I grew up between the contrasting worlds of South Asian and Arab culture. Born to Algerian and Bengali parents, I could identify with a realm of backgrounds and the experiences that came with them. A valuable part of this experience was community and people.
My “Abbu” (father) came from a Bangla-speaking family while my Ammu (mother) hailed from a Urdu-speaking family. It’s a common phenomenon in Bangladesh because before the 1971 war, we used to be East Pakistan and families that spoke both languages lived in both East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (now Pakistan). Growing up, my brother and I spoke both languages, at home we spoke Bangla and in my maternal grandparents' house we spoke Urdu/Hindi mixed.
Muslim Link would like to thank Umm Zaynab for her anonymous contribution which sheds light on a serious gap in Muslim community services in Canada.
The loss of a loved one is something that most of us will inevitably experience in the course of our lives. It is surprising then that there are very few resources available in our communities and in our institutions to help and support those experiencing such a loss. Our mosques and institutions often seem to think that in the event of a death, their role ends with settling matters of the funeral - bathing, offering funeral prayers for and burying the deceased.
Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Canadian band The Tragically Hip, passed away on October 17, 2017 due to cancer. The Tragically Hip are one of the most beloved music groups in Canada's history. Gord Downie sang and wrote most of The Hip's songs. Through tears Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about Gord Downie by stating: “Gord was my friend, but Gord was everyone’s friend. He knew, as great as [Canadians] were, we needed to be better than we are. Our buddy Gord, who loved this country with everything he had, and not just loved it in a nebulous ‘oh, I love Canada way,’ he loved every hidden corner, every story, every aspect of this country that he celebrated his whole life.”
Somali Canadian writer Rowda Mohamud shared the following reflection on the impact a lyric from The Tragically Hip's song Bobcaygeon, written by Gord Downie, had on her as a newcomer to Canada, after having arrived as a refugee with her family in the 1990s. The song is named after the town of Bobcaygeon, Ontario in the Kawartha Lakes region.
As the online hub for Muslims in Canada, we strive to be inclusive of the diversity of Muslim experience and practice in this country. But as our team currently all identifies as Sunni Muslim, there are certain traditions we do not partake in, and therefore do not know much about.
This year, we did our best to make sure we posted the Muharram and Ashura events organized by the Twelver Shia community in the ten cities Muslim Link currently has event listings for. This was definitely a learning curve for us, but as these events got many hits, we assume our readers appreciated it.
To better understand what Muharram means for our Twelver Shia readers, we decided to publish a personal reflection by a young Ottawa-based university student about what the experience of attending her mosque for Muharram and Ashura is like.
On October 19th, a vigil was organized by Somali community members in partnership with the office of the Minister for Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugees, Somali Canadian Ahmed Hussen, to mourn the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Mogadishu which has killed over 500 people, leaving hundreds more injured.
As the Somali community holds fundraisers in cities like Ottawa, Toronto, and Calgary this weekend to raise funds for the victims and their families, others are asking why their fellow Muslims and Canadians seem silent despite the magnitude of this terrorist attack.
Muslim Link was asked by Kubra Zakir, a Scarborough Campus Students’ Union Executive, to publish this statement in relation to the recent and unexpected closure of the Islamic Foundation School's high school.
To learn more about this closure and the controvery surrounding it, read this article by Noor Javed in The Toronto Star and this article by Mike Adler in InsideToronto.
You can also learn about the new school being opened by former Islamic Foundation School staff in order to support displaced students in this article by Noor Javed in The Toronto Star.
This is the response of Samiya Ahmed, a Toronto-based Somali Canadian community activist, who is highly involved in a variety of Muslim community spaces, including spaces that do not have much Black Muslim presence.
She co-presented the workshop “On Being Black and Muslim: Hard Truths and Healing” at this year’s Being ME-Muslimah Empowered Toronto Conference in May 2017.