Channel: Boonaa Mohammed
Series: Boonaa Mohammed - What the Fiqh
Featuring Imam Omar Patel
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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu. Welcome back to our podcast. And again, we are continuing with the theme of speaking with interesting people who are doing
interesting work, we should say something maybe outside the ordinary, maybe you can introduce yourself to the audience and give a bit of an insight into who you are and this great organization that you're working with. Now on a quantum avacado. My name is Omar Patel. And I am the manager of operations at huddle center in Canada. And huddle center is an organization that
works with islamically integrated psychotherapy. So we provide psychotherapy, counseling,
different types of therapy and counseling to the Muslim community and the wider community at large. But we do this in not just in the secular realms of different modalities of psychotherapy, but we have something that we've used ourselves called traditional islamically integrated psychotherapy. So it's a modality within itself that we've published upon by the audio center, and the flu center for those of you who are maybe familiar with it or not familiar with it. I think I believe it began in the United States. It began ISIS in Chicago, Chicago, right Canadian basketball.
Take that USA, you see that? We just give you the stuff we like and then you somehow steal it from us. Okay. So a brother or sister I'm not sure. Whose Doctor Who man keshavarz. Okay, Michelle. Oh, he's from Toronto. He studied at University of Toronto, Scarborough Campo he went to do his masters and PhD in the States. And the rest is history. Exactly. So so he's started this organization, as a mechanism to deal with mental health from an Islamic perspective. I know that mental health obviously is a topic now people are becoming more comfortable with, it's becoming a topic that many people are opening up about their personal experiences, or dealing with the, you know, counseling
and these things. It's becoming Hamdulillah, slowly but surely becoming more spoken about. Tell me about some of the challenges that you still are facing, because you actually studied psychotherapy, and you're trained as well in Islamic sciences. So how did you how did you merge these two fields? Why did this particular you know form of, of Islamic thought or Islamic work kind of interesting. So, as a youngster, I went and studied Islamic sciences and studies. And when I came back working as an Imam just never sat well with me, it was a
guess the inferiority complex you want to say, or it could be just difficulties dealing with the Muslim community as as an Imam imams aren't treated that well. And, you know, I don't want to get into all of that a lot of abuse. Exactly. Pretty much. So what happened was, I wanted to do something, just fix your mic thing. Yeah, I wanted to work with the Muslim community, mainly youngsters, you have like, from kindergarten all the way until grade eight, they come to the masjid for the Quranic classes, the Holocaust, so on and so forth. Then you have the eight to 12. And they may go to a Muslim school, they may not go to Muslim school, but then you have the college and
university university students, which may not have any attachment to the massages at all. They have the MSDS and that's probably all the Islamic attachment they have, right to Allah subhanaw taala to the religion. So I went to university I did my Master's in chaplaincy and psychotherapy. Nice. So then I began, you know, my duties as a chaplain EFT Scarborough. And with that, I love the work that I do counseling, being with Muslim youngsters, talking to them about addictions, problems, and you know, the challenges that they face at home and, you know, their immigration and trauma and all that. And then that slowly, you know, just grew into working with others coming from the community,
you know, parents talking to me what their children or teachers wanted me to speak as a counselor in their Islamic schools, and so on and so forth. And so it just grew into how this individual myself with a background in Islamic Studies, but also in psychotherapy, and counseling can be an asset to the community. And through that audio center. We did a joint program last year in April, known as a first responder training program. I heard about it Yes, Michelle has over 150 or the MMA moms, Islamic school teachers, both male and female, came up to that and we did a two day 16 hour workshop. And they said Bismillah Ar Rahman Toronto. Wow. So So give me the insight now into
the the the way in which glial cells are operates, because from what I understand, and this is me, speaking from an outsider, I'm not affiliated with the organization, but you guys provide counseling services, therapeutic therapies, type sessions, to Muslims who are in a difficult situation who needs someone to speak with who perhaps don't feel comfortable just going to speak to their local Imam and I know sometimes imams also get doubled out
As counselors, right a lot of times, any man who's classically trained in fic, in in Tajweed, and all these things now has to deal with marriage problems and which is really not in their comfort zone. So give me an insight into exactly how does closed center operate, to help these Muslims who are in this time of need. So our counselors are all licensed masters level counselors and therapists, we have a team of social workers, addictions counselors, psychotherapist, moms and medical doctors all in one center. In the States, you also have psycho therapists and psychiatrists as well. shaula, slowly, but surely, we'll get them on board. But with this team that we have, so
