Chelby Marie Daigle is Muslim Link’s Coordinator. Under her direction, Muslim Link adopted its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy so that the paper strives to reflect the complexity of the region’s Muslim communities. As Coordinator, she works to build relationships with local Muslim and mainstream organizations and manages the paper's social media and events listing. She also works closely with the Publisher to develop operational policies for the paper. Find her on Twitter @ChelbyDaigle
As the new coordinator of the Muslim Link, one of the tasks I assigned myself was figuring out the history of the paper that has become an important institution in Ottawa's Muslim community.
Muslim Link was founded in 2002 by Ali Bokhari and his wife Tahira Ismail. Ali was inspired to create the paper after seeing the success of The Muslim Link in the US. Founded in 1998, the American paper connects Muslims across the Virginia, Maryland, and Metropolitan Washington D.C area.
Ali's other motivation came from the fallout of 9/11 when stereotypes and misinformation about Muslims in Canada became rampant and it was clear that a forum was needed for Muslim Canadians to connect, share information, discuss their common concerns, and see their lives reflected in a positive light.
“Strengthening Relationships with the Muslim Community” is a series of sessions organized by several Muslim organizations in partnership with the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) and the Community Police Action Committee (COMPAC).
The first session took place on Thursday, January 24th 2013 at Masjid Assunnah. Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau summed up the purpose of the series as follows: “It's about us as police officers and members of the police service learning more about the Muslim community but it's also about the Muslim community knowing who we are as police officers and what we do, and what the police service is capable of doing to help you.”
The Ottawa Police is inviting all Muslim residents to attend a community information session at Masjid Dar Assunnah on Jan. 24, 2013. The event, organised in partnership with several Ottawa Muslim organizations, is aimed at strengthening relations between the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) and local Muslims.
Algonquin College has opened a spiritual centre for its students in the brand new Robert C. Gillett Student Commons Building. The centre has a large prayer room, two rooms for ablutions, and three offices for each of the major faiths represented at the school: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The centre officially opened on Nov. 1, 2012 with an interfaith prayer service and lunch which brought together students, school administration, and religious leaders from outside the campus, to celebrate.
It's Nov. 17, and as Somali-Canadian student Sharmake Abdulkarim delivers the khutbah (sermon) at the jummah (Friday) prayer, he encourages his fellow Muslim students not to gossip or backbite, and to help each other through the stressful time of exams and midterms.
“I have to admit, I was nervous,” Mr. Sharmake says, but he welcomes the encouragement he receives from Adel ElMaghrabi, the centre's full-time volunteer Imam, to write khutbahs that will be relevant to the lives of his fellow students.
“When the students come to jummah, they need to hear something that will help them in their daily lives,” Imam ElMaghrabi says.
Despite a day of truly terrible weather, well over 800 people turned up for the International Food Festival on Oct. 14. They came out to the St. Elias Banquet Hall to enjoy food and performances representing Ottawa's multicultural mosaic and to show their support for the people of Yemen.
The festival, a joint initiative of local youth group Gentler and Softer Hearts and the charity Human Concern International (HCI), raised awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
The first Voice of Muslim Youth provincial election engagement session took place on Sept. 10 at Ben Franklin Place. I decided to organize this session after attending the Voice of Muslim Youth's Town Hall Meeting in July, when concerns around the lack of Muslim political engagement were raised. I told Kauthar Mohamed, the co-founder of VOMY, that I had an idea of how to get Muslim youth interested in politics by showing them how the issues that concerned them most were linked to Canadian politics.
As the Ontario provincial election is taking place on Oct. 6, I felt there was a great opportunity to encourage Muslim youth to vote in the upcoming election by giving them the chance to meet and discuss their concerns with local provincial candidates. Thanks to the sponsorship of the South Nepean Muslim Community and the Ottawa Muslim Women's Organization, we were able to cover all the costs related to organizing this important event.
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.
Women wearing the niqab (face veil) will have an opportunity to talk candidly about their experiences to opinion and policy makers, through a new study by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW).
The research, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a government agency, will be carried out in consultation with Shahrzad Mojab, Professor at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.