Muslim Link operates within the changing landscape of the forth-largest Muslim community in Canada where individuals often only have the ties of religious identity in common. From recently arrived international students studying at the city’s colleges and universities to retirees who came to Ottawa in the late 1960s, Ottawa’s Muslim community defies one simple category.
According to most recent figures from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), there are approximately 65,000 people living in Ottawa-Gatineau who self-identify as Muslim. This classification of “Muslim” does not distinguish between Muslim religious groups or degrees of religious practice. In reality, the region’s Muslims are a microcosm of the global Muslim population which is diverse and complex in practice, religious orientation and interpretation.
This region is home to cultures from around the world, and as such, the Muslim community represents this ethno-cultural diversity as well. The three most prominent visible minority groups in Ottawa-Gatineau who identify as Muslim are Arab (26,215), Black (12,635), and South Asian (11,330) according to Statistics Canada (NHS 2011)
The percentage of Muslims holding degrees in post-secondary education is higher than the general population in Canada. However, there are also Muslims who are struggling to complete secondary and post-secondary education, to have their foreign credentials recognized, or to learn English as a Second Language. Further, Muslims work in a variety of trades and professions or struggle on social assistance.
Muslims make up a significant segment of the population of the various waves of refugees who have come to Canada over the last thirty years, and who continue to arrive here. They have also been a part of the various waves of immigrants accepted into the country searching for economic prosperity and religious and political freedom.
Muslims live in all parts of the region, and live in various neighbourhoods. From social housing to wealthy enclaves, Muslims are found throughout our city.
Muslims in Ottawa-Gatineau are quite young. The median age for Muslims in Canada is 28 (Statistics Canada 2011 NHS).
Muslims in Ottawa vote for political parties across the political spectrum. There are also many Muslims who are apathetic about voting or feel they cannot vote for religious reasons.
Muslim Link strives to reflect all of these forms of diversity in its:
b. Story Assignment
c. Recruitment of Contributors
Muslim Link endeavors to represent the diversity of the Muslim community within each of its issues. Stories about Muslims of various ethno-cultural & socio-economic backgrounds, practice, etc., will be included in the paper. Photographs representing the community’s diversity will also be included.
The following will be considered when assigning news & feature stories:
Muslim Link will make efforts to recruit volunteer and paid writers who represent a broad swathe of the Muslim community. We also welcome non-Muslim writers. News reporters will be held to high journalistic principles and, as such, should not allow personal biases to affect coverage. However, given that reporters will often unconsciously apply biases to their reporting and writing based on their own experiences, all articles will be edited by the Editor-in-Chief in order to ensure that they conform to Muslim Link’s policies and overall tone. The newspaper will also ensure that writers are offered feedback and training, if necessary.
Reporters are encouraged to cover stories from the full diversity of Ottawa-Gatineau’s Muslim community. However, for particularly sensitive stories, reporters will be chosen who themselves represent the community being written about or have a history of trust with a particular community.
Muslim Link will also encourage the submission of opinion pieces that reflect the diversity of perspectives and experiences within the community. Opinion pieces solely reflect the opinions’ of the author(s).
Muslim Link will promote itself through various civic, cultural and religious events in order to attract a wide variety of potential readers, writers and volunteers.
Social media also plays a critical role in ensuring that the Muslim Link brand becomes a known entity among various communities. This will lead to greater interest from diverse groups. There will be a special emphasis placed on ensuring the paper is promoted by individuals on social media who represent various diverse communities.
Examples of events/ organizations to assist in the promotion of stories:
Muslim Link encourages submissions from community members, but strongly recommends sending in an initial “pitch” (story proposal) to the Editor-in-Chief to make sure that the article topic is something Muslim Link would be interested in publishing.
Muslim Link reserves the right to reject submissions on the following basis:
Muslim Link contributors will be encouraged to write with both diverse Muslim communities, as well as other faith communities in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, in mind. All writing must reflect a respect for other faith communities as well as those who do not identify with a particular religion, as this diversity is part of our city.
Muslim Link will not publish any material that is considered hateful to any group or individual protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Muslim Link will also base articles exploring human rights related issues on the findings of respected international human rights organizations’ such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Last modified: 5/26/2014
Muslim Link reserves the right to add, change, and modify this or other policies. This policy applies to Muslim Link issues from March 2014 onwards, however it may be applied retroactively to past articles at the Publisher’s discretion if the content of an article does not conform to this policy in an egregious manner. Contact the Editor-in-Chief for clarification or questions on anything in this document, or related issues.