far, what we do is we do a collaborative approach. It's a collaborative mental model. So with that, they come in and depending on what their needs are, whether it be addictions to drugs, pornography, it could be anxiety, depression, we suit them up with a counselor or therapist to go on for their intake session to go through with them their history, their medical trauma, medical history, immigration, all trauma, whether it be
a trauma in war. Exactly. Yeah. And there's a lot of that with an arson imagine. Yeah. And so we we pair them up with a suitable therapist, and thereafter go schools, depending on what their needs are three sessions, four sessions, 10 sessions. And so when you speaking with these people, and I'm sure you've interacted with many,
is there a relief that they're able to speak to a Muslim about their particular problems? Because I know some people might feel shy speaking to someone who maybe shares certain commonalities with them. A lot of times, we might feel more comfortable speaking to a non Muslim, because we're just ambiguous, they don't know anything about us, they can't really judge us in that sense. So within our intake process, we actually have a question, How likely is it that you would have sought therapy from a non Muslim provider, and in our intake form from the Canadian office is pretty much like 10%. So 90% of individuals that come to our office only would have sought therapy, if it was by Muslims.
Right, right. And within our community, we don't have we didn't have such services before forever. Of course, you have Muslim providers, Muslim psycho therapist, but also not just trained in psychotherapy, but trained in Islamic Lee integrated psychotherapy. And so now, what, whether it be anger management, whether it be anxiety, depression, how to deal with that from a secular, but also a spiritual perspective. And I know, obviously, these are some, you know, you throw out some buzzwords, depression and mental health. And these are things that we kind of talk about sometimes ambiguously. Yes, but there are people who are definitely suffering in our community, and a lot of
times they're suffering in silence. Yes. What are some of the difficulties you've had with even convincing the Muslim community or family members to actually take this seriously, because I find sometimes, and this is sad to say, there are cases where, like, back home in Africa, you know, the there's cases where people who are dealing with severe mental health issues are literally like, chained up in the back of the house, and the family just gives them a dish of food a day. And that's it, you know, we don't talk about it's our like, shameful secret, that you might have a person who's either, you know, maybe schizophrenic, maybe, you know, maybe on the spectrum, it could be many
different things, but they, they would prefer to hide the problem and not address it head on. have you encountered that difficulties in relaying the importance of the service of the Muslim community or, or to individuals themselves who might actually need counseling? So interesting, you bring that up, we were raising funds for the huddle center animal bond, and at the booth and one of the massage and one brother walked up to me and said, Why are you stealing resources from the Muslim community? kamisha says, work, the community this work, there's hospitals dealing with mental health, why mental health and Muslims? Like why do we have to join the to
our challenges are pretty much sometimes many times exclusive to the Muslim community that non Muslims do not understand that non Muslims cannot relate to. And so we'll find that the stigma within the Muslim community and that date really like eye opener, the stigma is extremely real within the Muslim community, we don't know that, you know, the Muslim families that come to me, 90% of the husbands are pretty much abusive.
And, again, has to do with immigration or trauma or the way that they were raised back home, so to say, right, and so it's, there's a lot of challenges specific or exclusive to the Muslim community are exclusive to our cultural traditions that Canadian non Muslims just do not get. And so it's very important to have somebody from the similar background, that is that is able to understand and deal with those challenges and work with you to deal with those challenges. So there are a lot of people who sometimes you know, we feel like, Okay, I'm down today. I don't want to go to work. I don't want to go to school. This term depression even gets thrown around a lot. What does depression actually
look like? I mean, from a medical perspective, or from an Islamic perspective, does it even exist? That's a question that people ask sometimes, you know, what does depression is can a movement, even be depressed? is sometimes a question that people have asked in the past, what would you say to that 100% that they can
To be depressed can be depressed. And
I've been through depressive episodes, and I've known people that have been through depressive episodes, not necessarily depression, but a severe state of sadness, due to certain things happening within individuals lives. And I've seen it firsthand that people do not want to eat, people do not want to wake up, people do not want to get a bed, they don't want to interact with others. And that's a severe state of sadness, which is known as depression, right?
