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The book Fatima’s Journey

The book Fatima’s Journey details my journey as a two-time liver transplant recipient.

In the book I talk about how I came to spread awareness about organ donation; share my story through social media, media, and public speaking; and how I came to be a part of a community of transplant patients, donor families, and those with chronic illness who united together in diversity through struggles. You can find out more information about the book at http://www.fatimabaig.com . The book is available through amazon, barnes and nobles, chapters and indigo,

Canadians give perspective on New Zealand shooting

Three days ago, on March 16 the New Zealand massacre occurred. The lasting effect hasn’t only been limited to New Zealand.

Chairperson of the Canadian Council of Imams Dr. Iqbal Massod Al-Nadvi said he was surprised and shocked when he heard the news.

“It was surprising for me because I know that New Zealand is a very remote and peaceful country,“ Al-Nadvi told Skedline.com.

He said he was pleased with the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern’s response to the tragedy and commended Ardern’s condemnation of the attack as a terrorist act.

“How the prime minister responded was very positive, especially since she used the word terrorist because most people avoid it,” he said.

Al-Nadvi said he believes Canada has become part of the issues because of the Quebec mosque shooting in 2017.

“The attacker quoted the Quebec mosque issue, in that sense Canada has become a part of it,” he said.

The Quebec mosque shooting occurred on Jan 29, 2017 after Alexandre Bissonnette.entered the Québec City Islamic cultural center and shot dead six people. He had been charged with first-degree murder and another five counts of attempted murder.

According to the National Observer, Bissonnette “was obsessed with Donald Trump and searched for the U.S. president online more than 800 times between Jan. 1 and Jan. 29, 2017, the day of the harrowing shooting. He also browsed regularly for Muslims, mass murderer Dylann Roof, mass shootings, feminists, and a plethora of far-right conspiracists and pundits.”

In Christchurch, New Zealand 50 people were killed in two different Mosques. Brenton Harrison Tarrant has been arrested and charged with murder.

Al-Nadvi thinks that one of the main problems in shootings like this is the language that is used.

He said, “establish a standard for both, if a Muslim person attacks they call it terrorism but if somebody else attacks they call it different words”

Terrorism is defined in the Government of Canada website as “any other act or omission intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to a civilian or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, if the purpose of that act or omission, by its nature or context, is to intimidate the public, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or refrain from doing any act.”

Al-Nadvi said he believes education and awareness is a big factor when it comes to these attacks. He also believes that awareness should be brought through interfaith events.

“At the same time we need to educate and bring awareness to the problem because many times ignorance is a big thing when it comes to incidents like this,”  he said.

Cameras have been placed in mosques. Nadvi said, “one of the securities is that we can ask the police to be there, make some kind of CCTV system, some kind of a monitoring system. Police have offered support to the community” RCMP, Police and experts provided support too.

“RCMP, police and one expert offered  us information and tips of security,” said Al-Nadvi.

Memona Hussain, a volunteer from the Muslim Association of Canada, said she believes people in the community think incidents like this can happen anywhere and are looking for hope and to heal.

“I think that given that we are in a global village  we see everything that is happening and I think everybody feels it could be anywhere, I think people are impacted in terms of grief, in terms of fear and they had the memory of what happened a couple of years ago in Quebec, they are looking for hope they are looking for ways to heal and move forward,” Hussain said.

Hussain said she believes grieving is an important process when it comes to dealing with attacks like the one in New Zealand.

“Part of it is as a society and a community we need to allow space for grieving and that can happen in different ways. Many families were concerned about their safety,” Hussain said. ”People with children were worried about attending Friday prayers, people were genuinely concerned about going there so we had to ramp up security and have communication with members just to voice that.”

The Muslim Association of Canada encourages others in the community to stay united but make their own decisions about whether they want to attend the Mosque.

“I don’t think you can make a decision for anybody, people have to make a choice for themselves whether they want to attend or don’t want to attend but all we can tell them is these are the steps we are taking,” Hussain said.

Tehmina Mirza from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Student Association (AMSA) said she believes peoples reactions are changing and they are being more accepting realizing that  Muslims are not necessarily the ‘others.’

“We’re just like everybody else,”  Mirza said.

Voting kicks off for Ignite elections

 

Humber College students have the opportunity to make their voices heard by voting this week in the Ignite elections.

