On Wednesday, March 18th, students at the University of Ottawa gathered to take photos and to speak out against discrimination against Muslim women who veil in Canada. The action was initiated by Civil Law student Hina Ansari and led by fellow Civil Law student Assma Basalamah and Common Law student Aruba Mustafa, who is also the president of the university’s Muslim Law Students’ Association (MLSA).
A twitter photo by Amna Qureshi just went viral. Posted in protest of Montrealer Rania El-Alloul being told by Judge Eliana Marengo that she had to remove her hijab in order to be “suitably dressed” in a “secular” Canadian courtroom. The incident made the ongoing Islamophobia that Muslim women who wear hijab or niqab face in accessing services a national issue. It also raised the question of how Muslim women lawyers who veil will be treated within the legal system. As part of Muslim Link’s ongoing So You Want To… Series where we interview Muslims about their programs of study or career choices, Amna Qureshi, a graduate from the Law School at the University of Ottawa discusses the opportunities and challenges pursuing a law degree offers for Muslim women. A Pakistani Canadian, Qureshi now works as a staff lawyer at Legal Aid Alberta.
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.
Muneeza in the Middle is a new Canadian documentary which will be premiering nationally on CBC's Documentary Channel on January 21st at 9pm. The documentary by Ottawa-based Egyptian Canadian Muslim filmmaker Hoda Elatawi, who is a producer with GAPC Entertainment in Ottawa, follows young Muslim Canadian mother Muneeza Sheikh over five years. I had an opportunity to meet both Hoda and Muneeza when the documentary premiered in Ottawa in early December 2014.
I want to make a new biomedical device that’s not available anywhere. I’m trying to work on non-invasive blood pressure modelling, to do something optical instead of those cuffs, something you can wear that will tell you your blood pressure. That’s what I’m researching and maybe I’ll wind up making something like that.
Nargis Yousuf began her career as a beautician from her small kitchen in a two bedroom apartment. Now her established beauty salon, Al Nisa is the official hair and makeup company for Suhaag's Ottawa Show.