I am a white, Christian, fourth-generation Canadian. Because of these factors alone, my life has been infinitely easier than it has been for many Canadians. I personally have never experienced racism. When I say I am from Canada, no one ever asks me where I am really from. I feel I can openly practice my religion, including wearing a cross around my neck, without being harassed or accused of being an extremist. In short, I was born with an incredible amount of privilege.
Somali Canadian student Sahra Jama lives in Vancouver and is new to organizing demonstrations. But when she learned about the exploitation of African migrants in Libya she felt she had to act. With the support of Black Lives Matter Vancouver, she was able to mobilize around 100 supporters for a demonstration in solidarity with African migrants in Libya which took place on December 16th in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Muslim Link interviewed Sahra about her initiative, the African migrant crisis, and why she hopes more Muslim Canadians will speak out about what is happening to African migrants in Libya.
Somali Canadian Yasmine Mo is pursuing a Master’s in sociology at the Université de Montréal. Her thesis explores the social realities of Black Muslim women living in Montreal, the contributions of these women to Quebec society. The intersection of anti-Black racism, sexism and Islamophobia are at the centre of her studies.
Yasmine Mo spoke at a demonstration organized on November 18th by African Canadians in Montreal in the wake of recent reports that have hit mainstream media about the abuse, exploitaiton and in some cases enslavement experienced by African migrants in Libya, as situation that Amnesty International has described as "horrific".
It will also be an opportunity to meet award-winning Somali Canadian journalist Eman Idil Bare, who has recently moved to Ottawa to work as a producer on CBC's Power and Politics. Eman has been outspoken in calling attention to the issue of anti-Black racism within Muslim communties. Read Eman's CBC article about what self-identifying as Black means for young Torontonians here.
Muslim Link interviewed Ginella about becoming a role model for so many Muslim women and how her experience as an “outsider” within Muslim Canadian communities is an advantage when it comes to doing a better job of covering new stories that explore the complexity of the Muslim Canadian experience.
"I just want a young Black Muslimah to look at my art and not feel alone or die of starvation for representation." – Somali Canadian artist Riya Jama
"When people show you who they are, believe them the first time." – Black American writer Maya Angelou
Recently, some non-Black Muslims have expressed their outrage to me over the fact that there are currently no Black Muslim Canadians nominated for the Muslim Awards of Excellence (MAX Gala) taking place this fall in Toronto.
I was even asked to come up with a list of accomplished Black Muslim Canadians in order to shame MAX organizers.