“It’s always important to vote regardless of which election is,” Saffiya Luit, a member of the Board of Directors of Humber’s student government Ignite said in an emailed response to a Skedline request for an interview. “It’s always important to vote regardless of which election it is!”

This election will determine who will serve as Ignite’s executive next year. “For this election, it will determine how next year will go for the students so based on their priorities they should vote for the candidate whose priorities align with their own,” Lulat said.

Lulat said in an email one issue she thinks is an important issue for students is financial aid.

“If there is a lack of financial stability then everything else becomes difficult and it will reflect negatively on both the students and the University of Guelph-Humber/ Humber College,” Luit said in the email. Premier Doug Ford announced last month that students will be able to opt out of student union fees like those for Ignite. Lulat disagrees with the move but thinks Humber students understand the benefits of Ignite.

She said in an email, “As a student and current [Board member] I see the benefits of Ignite and I know the students are intelligent enough to see it too. Therefore, I’m not worried about students choosing to opt out because they’re smart enough not to.”

Ignite’s special projects coordinator Vanessa Silaphetsaid via email said candidates are reaching out to student voters using  “various methods and in whatever means the candidate wishes to interact and engage with the student body – social media, in person, handouts, posters.”

Silaphet said about 8,500 students voted in last year’s election — a 25.7 % turnout rate.

Another member of Ignite’s Board of Directors, Nisha Haroon, said candidates are using different ways to reach out to students during the campaign.

“Candidates are expected to be accessible as much as possible,” Haroon said in an email.

One of the responsibilities each candidate has is to abide by the IGNITE elections appeal policy which can be found on the IGNITE website. The appeals policy state that there is a three strike protocol for members that break the rules or regulations. However, they have the choice of filing for an appeal.

Silaphet said in an email that each candidate has the responsibility to be open and authentic as possible as it is important to be real and transparent. “Candidates is responsible for ensuring they abide by the IGNITE Elections and Appeals policy.”

Students had the opportunity to meet their candidate face to face at a Mix and Mingle event that IGNITE held on Feb 12-14. Lutat said in her email that “IGNITE held an open Mix & Mingle event so students can meet candidates in a comfortable atmosphere. In addition, candidates can be met while canvassing/campaigning, through social media, and through email.”   Skedline reporter Justin Field covered the Mix and Mingle.

Candidates for president are Margarita Bader and Monica Khosla.

Bader studies digital communications and her platform includes financial security, helping to develop skills that students don’t learn in the classroom, and improving students academic experience.

Khosla platform includes making student lives on campus more comfortable & enjoyable, improving students’ health & wellness and improving students’ academic experience.

Candidates for vice president at Humber Lakeshore are Ostap Pavliuk and Ryan Stafford.

Pavliuk is in the Business Administration program and advocates for making student lives on campus more comfortable and enjoyable, helping to develop skills students don’t learn in the classroom and improving students’ health and wellness.

Stafford is also a Business Administration student and advocates for delivering experiences that can enrich students’ lives, improving students’ health and wellness and help improving student financial security.

Board of Director candidates includes Asiya Awan, a paralegal student, Camila Ruiz Tacha and Stephanie Fallico.

Candidates are currently campaigning and the winners will be announced March 1stat 5 p.m. Voting is going on all week from Monday, Feb. 25 to Friday, – March 1, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the L or AB building on Humber Lakeshore campus.

Humber College mood walks promote mental health

 

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A new mood walk program is helping promote mental health at Humber College.

Mood walks are walks which are held in the arboretum at Humber College North Campus or indoors on campus depending on the weather. They are designed to boost physical activity and help reduce stress, bringing a sense of calm to people by taking them for a stroll in nature. Students usually walk for 30-40 minutes.

Mood walks were first introduced at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). CAMH brought mood walks into different universities and colleges. They were introduced at Humber College by Leanne Henwood Adam, fitness coordinator at Humber College, and Agnes Coutinho, assistant program head of kinesiology at the University of Guelph-Humber.

“Exercise in general because you are getting your blood pumping around your body and get those feel good endorphins going through your body when you exercise so that helps people to boost their mood,” says Adam. “There has been a lot of research that shows how just being in nature can calm people down.”

During the walks students receive a tour of the areas they haven’t seen before. Students also get the opportunity to disconnect from screens.

