In this installment of my column, I interview just one local convert about her experiences raising her children as Muslim while having non-Muslim parents. Dr. Aisha Sherazi was born and raised in the UK, and migrated to Canada in 2000. She hails from a Hindu family, and is of Indian origin. She writes freelance editorials in various newspapers and resides in Ottawa, Canada. She now works as a spiritual counsellor for teenagers and teachers at Merivale High School, and conducts workshops across the city on the dangers of stereotyping. She helps represent the Muslim Community of Ottawa on COMPAC for the Ottawa Police Service and sits on the board of the Islamic Social Services Association of Canada. Happily married with two busy children, she also writes poetry and fiction in her spare time
Like many of her peers, at 22, Nafeesa Salar had her hands full with her full-time university and a part-time job. But her love and passion for art and design inspired her to take a bold move two years ago and launch her own business, Salar Event Planning, a Montreal-based event planning company.
Sana Khan began shadowing experienced henna artists at age 21. Within a few years, she had co-founded a business. Now, at 24, she's launched her solo career and is hoping to profit from increasing demand.
Traditionally henna tattoos are worn by women from South Asian, Arab, and African backgrounds for celebrations such as Eid (Islamic festivals). Elaborate henna ceremonies often form part of wedding celebrations as well.
The editor of a successful American Muslim women's magazine was in the nation's capital as part of a country-wide tour commissioned by the U.S. Embassy last month.
Azizah Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Tayyibah Taylor, was in town to discuss media portrayals of Muslim women, and how her magazine has aimed to shatter stereotypes. Muslim Link's Miriam Katawazi was get a one-one-one interview with Taylor, who was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims by Jordan's The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies. Born in Trinidad to parents from Barbados and raised in Toronto, Canada, Taylor embraced Islam at the age of 19.
Studying Journalism is a new series exploring the experiences of Muslim journalism students in Ottawa as they reflect on how their religious and ethno-cultural identities influence the perspectives they bring to the world of media.
When I first applied to Carleton's journalism program, I received discouraging comments from some relatives and friends. Mainly, three “concerns” stood out in most conversations: I'm Arab, I'm Muslim, and I wear the headscarf. Some people said I would have difficulty rising in the program and later in my career due to these three distinctions. However, now that I'm nearly done my third year in one of Canada's most prestigious programs, I'm proud of the choice I made.
World Hijab Day aims to counter the often negative associations non-Muslims and some Muslims have with the hijab. Celebrated on February 1st, it was started in New York in 2013 by Bangladeshi American Nazma Khan and is now celebrated in over 50 countries worldwide.
As World Hijab Day is wrapping up, many of us who are advocates of religious freedom in Canada are grappling with outrage at how the tragic death of Naima Rharouity has been covered in some media.
Certainly, the hijab has come under increased scrutiny, thanks to the highly controversial values charter, proposed by the PQ government. The charter, which aims to enforce a rigid form of secularism within the province, has already been blamed for mounting abuse and harassment of Muslim women. Whether or not this law is passed, the coverage and subsequent reactions to Naima Rharouity's death further indicate that the floodgates of hatred towards Muslim women have already been opened. Every Muslim woman in the province, and possibly beyond, will be affected negatively by the racist and patriarchal discourses playing out during hearings on the charter at Quebec's national assembly.
Farhia Ahmed is a mother of four who runs her own career consulting business. But on and off since 2005, she has been the team lead for Reviving the Islamic Spirit's Media Team. Muslim Link had a chance to interview Farhia about her journey with RIS and the role the Media Team plays in trying to improve the image of Muslims in mainstream media.