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.
For some people, the image of a Canadian folk singer can be a specific one. Typically speaking, one might picture a person with a sort of hipster or alternative look. Perhaps they are wearing a very artsy oversized hat or maybe even sporting some tattoos.
In the case of Audrey Saparno, she is a musician who defies stereotypes across the board. A Canadian woman of Indonesian decent, she does not wear quirky hats, fancy boots or any tattoos. She sports a hijab, an acoustic guitar slung over her shoulder, and a bright smile for all to see.
The fashion industry can be a cold and cut-throat world, but one happy-go-lucky Muslim woman is bringing warmth to it, one clothing collection at a time.
Iman Nakhala is a fashion designer from Montreal; arguably the main hub of arts and culture in Canada. Originally from Palestine, Iman was born in Saudi Arabia in 1986 and moved with her family to Quebec in 1993.
“My parents moved us to Canada in 1993 to get a higher education just like they did. I’m bi-cultural and proud of it,” she says.
Like many young Muslims raised in the West, Iman often found herself straddling more than one identity.
A painting hangs on a wall in Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts. In varying hues of blue, soft yellow and beige, it is the portrait of a young woman. Her head is tilted slightly, her eyes looking into the distance. She is tight lipped with a resolved look on her face, but most noticeable of all is her sky-blue headscarf, emblazoned with a yellow Fleur-de-Lys- the national symbol of Quebec.
This is a self-portrait of Zahraa Sbaiti, a visual artist from Montreal, Quebec. Born and raised in Canada, Zahraa is 24 years old and of Lebanese decent. She is a student at Concordia University, soon graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts.
While it is home to many brilliant artists, Ottawa is mostly known as a working city and not necessarily for its art scene. Hoping to change the future of art in her city, and perhaps the world, one Muslim woman has a few initiatives up her sleeve.
Anyone who has ever sought out post-secondary education knows it can be a struggle to find the perfect program. One team of young Muslims from Ottawa is changing the scene with a new website aimed at helping students find the Canadian university that’s right for them.
Apportal.ca is the brainchild of Abdul Amoud. A Merivale High School graduate currently enrolled at the University of Ottawa, he recalls how his own path to post-secondary education was not so smooth.
For many people, the first thought that comes to mind about Palestine is tragic conflict not intricate embroidery. It is an unfortunate reality, but one budding Canadian business is slowly changing that.
Motarrazat is an Ottawa based clothing company started by Palestinian Canadian Manal Abusheikha. Having immigrated to Canada from Jordan with her husband and children in 2001, she left behind most of her extended family and friends. In the beginning, the couple started a small business and sought to finish school. Manal’s husband, Waleed, soon graduated in project management and she enjoyed looking through his textbooks which prompted her to also get her masters in the same field. Her interest in business led her to open her own day care and later on, her very own clothing company.
Being a mom can often be a daunting task, and even more so when confronted with the challenges of raising children Islamically in the West. A group of Muslim moms rose to the task of creating a website where other Muslim mothers (especially Canadian Muslim moms) can come for support and information. The site also offers special information for new-comers to Canada. The site's contributors range across the Greater Toronto Area and from other cities in Canada. Here is a brief interview we conducted with the project manager of MuslimMoms.ca Erum Zehra, a website consultant by profession.