“It’s a nice break for students sitting in front of a screen and being able to disconnect for a second and come out and see there is more going on than just their assignments,” Reid Williamson, a senior nature interpreter at the Humber arboretum, says.

The walks are both staff- and peer-led. “We had the Kinesiology Society at the University of Guelph-Humber hold a walk and had over 30 students attended that walk,” says Adam.

Bad weather can result in seasonal affective disorder, which is a form of depression that is related to the season changing. Physical activity like mood walks can help manage it.

“Exercise can help but even on a cold day if you are dressed properly you can go out,” Adam said.  The walks are held during all weather conditions even in the winter. “we won’t go outside on a day like this but we will still do hall walking,” says Adam.

The walks feature themes such as chickadee and snowshoe walks

“There is a big barrier in going outside whether it’s lack of motivation or they are just feeling intimated so having these themes to draw people in and knowing that they are guided by someone it is more motivating,” says Williamson.

The walks are accessible for people with mobility devices and other accessible needs, Williamson said “we have lots of places to be explored for people with mobility devices but beyond that if it’s a matter of not being able to walk far we do have many beautiful areas around the building.”

The mood walks occur every Monday at 1:10 pm, Wednesdays at 12:10 pm and Fridays at 11 am.

 

Image courtesy Humber Arboretum Instagram

Women’s march organizer shares her experience By; Fatima Baig

The 2016, United States elections caused a lot of people in the United States and across the world to be shocked by the results. After the results, many protests were held across the world in resistance.

Kavita Dogra was one of the many who were shocked by the results.  Dogra was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She spent time in India where she was exposed to human right issues. However, that wasn’t the only way she was exposed to human right issues. Dogra’s mother was a local member of a Non-Governmental agency (NGO) though that she learned to help people in any way she could. She said “My sense of empathy and passion to do something meaningful in life certainly comes from her.”

She was inspired by the Women’s March in Washington on Jan. 21, 2018.  At that time a march in Toronto was not being held. Dogra said, “I knew I wanted to be a part of the resistance. It was not possible for me to go down to Washington so I met up with a friend to discuss the possibility of organizing something in Toronto.” She was able to contact the organizers of the event through social media as a result Dogra became an organizer. “They were happy to have me on board because I had some experience organizing events.” She met with her friends and they discussed organizing something in Toronto. Dogra said, “It was an opportunity to stand in solidarity with women in the United States but also to highlight local issues impacting the city.”

The hope for Dogra and the rest of the organizers of the women’s march was not to feel alone and defeated by the results. Dogra said, “We wanted them to be surrounded by others who felt their anger and disappointment and most of all we wanted to use our platform to raise awareness about local issues.”   The guest speakers at the march were people who fought for justice and rights. Dogra said “We put on the podium people who fight for rights and justice in our own city and our goal was to get people excited about getting involved and making a difference in Toronto”

. She is also the founder of We Talk Women, which is an organization that hopes to starta conversation as well as break the silence that most often surrounds women’s rights injustices and sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Dogra founded the organization after watching a documentary on women who experienced sexual assaults in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. She started noticing that not many people within her network were talking about advancing equality or women’s rights in general. She said, “It felt like people had become complacent and accepted things as they were.”  Dogra said, “We Talk Women predates the mainstream popularity of feminism and the Me Too movement.” She is proud of what We Talk Women has been able to accomplish. Dogra said “I’m proud that through We Talk Women I’ve managed to inform and inspire a few people over the years.”For Degra, in the start it wastough to get people out to events and engage online about issues. However, as long as she informed and inspired somebody, she was content. She said. “my goals were always humble, if in the end I had informed and inspired just a handful of people to take action, I was content.”

During her time as an activist, one of the challenges Dogra faced was getting the spotlight for a short period of time and then having people move on from the issues. Dogra said she overcame that by “Keeping people’s interest and attention on a variety of issues and making people understand how different issues intersect is a challenge.” Dogra advice to people who have a desire to learn is to nurture your desire to learn. Do some research, find people whose work you respect and learn from them. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you accept them as an opportunity to grow and reflect.”

Dogra believes in order to get involved in human rights it’s important to have a support system and practise self care. She said “Getting involved in human rights issues can be very heavy and a strain on your mental health so establish a support network and learn how to practice self-care.” The next women’s march here in Toronto will be held in Saturday Jan. 20

Rabia Khedr appointed to the Human Rights Commission By: Fatima Baig

Rabia Khedr is the first visually impaired, Muslim woman to be appointed to the Human Rights Commission.

