“The feeling of unity and brotherhood was undeniable,” said Amani Ali, president of the Ahlul Bayt Student Association (ABSA).
Over the weekend students from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and Algonquin College, joined together to volunteer at the “In from the cold” event held at Parkdale United Church. The event is held every Saturday through the winter months, to not only feed the hungry and the homeless but also in hopes of “bringing a smile to their face” and “making them feel less alone” according to Gary Crocker, church coordinator.
The University of Ottawa Muslim Students Association (UOMSA) organized an interfaith session on campus on January 31st to share concerns about the Trump travel ban on seven Muslim majority countries, including Somalia, and the shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that left six people dead.
Somali Canadian Filsan Nour, the UOMSA Events Officer, shared her thoughts on recent events. This is her edited speech.
On the cold Saturday morning, on January 14th, a group of students from multiple University of Ottawa Muslim student associations rose early and went out to warm the hearts and fill the stomachs of people who are homeless in Ottawa.
Roya Shams, 20, has received wide spread attention in Canadian media since she was supported to come to Canada from Afghanistan by Michael Cooke and Paul Watson of the Toronto Star after the assassination her father, a police officer and outspoken voice for women’s equality. Roya’s life was in danger because she was also a vocal advocate for women’s education. Since coming to Canada, it has not been safe for her to return to Kandahar to see her family.
A twitter photo by Amna Qureshi just went viral. Posted in protest of Montrealer Rania El-Alloul being told by Judge Eliana Marengo that she had to remove her hijab in order to be “suitably dressed” in a “secular” Canadian courtroom. The incident made the ongoing Islamophobia that Muslim women who wear hijab or niqab face in accessing services a national issue. It also raised the question of how Muslim women lawyers who veil will be treated within the legal system. As part of Muslim Link’s ongoing So You Want To… Series where we interview Muslims about their programs of study or career choices, Amna Qureshi, a graduate from the Law School at the University of Ottawa discusses the opportunities and challenges pursuing a law degree offers for Muslim women. A Pakistani Canadian, Qureshi now works as a staff lawyer at Legal Aid Alberta.
Students gathered at the University of Ottawa on February 13th to pay tribute to the three victims of the Chapel Hill Shooting. Those present were invited to express their thoughts and feelings in relation to the tragedy. This led to reflections of the impact of Islamophobia on the lives of Muslims in Canada, particularly Muslim students.
On January 30th, a group of West African students and their supporters gathered at the Nigerian High Commission on Metcalfe Street. They were there to pay tribute to the victims of Boko Haram’s latest attack on civilians in the town of Baga and in neighbouring towns in Northern Nigeria in early January. Despite the cold, they set flowers out in front of the Commission in memory of those who had died.
From January 12th to January 16th, the student groups used a giveaway and information station at the University of Ottawa's central campus to spread knowledge about the prophet. Student volunteers distributed free hot chocolate and held a bake sale to support "Charity: Water," a non-profit organization. Students also distributed information pamphlets about the Prophet and offered passers-by quotes by the Prophet attached to roses.