow passenger who was harassing Hailey by making Islamophobic remarks.
One Muslim woman is devoting much of her time to raise awareness about Islam across small town Ontario through a series of presentations and interfaith dialogue.
Barbara Helms was born in Saskatchewan to American parents, who were both accomplished classical musicians teaching in Canada. Shortly after she was born the family moved back to the United States, where Helms was raised with her older sister in Princeton, NJ. She returned to Canada in her 20s to study at McGill University.
Australian academic Dr. Scott Flower came to Ottawa on July 25th to discuss his current research on Canadian converts to Islam. He admits that it has been hard to find Canadian converts willing to be interviewed for his current national study of conversion to Islam in Canada, funded through Project Kaniskha, which is managed by Public Safety Canada. And yes, he gets it-“It’s the whole government anti-terrorism connection!”
Recently, as I skimmed through my housemate’s book treasures, I found a new addition to her collection with the title “Signs on the Horizons” by Michael Sugich. Later that day, coincidently, I was informed of the author’s planned visit to Ottawa next week for a series of events hosted by Sanad Collective (see events details at the end of the article).
Born and raised in British Columbia, Islamic Studies teacher Hafsa Dean Thompson will be participating in this year’s I.LEAD Conference. She will be leading a women’s only session addressing the challenges Muslim women face in finding balance in their daily lives.
Muslim Link had the chance to interview her about her pursuit of Islamic scholarship, her community work with Muslim women in crisis and in prison, and why she prefers to focus her educational efforts on women only.
Currently, Dr. Scott Flower from the University of Melbourne in Australia is looking for Canadian converts to Islam to particpate in his study of the Canadian Muslim Convert experience. His Canadian-based research collaborator Megan Ryder Burbidge contacted Muslim Link so we could promote the study within our networks. We wanted to know more about the study's objectives and funding first. Here is what we learned.
I'm originally from a very small coastal town in rural Nova Scotia, about a two and a half hour drive from Halifax. The population of that town is only about 1000 people. In that part of Canada, there is very little diversity and immigration and my town was almost 100 percent White and Christian. I lived in that community for most of my life.
"Since you’ve become Muslim, what do you enjoy most about Islam?"
“I enjoy being around family and the community. And when you see any Muslim, you can say ‘salam’, which means ‘peace’ and you can strike a conversation with people you don’t even know. I love that."
"What has been the most difficult time in your life as a Muslim?"
“Losing my father was one of the saddest things I’ve experienced. He wasn’t Muslim, but he had a need to know what happens after death and I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to him about it from my perspective. He was looking for someone to talk about it, but I was too afraid and whenever it came up, I kept changing the subject. Death scared me and I still think about that."