At the Jami Omar fundraising dinner on January 24th, Muslim leaders focused on the need for youth to have opportunities to get involved at local mosques. About five hundred guests filled the Jami Omar gymnasium at the fundraiser and Anver Malam, imam at the Jami Omar mosque, said the event would not have been possible without the help of youth volunteers.
Friday morning I found out that an Ottawa mosque was vandalized. Someone had broken a couple of windows and the double-paneled glass door at the sisters' entrance. How do I know that this was the sisters' entrance? Because this is my mosque. I would know that bench and shoe rack anywhere.
On Saturday May 10th, close to 200 members of Ottawa’s Muslim community attended a screening of the documentary UnMosqued at Carleton University and stayed for the discussion that followed. Exploring the ways in which Muslim women, converts to Islam, Muslims from various racial background, and youth in their teens and twenties often feel unwelcome and alienated from their local mosques, the film asks critical questions about the future of the mosque as an institution in North American Muslim communities.
“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”.
Screened to sold-out audiences across North America, Unmosqued explores why more and more Muslims feel unwelcome at their mosques. On Saturday, May 10th at Carleton University, local Muslims will get a chance to watch and discuss this thought-provoking documentary.
After Muslim Link's 10 anniversary celebration, I made a decision; I was going to have a spoken word event. At the mosque.
Yes, you heard me right. I asked Sarah Musa, a fellow spoken word artist, to embark on this task with me. I then wrote an event proposal and emailed to a contact from the mosque. Within a few days, I had the approval.
A full house stood for ”˜Asr (mid-afternoon prayer) Saturday, Mar. 31, after 17 long years of waiting, in the finished lower level of the Assunah Muslim Association (AMA) Mosque. At first glance the mosque hides in the corner behind the trees which line Sawmill Creek, but when you enter the parking lot driveway, the design and height of the mosque dominates the view. A shining sun graced the afternoon as worshippers from all areas of the city arrived, filling the large tiled hall with Muslim men, women and children anxious to be the first to pray in the long-awaited building.
The first mosque Masjid al-Quba in Madina, was made from dry stones and built by the blessed hands of Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, and his companions. Being a place of cleanliness and worship, Muslims were encouraged to wash at home before coming to pray. They were taught to walk to the mosque to avoid (animal) congestion and pray on a dust-swept floor.
Picture the super-luxurious towers of Mecca and the blinged-out buildings of Dubai, and it seems Muslim architecture these days is all about opulence, grandeur and over-indulgence. But there may be hope for the environment. The government of Qatar announced late last year that it is assessing its building policies so that every new mosque built in the country will be based on environmentally friendly models which help save water and energy.
Faith & the Common Good, a non-profit multi-faith coalition, through its Greening Sacred Spaces program organized a green building tour of the Ottawa area dubbed the Sustainability Bus Tour. The tour introduced eco-tourists to various buildings around Ottawa which implement environmental initiatives or innovations in their design or practice. The tour involved a number of places of worship across Ottawa.
The tour was made up of people from all walks of life. From builders to community workers, businessmen to faith leaders, all were interested in learning about what faith-based organizations and communities in Ottawa are doing to reduce their ecological impact in our city. Some were even interested in implementing some of what they saw on the tour in their own community's places of worship.