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.
Morrocan French Canadian Aicha Lasfar grew up in Gatineau but recently moved to Calgary, Alberta. In Ottawa-Gatineau, Lasfar made a name for herself as an avid blogger and vlogger exploring parenting and the Muslim Canadian experience.
Muslim Link interviewed Lasfar about her experiences on social media and her latest blog Canadian Mooselim.
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.
Mosques, much like libraries, are considered by many to be quiet and still places of reflection and contemplation, especially during prayer times. When the faithful attend the mosque, it is usually in the hopes of leaving behind the chaotic and noisy world outside in order to connect deeply with the Divine. That is, until an all too familiar sound of running footsteps, gleeful shrieking and the cries of a frustrated infant break the silence… We’ve all been there; trying to concentrate on the imam’s beautiful recitation despite a child singing the Spider-Man theme in the back of the room and unintentionally bringing you back to your favorite 90’s cartoon instead of the deep meaning of the Qur’anic verse being presently recited… Here are a few tips for parents like myself who would like to bring their child to the mosque, while conserving the peaceful atmosphere therein.
Many mothers decide to go back to work or school when their children are still young. Their reasons for doing so are as numerous and varied as the women themselves.
Some mothers do not think twice about going back on the work force after the maternity leave is over. As fulfilling as being a stay-at-home-mother can be, many mothers consider their careers just as important or satisfying.
Whereas for other mothers, finishing school is something they’d rather get out of the way as soon as possible in order to be at home with their children when they are older and need more attention.
For many mothers, staying at home is a luxury and they must rejoin the workforce in order to provide for their family. Whatever the reason may be, when a mother decides to go back to work or school, she encounters a whole new set of challenges.