Again, the whole DSM five and giving it a, you know, using the term depression or clinically depressed, that if you are in the severe state of sadness for six months, per se, right, that you are now clinically depressed, you should go on medication, you should be hospitalized, all this yada, yada, yada. Now you take that? I don't totally believe in that, because the DSM five continuously changes, right. Okay, similar to homosexuality used to be a mental illness, right. And now they took it out from the DSM five, it's not classified as a mental illness anymore. So as that continues to evolve, we go back to our old school, which is what Islam. So we take the good from the
secular, but we also we maintain Islam as our muscle, which is our principal, right? And so we use that for the basis for therapy. And that's why we take the good from CBT, the good from DBT, the good from explain all these, you're just using a lot of letters now, people might under ABC BBD. Well, what are these terms? These are all different psychotherapeutic modalities. Okay, so different techniques within psychotherapy. Okay, so CBT refers to cognitive behavioral therapy. Right? Right. EFT is emotion focused therapy. So different, different techniques the therapist uses to be able to get into the patient's head. Sure, sure. Okay. So and your focus is, is relaying Islam as the, the,
I wouldn't say the authority, but the the basis by which you can kind of approach a person's issue. So you're looking at a slams from the Islamic lens, you should say, or we could say, so give me some insight into a person who, for example, because I, I don't want to say I like depression, but I like this discussion around this topic, because I think it's becoming more and more apparent that with social media, with, you know, the failings of many families with divorce rates, you know, people are experiencing depression at a higher rate, perhaps than they would have in the past. Which also begs the question, because, you know, a lot of our parents, my father survived a war and came here and,
you know, built a life for himself and raised his kids. But, you know, miskeen, me, I didn't get into university I wanted, and I'm like, you know, I can't get out of bed for a month, right? What is it about our own personal experiences, that maybe some people might experience these depressive states and other people won't? What exactly do so I mean, for example, I feel like the older generations, people who have lived through maybe
a lot more traumatic experiences, it might be a lot harder for them to experience similar states of depression, that maybe young people nowadays, are feeling like they're going through. Do you understand me about that? Yeah. But the people that came before us, like my parents, your parents, they were survivors. Okay. Right. They came to this country to survive, right? We were born in this country to go to school, hang out and chill. Right. And so our challenges are, like drastically different than their challenges, right? Like, you haven't been through what we've been through, we've walked over mountains to get to school, and you're getting dropped off school on the bus,
like, you know, so those are the things they say to us. Yeah, the way
you know, I the way I look at it is we're a lot weaker than them. Right. And we go through challenges that because we don't have the resiliency, we haven't built that resiliency, schools have imparted that resiliency within us, the teachers haven't
our friends have, and we just don't have that type of resiliency, unless we've been through, you know, trauma, we've been through challenges at home that allowed us to be resilient human beings. But majority of you know, the Muslim community, in general, has grown up, you know, soft.
So to say, like a cupcake pretty much just sitting there icing living the good life we haven't been through those challenges aren't so most of us haven't known. And so that's exactly why we go through anxiety or anxiety episodes and depressive episodes a lot more frequently than the older generation. So would it be safe to say that no, because there's a big movement now, especially with I have two younger kids, I'm not sure if you have any children who you have to as well. Okay. Mashallah. So, there's a big movement now, with children, you know, in sports, for example, everyone gets a participation medal, right? Doesn't matter how well you do. My child, my two kids go to an Islamic
school, the end of the year, everybody gets an award, everybody gets a medal, right? Because we don't want them to feel bad. We don't want to feel left out. But there's other people who may be the old school way of thinking which actually where I come from, and what I think is that, you know, and in fact, we need to show these children from a young age that they can't win all the time, that sometimes they're going to fail. Sometimes there are they are
to, you know, go through hardships and trials, and in fact that will help their character and build that resiliency moving forward. What do you think about that? Do you agree, disagree? I agree and disagree. Right? I agree.