Rabia Khedr was appointed part time to the Human Rights Commission among five other individuals.She said ”I feel honored, excited, energized because I’m getting to put my passion into action into a different level” She is an advocate and volunteers for accessibility, Women and the Muslim community.Khedr is also a founder of Canadian Association of Muslim with Disabilities (CAM-D). She is also a member of the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee, which Khedr chaired for eight years.

As a child growing up in Canada Khedr was not able to participate in recreational activates or religious learning due to her visual impairment and as a result had to advocate for herself. One of the many barriers that she faced was being excluded from courses in school due to her vision loss and the fact that she had a hard time receiving accommodation in school. Khedr starting volunteering in the community level after she became a mother. She hopes to take what she learned from barriers that Khedr and her family had to face and help enforces change. She stated, “ I believe in a exclusive society.I really believe genially and whole heartily in human right” As a mother I got into volunteering in the community level to create opportunities for my kids especially my girls, the things I couldn’t access growing up” said Kheder. “Being blind I’m not distracted by unnecessary information, so I spend more time doing” By being appointment to the human right commission Khder hopes to bring perceptive of racialized women, racialized women individuals with disabilities, Muslim women. She also hopes to add to conversation about human rights,

Khedr is now the executive director of CAM-D, the CEO of Deen Support services and now also run The Muslim Council of Peel. The Muslim Council of Peel ‘coordinates efforts with mosques around public relations and awareness rising “. The Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee helps to implanted, access for disabilities, through facilities in the city. “It’s been about ensuring the accessibility standers that are legislated under the AODA and under the old ODA are infect implemented effectively”. Deen Support Service is an organization that she created. Deen Support Services is a program for adults and teens with disabilities. One of the programs that Deen Support Services offers is The Day Program. This program offers recreational programs on weekends for individuals with disabilities.

It also offers skills building. Aliyah yusuf the program stated “ What happened over the years that these individuals who did not know each other, who just came to the program, they started building friendships and that very important because some of them did not have friends”

Shadeism By; Fatima Baig

Shadeism

By; Fatima Baig

Humber College hosted the screening of the documentary Shadeism by editor Nyani Thlyagarajah. Students had an opportunity to watch the film and have a question and answer session with Thlyagarajah. The documentary Shadeism features stories of discrimination between light-skinned and dark-skinned people in African American, South Asian, Aboriginal, etc. communities.

Thlyagarajah thinks anti-black racism is the root of shadeism. “Anti-black racism is really at the root of it,” Thlyagarajah said. She believes multiple colonizers such as the British, French and Portuguese throughout history have a part in shadeism. “It’s definitely multiple colonizers,” said Thlyagarajah. Early sign of colonialism and shadeism were in South Africa. “Some of the early bleaching crèmes ads were in south Africa, we see a lot of them are still available and we know the context and history of south Africa,” said Thlyagarajah.  She thinks shadeism still occurs in Canada as well. “This is something that we carry with us from other places, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it also exists here with indigenous communities,” said Thlyagarajah. She believes media is important to others’ understanding of shadeism. “Our media and what we are ingesting is crucial,” said Thlyagarajah. When it comes to children and younger people Thlyagarajah believes, along with being mindful of the media that they are exposed to, the conversation of shadeism has to be a team effort from the adults. “It has to be conscious, collective effort,” said Thlyagarajah. Thlyagarajah, while having the conversation on shadeism, took her niece to movies such as The Princess and The Frog. She also believes suggesting different movies and books that encourage children to have an internal dialogue can also help. “I think that is a conversation that allows her to have an internal dialogue without forcing the conversation on her.” Thlyagarajah didn’t feel like she experienced shadism, but while creating the film she came to the conclusion that she experienced shadism while getting her face waxed. “I remember the feeling that I used to have when I would get my face waxed and there would a noticeable difference in shade even as somebody who was lighter skinned and that hit me,” said Thlyagarajah. The film gave Thlyagarajah the opportunity to reflect on herself and her body. “This particular film had me constantly reflecting on my relationship to myself and my body,” said Thlyagarajah.  Thlyagarajah thinks the government, the media and other system structures have made it difficult to change in society. “I think the problem is that all of our systems and structures including the government, the media other structures are engulfed and devoted to divisive and oppressive politics” said Thlyagarajah.

 

The event was a collaboration between the Base (formally known as the Bridge), the Aboriginal Resource Centre and the Humber Gallery.  The Base is an organization the supports students who identify as African American or Caribbean by offering services such as tutoring. Offering workshops that helps students learn life and career skills. The base also offers self-care events.  “It is a collaboration with the Aboriginal resource centre, the Base as well as the Humber Gallery,” said Efe Chehore, the student advisor for the Base.  “It depicts the experience of colourism and different communities,” said Chehore. Jessica Reign, Base student support advisor, would like to create more events like the screening to expose others to the arts and different perspectives. “We want to do more events like this to expose the arts and different perspectives,” said Reign.

The film Shadism will come out online. Thlyagarajah is working on a film called Displace. “It’s a drama set in Toronto and it’s a queer love story about a Tamil woman and half-Mohawk, half-Iranian woman,” said Thlyagarajah. The film explores their recreation with their fathers and touches on the conversation of racialized immigrants. Thlyagarajah is also working on a television show calledVisible Majority. “It’s about first-generation millennials of colours,” said Thlyagarajah. That television show will also be filmed in Toronto.

Canadian experience from a Muslim Women’s point of view By: Fatima Baig

Canadian experience from a Muslim Women’s point of view

By: Fatima Baig

Zonaira Ishaq opens up about her experience as an Nigab wearing Muslim Women here in Canada and her fight to appeal a policy preventing Muslim Women from wearing the Nigab during their citizenship oath taking ceremony.

Ishaq is a wife and mother to five children, she came to Canada in 2008.  Ishaq started wearing the Nigab back when she was in Pakistan. Ishaaq said “it was a personal decision.” Her insperision was her English teacher and her sister.

Ishaq didn’t struggle with wearing her Nigab here in Canada until 2011.  When the former minister of immigration Jason Kenny created a policy that Muslim Women couldn’t wear the Nigab during their citizenship oath taking ceremony. Audrey Macklin professor of Law at University of Toronto believes the policy had two contradictory ideas that women wearing the Nigab were victims of gender oppression. Macklin said “if that was the case denying them citizenships would make them more vulnerable because non-citizens experience abuse, exploitations of varying sorts compared to citizens.” Another contradiction Macklin believes is that women are forced to wear the Nigab. She said “it was a kind of oppression compulsion, so the idea that they should rescued from oppression by denying them citizenship.”  When the policy was enforced Ishaaq was not a Canadian Citizen and was trying to find out how she could get her Citizenship. Ishaq said “I found out about the policy in 2011 and was trying to find out how I would face Citizenship.” Ishaq felt that she could receive accommodations since she has been accommodated in places like the airport. Ishaq said “people have accommodated me and said if you want to show your face privately we can do that. She was given the option that instead of fighting the policy she could have elected certain accommodations such as sitting in the back-row but would still need to remove her niqab. Ishaq wasn’t comfortable with accommodations that were provided so she consulted a lawyer at Waldman and Associates. Nassem Mithoowani an Associate Lawyer at Waldman and Associates felt the policy was unfair and targeted a particular group. She said “in this case they were targeting a particular population unfairly that’s when we felt we needed to step in.” ishaq went to Federal court to appeal the ban. Going into the Case Ishaq was concerned about the media involvement. She said “I didn’t want to be in the spotlight.” Ishaq ‘s lawyers on the other hand were concerned about the impact that case would have on the Muslim community. Mithoowani said “When you are representing a misunderstood or vulnerable community, there are always concerns that it could have negative impacts on that community.” Ishaq’s lawyers argued that the policy violated The Charter of Rights on the bases of freedom of religion, that the Minister didn’t go through the legislature to make the policy a law and tried to bypass that by making the Nigab ban a mandatory policy and finally that it was dissimilatory towards Muslim Women.

The courts ruled against the Nigab Ban on Sept 16, 2015 on the bases that, the Minister didn’t go through the legislature to make the policy a law and took her Citizenship oath in Oct 10, 2015. At that time Ishaq felt that she made she right decision to appeal the policy. She said “I felt that I was right going to court, because the policy was not on the right path.” Today Ishaq enjoys the benefits of being a Canadian Citizen.