Ramadan is a month where we strive to get closer to Allah by sacrificing that which is normally permissible for us. The most physically strenuous sacrifice is of food and drink during daylight hours, which in Ottawa this year will be for roughly 17 hours daily. But despite the common perception that exercise and physical exertion are to be avoided during Ramadan, one need not put away the weights and hide the running shoes.
Hamza Abdullah of the Arizona Cardinals, for example, has throughout his career managed to fast during Ramadan while playing professional football. Mr. Abdullah believes the key is preparation.
Being asked to cover the Ottawa-South provincial by-election for Muslim Link was a wakeup call and reality check for me as a Lebanese Muslim Canadian. Because I live in the riding, I had to think about how provincial politics affect my life and the lives of my friends and family.
But what I often hear when the topic comes up is: “I hate politics!” or “ Please let's not talk about politics”.
Automatically, the door is shut upon this topic and the conversation shifts to what seems more important ”“ the latest goings on Facebook.
Wire service ”“ n. A news-gathering organization that distributes syndicated copy electronically, as by teletype or the Internet, usually to subscribers.
Also known as a wire agency.
About a decade ago, Hadeel Al-Shalchi, 32, was writing articles about Ottawa's Muslim community in these very pages. She also hosted a weekly show on Carleton University's student radio station, CKCU, and was a regular guest on CBC Radio, commenting on the latest developments in her homeland.
Obviously, journalism was in her blood, though at the time she was pursuing an engineering degree because her father thought it was a more reliable choice.
Perhaps. But thankfully Ms. Al-Shalchi decided to follow her dreams. After obtaining a Master in Journalism from Carleton University, the then 25-year-old Ms. Al-Shalchi made her way to the Middle East, where her family is originally from, to break into journalism on familiar soil. That decision would change her life and bring her to the front lines of the Arab Spring, including the latest violent uprising in Syria.
Ms. Al-Shalchi, who is now covering the Middle East for the wire agency Reuters, was in Ottawa recently and shared her experiences with a packed room of journalism students, family, friends and members of the wider public. Here are some of her reflections on covering the historic Arab Spring uprisings:
I recall my first day as a volunteer at the Ottawa Sadaqa Food Bank. I didn't really know what to expect, so I was glad it was training day which also gave me an opportunity to meet my fellow team members. Once our training was complete we were officially on our own. We divided ourselves into two groups. Two of us would staff the office and serve the clients, while the other two would take to the pantry to stock shelves and make food packages. Initially I was in the latter group.
The news out of Egypt is coming fast and furious. One of the latest reports came from Human Rights Watch (HRW), which condemned what it sees as the excessive use of force by Egyptian security forces in the dispersal of pro-Morsy protesters.
“The police's persistent record of excessive use of force, leading to dozens of deaths this month, and the density of the sit-ins mean that hundreds of lives could be lost if the sit-in is forcibly dispersed,” according to HRW's Middle East Director Nadim Houry, “To avoid another bloodbath, Egypt's civilian rulers need to ensure the ongoing right of protesters to assemble peacefully, and seek alternatives to a forcible dispersal of the crowds,” he said.
Many people will spend months and sometimes even years preparing for a wedding that will last a few hours, not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars invested as well. But how many people actually prepare for marriage itself, which could last a lifetime, by ensuring they have selected the most suitable partner, based on the criteria set out by the Quran and Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him) and the advice of experts in the field of forming healthy relationships that lead to successful marriages?
With Ramadan fresh in our minds, let's think back to that moment when the sun sets, and it's time to decide what delectable item will enter our eager mouths first. Many people opt for dates, simply because that's what the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, used to do. But what if there was a chocolate bar right in front of you, ready for the taking? What would you really want to choose?