That building resiliency through that method, great, beautiful. I disagree for that child who has to suffer from that failure once, twice, thrice for the rest of his life and never win an award. Hmm. Right. And looking from his perspective,
like I've seen kids, kids who are autistic kids who are have trouble come from troubled homes, kids who are, you know, they go through different challenges, because their parents don't love them. Right. And they just can't seem to x Excel ever in life. And so they'll never get that award. And so for them, that participation award is everything. Okay. So then because they're looking for validation, that participation, awards validation. So like, I agree for the kids that, you know, right, right, then, well, I then I yeah, this makes sense. Because, of course, we don't want to break their spirits. We don't want them to never be confident either. Right. But so how do we build
resiliency? This is a good discussion point. How do we build resilience into the podcast on its own? It probably is, it probably is. But I mean, if you have children, I have children. I'm sure there's people watching that have kids, how do we build resiliency in our children so that perhaps they're not as susceptible or not as vulnerable to mental health issues in the future? Is that even? Or is that even a thing Am I just kind of, you know, picking it up, it's 100%. So there are different teachings of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam, with the commands of the Prophet sallallahu, Alayhi Salaam, that there are times where you befriend your children, there are times where you
discipline your children, there are times where you teach your children the whole aspect of trivia that comes into place, right? And the prophetic model of teaching your children exactly that to build resiliency with them, not to give them the best food all the time, right. And the shoe of Islam, they teach us that, you know, at times you give your children good food at times, you just give them burden vinegar, just teach them that resiliency that we have to go through hardships now to prepare you for the hardships that you're gonna endure later on in life. Right? Not every night, you're gonna sleep on a mattress. It shouldn't be you're sleeping on comfortable mattress every
single night. We throw them on the floor sometimes and at times, you know what? Maybe a sleeping bag go camping, right? Teach them how to value things around luxuries that they have. Exactly. And that's the way that we can build resiliency within our children as parents, right. And then the schools have to do their part, the message you'd have to do their part, the community centers don't do their part, right. So we all have to do our part to help. But the leaks are still gift participation trophies.
They do I mean, my my son, for example. He got a so funny, we were at a hosting a retreat. I don't know if you've played with the retreats they have in Huntsville, and they give out like hockey awards, and my son didn't even play.
He was too young. He's like four years old, but they had an extra metal leftover. So they gave him to my son and the entire weekend is walk around, like I want to meddle in hockey. You didn't even didn't even play you don't even want to skate right. But I can see how it was good for him. It gave him a bit of encouragement to feel like you know, I want to maybe gain one of my own in the future. So I could see that the point of that in the future. With our generation, I mean, you're a bit older. I'm a bit older, we I grew up before social media was that big, right? So I remember what it was like to interact with people and to have circumstances you know how many like that that was, I
think a sweet time in the existence of the world and we got to see the evolution of social media. I got to see Facebook like came out when I joined Facebook when I was in university. Right so my whole High School everything like we didn't really have social media wasn't anything that was that like those big cell phone type arrows we had, you know, it was like a brick they just used to put to your forehead, Motorola's with the antenna. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, that was a good old days. Right. But I feel like with social media now it's it's opened up an entire can of worms and its own dilemmas for many young kids
to have access to every one and everything at any given time, has created its own major set of challenges for for youth for parents, and and the world in which kids are living in is very different. Right? They are connected in a way that many of us never experienced at that young age. And with that great power comes great responsibility. And there's all these discussions now around like they call it Facebook, depression, you know, or people's
even feelings of depression spike when they go on different people's pages and they see all these wonderful things they're doing. What do you think? Do you feel like social media has made things better or worse for them because you make an argument that as well it could be better in a sense that you know, we have access to use things like YouTube it's a massive resource. You have all these Islamic lectures and content and this will be on YouTube as well. Right? So what what is what is your feeling towards social media again, you asked me for better or worse, balanced approach and just because of that, there's a lot of good you can take from it but then there's a lot again,
Facebook depression is real, right? You are Instagram different.
