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.
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.
In this installment of the Journey to the Light, we hear the brothers’ side of the Ottawa convert story. A local entertainer, Joshua Asare, aka Jae Deen, agreed to speak to Muslim Link's Sakina bint Erik about his journey.
The Fondation Nzamwita Omary is a registered charity serving Rwandans in various sectors. This year, they are supporting three projects: Tere Imbere (Move Forward) which provides income-generating opportunities for families, the Iftar program which feeds any hungry person (Muslim or non-Muslim) who comes to a mosque, and a program to cover high school tuition for needy students. Muslim Link spoke with Amina Umuzayire, whose father originally founded the charity.
On June 15th, the Canadian Somali Mother’s Association honoured exceptional Somali fathers for their leadership within the community at the annual Father’s Day Celebration. Abdul Arale was one of the speakers at the event. Arale was widowed when his eldest child was just six and he went on to raise three daughters and one son as a single father.
Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman, 15, is preparing to compete in the Ottawa Art Battle Regional Finals, a live painting competition where artists have only 20 minutes to create a masterpiece. Audience members move around their easels as they work and at the end of the round, the audience votes for their favourite painting. Sarah-Mecca will be the youngest artist competing in Ottawa. She is a finalist in the Art Battle she competed in in March, and will be competing as a member of a select group of All-Stars chosen by the event organizers at the regional finals. The artists are competing for a spot in the Art Battle Finals in Toronto this July.
On Friday, Febraury 28th, a memorial service took place at Ridgemont High School to remember and celebrate the life of Mohamoud Hersi Abdulle. The service was attended by Ottawa Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau, who also spoke, along with Mr. Abdulle's family, friends, and colleagues. He was killed in a terrorist attack on the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Friday, February 21, just a few days before he was about to return to Ottawa. He is survived by a wife and six children. Muslim Link invited Somali community members who worked closely with Mr. Abdulle to reflect on the impact of his life and work in Ottawa.
In 2012 alone, more than 6.6 million children globally under the age of 5 died from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, HIV, and measles. 1.7 million children die annually because of Severe Acute Malnutrition and 3.6 million die because of Moderate Acute Malnutrition. To put it simply, they die because they don't have access to food. Globally, 67 million children do not have access to basic education. That means they will never graduate from grade 8 and go on to high school.
When I tell my friends that I volunteer with the Ottawa Police Service they think it's awesome. Although many times I receive questions like, “Oh, you want to be a police officer?” or a “Do you get to use a gun?”
Here is what I actually do: I volunteer with the Ottawa Police Service's Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). YAC hopes to become the liaison between the youth and the police, in the hope that this relationship will make Ottawa a safer place. YAC works to address the issues that youth are facing and to meet their needs.