Muslim Link’s Aicha Lasfar had an opportunity to interview Deen Squad this summer while they were recording in Ottawa. Accompanied by her husband Ryan Fournier, an Islamic School teacher and long-time friend of Deen Squad’s Ghanaian Canadian Jae Deen and Lebanese Canadian Karter Zaher, the interview explores the group’s journey from Ottawa to Dubai and beyond.
Muslim Link would like to thank Ottawa’s Poet Laureate Jamaal Rogers for providing space for the interview at The Origin Arts & Community Centre.
Musleh Khan, one of North America’s youngest imams, serves at the Sakinah Community Center in Toronto. Educated at the University of Medina, the city where he was born to Indo-Caribbean parents, Khan has been recognized for his ability to make some of Islam’s most complicated concepts easier to understand.
Muslim Link caught up with Khan at the Jami Omar fundraising dinner. In this exclusive interview, Khan shares his thoughts on how to prevent youth radicalization and gang involvement, as well as how to effectively engage youth and increase ethno-cultural diversity in mosques.
In the wake of the shooting at Tanger Outlets on Boxing Day 2014 in Kanata, Imam Sikander Hashmi reached out to Muslim Link for help in organizing an information session about gangs in Ottawa. For many in the Kanata Muslim Association (KMA), this event brought home the reality of gangs in Ottawa for the first time. It also disturbed them because both the perpetrator and the victim were from Muslim backgrounds. However, for Muslims in other parts of Ottawa, in particular Ottawa-West, Ottawa-East, and Ottawa-South, the presence of gangs, and the disproportionate number of young Muslim men involved in them, has been a serious concern for years.
In a joint effort by KMA and Muslim Link, the Stop It: Gangs, Guns, and Drugs Information Session took place on January 16th 2015. Staff Sergeant Andrew Buchan from the Ottawa Police Service's Youth Section and Sharmaarke Abdullahi from Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) were invited to speak about their organization's efforts to address Ottawa's gang issue.
Recently, concerns have been raised within Ottawa's Muslim communities about how many of youth that seemed to be involved in gang-related violence, both as victims and as perpetrators, are from Muslim families.