It was real. A lot of you know, we log into Instagram and you see all these pictures. Everyone's having a great time. Where am I in my bed? You know, everyone's on the beach today. beautiful afternoon. You know, they're chilling. They're having a barbecue thing are you doing? I'm not working out food fest. I'm going to hell off food fest with all these Muslims and all this food and all this food and stuff. So it's not that fun. Right? I need a barbecue. barbecue. Sure. My toes in the sand. Yeah. So you're always comparing yourself to others. Right? And you're not comparing yourself to those below you you're comparing yourself to those above you pretty much, right? And so
the Prophet sallallahu alayhi Salaam mentioned on Doru element as filament come look at those below you or beneath you and not as high status as you or doesn't have as much wealth as you or isn't doing as well as you. Because what does it do to you then is allows you to appreciate and that appreciation then sinks in. But if you're always yearning for that, you're never living in the present or in the moment. And when you're not living in the present, you're going to be sad. And if you're sad, and you're always looking towards that, you're never going to get there because you're not going to push yourself to get there. Because you're sad that you want to be there. But you know,
it's just a depressed state of mind. And what happens then as you're just continuously staying in bed? Mm hmm. You're not gonna get out or go to the beach. Right? You just
yeah. Scrolling through? And is there a social media platform that you think is worse than others? Like if you could rate them? What would you think is like the top shape on that? I'm pretty sure Instagram is up their Instagrams up there. Yeah, like to me Instagram is probably the worst outlet. Because you're not really even conversing with people. It's just the most superficial way of expressing yourself. It's just like pictures. Yes, pictures and video. And then you probably be like, Alright, maybe Facebook. I mean, some young guys came on the podcast the other day, group from brothers from Wooster came and they tried to tell me Facebook doesn't exist anymore. It's it's
ancient. nobody uses it. And I was like, wow.
There's like new ones coming out all that. Yeah. Well, Facebook is not as popular. But look how they did it. Like you did detailed posts on Facebook. And then they did down to Twitter. limited amount of characters. Yeah. And now they've watered that down even more to Instagram, which is you don't have to write anything, you just post a picture. So now it's just visual. And now they're watering that down to what Snapchat? Which is just like a few seconds. Yeah. Right. And you never see it again. And so it just shows us as human beings that our attention deficiencies going through the roof. Right, we're becoming attention deficient. And so it's it's very difficult for us. If as
Muslims, then what happens for our Salah, what happens to our taqwa what happens for our relationship with Allah subhanho wa Taala that relationship with the Prophet Muhammad, Allah Islam if our attention is gone? Hmm, right. And so looking at all this we need in our Islamic schools, Islamic schools are what their academics and then you have like a colonic studies course or like an Islamic studies course. Yeah. But within our Islamic schools, or institutions, or massages or community centers, we have to have, you know, workshops on how to deal with social media. Right, like a flick of social media, social media, but also how to utilize it to get the good from it and
stay away from the bad because it's going to be there, whether we like it or not, we're going to use it whether No, the children are against whether we like it or not, right. Like we can't stay away from it. Yeah. But it's how can we use it to our benefit, as opposed to, you know, getting us in those depressive modes as well, I think for a lot of parents, there's like an age where you say, okay, you're allowed to use it. Now, you're not allowed to use it. Like I think, like 12 years old is a bit young. But I mean, that being said, there's a lot of 12 year olds in Islamic school that have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and I'm sure none of them have Twitter, but I'm sure a few of
them probably have Instagram.
Was there like an age? Or if you could set a threshold, what would you say is a good time for a child to be able to delve into that world? Because I think it has a lot to do with mental health. We're talking No, it's it seems like they're separate. But I think that resiliency in that world they're living in is important to set what would be the appropriate time. So I have a kid that comes to me for counseling sessions his parents bring him and what his major complaint is, he doesn't like his parents, because his parents haven't given him a cell phone. And everyone in his class has a cell phone. So are you sorry, are you sorry? on my phone? Sorry, sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.
