As a little girl, my choice for what I want to be when I grow up fluctuated frequently and often without warning, each time leaving me convinced that this new profession was my life’s calling. A surgeon, a mayor, a tennis player, an astronaut, a writer, a lawyer, and a human rights activist – the list was endless and populated with inspiration that came both from my surroundings and my parents’ continuous encouragement there really was nothing I couldn’t do.
“UnMosqued” portrayed various scenarios that I have personally experienced as a young Muslim woman in Ottawa. The documentary made me realize that most of us didn’t know that many others are bothered by the same issues in our mosques: the unequal prayer spaces between men and women and the separating wall, the less convenient backdoor entrance for women, the dominance of one ethnic group, male-dominated board members, the lack of and quality of English programs, the awkwardness of interacting with the opposite gender etc. For these reasons and others, I have personally felt disconnected to local mosques or “unmosqued”.
“Kids have power too”, stated Deka Arab, a 16 year old student at Ottawa Islamic School. Deka and her fellow students Sarah Hussain, 16, and Fatima Kabeli, 17, drafted the proposal for the “Light the Path” project, which has made it to the final round of PeaceMidan's 320Reality Contest. The contest invited people from around the world to submit their ideas for projects that could address the social challenges facing countries in the Middle East. Contest winners will receive $35,000 US as well as expert support to make their project a reality.