This article is a first in a series of interviews Muslim Link is conducting with Muslim children in Ottawa. Ottawa’s Muslim community is quite young but we often do not get an opportunity to hear the thoughts and opinions of this significant demographic on social problems in our society.
Sheikh Daood Butt will be speaking at the I.LEAD Conference on April 16th. Sheikh Butt received his B.A. in Da'wah and Usool ad-Deen from the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia. In 2015, he received the Imam of the Year Award at MuslimFest from DawaNet. Born and raised in Montreal to a Pakistani father and Portuguese mother, the married father of two currently lives and teaches in Mississauga, but often travels internationally to speak on Islam.
Somali Canadian Abdirizak Mohamud has been a foster parent with the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa for over 10 years, during which time he has fostered over 15 children. The majority of these children have been from Muslim backgrounds. Muslim Link interviewed Abdirizak about his experience as a foster parent and why more Muslim foster parents are needed in Ottawa.
Mental health advocate Saba Malik has returned to blogging on the subject of mental illness and Islam after a significant absence. Muslim Link interviewed Saba about her personal struggle with bipolar disorder and her renewed commitment to creating an online community of support for her fellow Muslims coping with the illness.
Serenity Islamic Mental Health Awareness was founded last year as a way to address the stigma and common myths associated with mental illness in Ottawa’s Muslim Communities. It is led by Berak Hussain, a practicing counsellor and graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Masters’ in Counselling Program, and a number of university students. At present they have organized a few presentations on mental health by qualified mental health service providers who come from Muslim and non-Muslim backgrounds.
Muslim Link interviewed Berak Hussain about the initiative.
Amal Fertility is a Mississauga-based support group for Muslim women struggling with infertility. The group offers monthly meetings and information sessions on topics such as adoption and foster care. Muslim Link connected with the group’s founders, Sarah Hussain and Fatima Shaikh, to explore the need to initiate more discussion on the realities of Muslim women struggling with infertility and childlessness in our communities. Hussain and Shaikh shared their individual journeys that brought them to forming the Amal Fertility Support Group and then responded to the rest of our questions collaboratively.
Recently, Black Muslim Canadian Spoken Word poet Key Ballah wrote a piece for Love, Inshallah about her experience in a predominantly Pakistani mosque in Toronto where she was interrupted during prayer and told that “This is an Urdu-speaking mosque” and “There is another mosque where you can go not too far from here. There are more people like you there.” In the piece, she reflected on the need to honestly and openly address anti-Black racism in the Canadian Muslim community. Muslim Link invited Key to speak more in depth about what she thinks needs to be done to address anti-Black racism.
After working for three years as a reporter with CBC Ottawa, Pakistani-Canadian Kamil Karamali has returned to his hometown of Vancouver. Muslim Link interviewed Kamil about his career and what advice he has for aspiring journalists.