A recent conversation with Dr. Aliaa Dakroury left my neurons firing in all directions, trying to forge the synaptic connections that would allow my brain to process the contributions of this exuberant dynamo of a woman.
It was twilight, when we long to draw the curtains and lull ourselves into an evening peace but two minutes into the conversation my heart was pumping with the same adrenalin that pulsed through her veins as she proclaimed the need for Muslim women in Canada to be visible and audible ambassadors of their faith.
Dr. Dakroury cannot be said to be tentative in her opinions. To her credit, she has passionately held convictions on the myriad roles that Muslim women should play in North America, or anywhere, for that matter.
The Izzah Learning Center's mission is to support women in the study of Tilawatul (Recitation) and Hifdhul (Memorization) of the Qur'an.
The center was founded by Fatima Abdi, who is finishing up a Master's of Education at the University of Ottawa with a specialization in teaching, learning and evaluation along with Aqbal Ahmed, an experienced Arabic teacher.
In the dark days that followed September 11, 2001, as the precarious relationship between Islam and the West rapidly deteriorated, a diverse group of Muslim women from the Ottawa area gathered to confront the new reality of greater suspicion, mistrust, and scrutiny.
Confronted by openly hostile chatter in the media and on the street, this disparate collection of women united both by their faith and a fierce pride in their shared identity as Canadians, contemplated their options and deliberately declined to accept defeat by shuffling off, heads bowed, into the shadowy realm of the lost.
Ottawa's modesty-minded fashionistas now have a new boutique to meet their needs.
Nourabelle offers ready-to-wear haute couture fashion from the Muslim world. Walking into the beautifully-decorated store on 1223 Kilborn Avenue, few would imagine that the store only opened back in December or that owner Faten Fawaz wasn't born to run such a business.
When first finding out that they are pregnant, most expectant mothers head straight for their family doctor who then refers them to an obstetrician without a second thought, but did you know that there is another type of caregiver?
Midwives have been around pretty much ever since women have been going into labour.
Modern midwives are certified professionals who have at least a bachelor’s degree, completed nursing and midwifery training and who have also passed exams in order to obtain a license to practice.
As a Muslim woman, I found that there were several benefits to having a midwife:
The fifth annual Expressions of Muslim Women (EMW) took place on Saturday, November 17 at the Centrepointe Studio Theatre. The sold-out event raised funds for local charities like Sadaqa Food Bank and Nelson House, a shelter for women and children fleeing abuse.
The title of this year's event was “Strength in Sisterhood”, a theme which ran through several of the performances that evening. The theme was also embodied by the commitment of the event organizers, a group of women who have volunteered to make EMW an artistic celebration for women to look forward to each year.
Help may soon be just a phone call away for Muslim women in distress.
1-888-315-NISA, the first toll-free anonymous phone counseling service for Canadian Muslimahs, is being launched this month by Mercy Mission, a non-profit Islamic organization.
The helpline, a project of Mercy Mission's Women's Resource Centre, is designed to answer questions and provide references and advice to Muslim women across the country seeking support, guidance or even a listening ear.
Nestled between the fruit markets and video stores on a busy street in St-Laurent, many may pass by the modest bureau of the Amal Center for Women without a second glance. An inconspicuous sign at the front door leads the way up a flight of stairs to the center's office, where Muslim women from different parts of the city come together to bring hope to those that need it most.
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." - Helen Keller
In preparation for this article I asked Fatma Maged to email me her favorite saying and she replied with the quote above by Helen Keller. Later, as I sat down in an interview with Fatma, I soon realized why this quote is so closely related to her own personal biography.
Expressions of Muslim Women held their 4th annual show called Winds of Change at Centrepointe Studio Theatre on Dec. 10, 2011. The show exhibited artwork and performances by local Muslim women to a female audience. The new venue provided a professional space for this group of talented women to share their art with a full house of over 200 people. Proceeds went to local charities, including the Sadaqa Food Bank. The following are some of the items presented and the reactions from audience members: