Book Review: Islam in the Hinterlands

Islam in the Hinterlands: Muslim Cultural Politics in Canada is a recent book that looks at the place of Muslims within Canadian media, schools, politics, and laws.  Edited by Jasmin Zine, the collection provides insightful analysis on a number of current topics related to Muslims in Canada, and is a valuable resource for those of us working as scholars, writers, and/or activists in the field.The first section of the book, “Gender and Cultural Politics,” begins with a chapter by Zine that map … [Read more...]

Book Review: Miroirs et Mirages by Monia Mazigh

This post was written by Chelby Marie Daigle and originally published at The Woyingi Blog.Miroirs et mirages is the first novel by Tunisian Canadian Monia Mazigh, who is better known for her work as a human rights activist. Mazigh came to Canada in 1991 to study Finance in Montreal. She subsequently met and married her husband, Syrian-Canadian Maher Arar, started a family, and moved to Ottawa. When her husband was wrongfully rendered to Syria in the hysteria that followed 9/11, she c … [Read more...]

Religious and Cultural Appropriation in the Newspaper and the Courtroom

On the morning of June 30, 2009 a quadruple-murder case rocked the city of Kingston in Ontario, Canada. Four women were found dead, submerged in the Rideau Canal, in their Nissan Sentra. At first it seemed as though boaters had come across a teenage prank gone awry or the victims of a horrific car accident.However, as the bodies were identified as Zainab Shafia, age 19, Sahar Shafia, age 17, Geeti Shafia, age 13, and Rona Amir Mohammad, age 50, a grim and heartbreaking story began to … [Read more...]

Won’t Someone Think of the Menstruating Children?

By guest contributor Wood Turtle; a longer version of this post was originally published at her blog.At what point does religious inclusion become too much for a public school board to handle? Apparently, it’s when the menstrual cycles of 12-year-old girls become the center of public debate.Every week for the past three years, Valley Park Middle School in Toronto has held official Jumm’ah prayers in the cafeteria. Like many issues in the Muslim community, there’s a wide variety of opinion and … [Read more...]

Right Answer, Wrong Reason: Why “Muslim” Is Not A Halloween Costume

Just in time for Halloween, the Toronto Star's ethics columnist, Ken Gallinger (whose columns I enjoy), received a question from a parent: We are a Christian family. Our daughter, 7, goes to a school where there are many Muslim kids. Some of their moms walk them to school in burqas. My daughter is fascinated by these mysterious “costumes” and says she wants to go out on Halloween as a “Muslim lady.” Do I let her?Gallinger's first remark ("Absolutely not") and his concluding paragraph (which I' … [Read more...]

Niqab by Numbers: Quantifying the Overreactions

I am so, so sick of talking about the niqab.  So I'm not really going to, despite the fact that the Canadian province of Quebec recently introduced a bill that, if made law, would force everyone to show their face when dealing with provincial government bodies.  If anyone else has intelligent insight on recent Quebec-related media coverage, please share.  I, for one, can't think of anything new that I haven't said a million times already.  You'd think the politicians would get as tired of this as … [Read more...]

Reading Religion and Canadian Identity: Sheema Khan’s Of Hockey and Hijab

Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman, published last October, is a collection of monthly columns written by Sheema Khan and originally printed in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, between 2002 and 2009.  Khan, who founded the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), was born in India and moved to Montreal when she was young.  The short essays that form her book cover a range of topics, interweaving personal experiences of interfaith interactions and s … [Read more...]