My friends. Don't give me a cell phone. I'm sorry. Okay. Sorry. Thank you very much. Yeah, go ahead. So the kid is upset his parents, it doesn't like them. He says, I don't love my parents, because they haven't given me a cell phone. And so he's in grade eight. Everyone in the class has cell phones. He's a lone wolf, right. And so what it is, is that he said, I will not go to high school unless my parents buy me a cell phone and the parents agree low buy him a cell phone when you get to grade nine, but until then you don't need it.
Now, what has gone that far, how to deal with it? What are the challenges with regards to cell phone social media, that's what we discussed in session. There isn't any clear cut number or age or mindset that you can pretty much say that this kid deserves a cell phone now or deserves access to full access technology. Now. I guess he
Family is different. And the way they've dealt with technology within their household, do they have a TV? In avid TV, the kid grew up watching movies all the time. Does he have a tablet? What does he use it for? You know, things like that iPod? Like, how has the family use technology? Sure. And how has he grown up with it? Sure. So if he comes home, and his mom's on the phone, and his dad's on the phone all the time, and they're just going off like this, and he's being parented by the television, then why shouldn't he have a T cell phone? You know, I'm saying, but if there's a, like, the mother doesn't have a cell phone, the father barely uses it, only use it for work related purposes, they
limit the amount of screen time, then the child won't necessarily feel like I need a cell phone. You know, I'm saying so a lot of it starts within the home.
This family came to me and said, you know, our child is homosexual. And as practicing Muslims, we we fear for him and things like that. And
so we had a conversation, open conversation with the family, and the family doesn't pray.
And so we opened up the whole practicing Muslim statement and what they meant by that, and the child became a homosexual, by reading homosexual novels, in the home for years, wow. Since you know, like, grade four. And so this was all happening. Because the parents were just dismissed. They weren't checking in on the trial, they weren't caring for the child. They weren't looking into his homework or anything like that. So he spent four years just divulging in this, you know, in this realm alone, with no guidance with no support, and there's no turning back. Right. And so we have to work with issues like that. But then a lot of it has to begin at home. And so now we don't just work with the
trouble. We work with the parents as well, to help make the environment more loving, more caring, more resilient for the children, but also more supportive for the children. It kind of reminds me of, it's very different, but it reminds me of, you know, like those parents who they send their kids to madrasa and then the madrasa ends at like, you know, most of time and they just wait outside for their kids. And they kids actually, they encourage them to come to the car before the salon like oh, I don't want to wait till after the mother just come to the you know, that to me is the saddest thing. Yeah, being a teacher that was very difficult, man. I almost sometimes I I bite my tongue. I
don't say anything. But I would like see a grown men, a woman. You can't say anything? Who knows? Maybe she's not praying, right? But you see a grown man waiting in the car during salon. You see the machine, everyone's praying, and he's waiting for his kids. I feel like just telling him like, Brother, why don't you go inside? And what value is your child going to derive from their studies? If you yourself they're like, primary Guardian, don't even care to pray in the masjid in front of you while this is happening? Well, everyone's walking in whenever your child walking, and we see you don't even like you're hiding, like we see you in the car just waiting there doing nothing. Right?
It reminds me of those parents that then they get shocked when I sent my kids some adresa for four years. Why are they now you know, in a gang? Why are they smoking weed? Why are they you know, what? What? What can we tell these parents and families that people who feel like it's your job to raise their kids? How long would that investment take probably five minutes, seven minutes at most, right? That investment daily, right or weekly, Sunday school, Saturday school, whatever it may be, that investment will in the long run will have its value, and your child will come out knowing my dad came into the machine to pick me up. As opposed to there was no value for stolen my household, like
my dress would finish and I'd run to the car not pray, because my dad wouldn't come into the mosque. So that investment on a regular basis, whether it be reading put on with your family, with your children, doing talim at home, right reading from the stories of Sahaba. And just any little thing that you do on a regular basis, in your home with your family creates that Islamic loving, caring, supportive environment, that they have some type of relationship with Islam, as opposed to
we're practicing Muslims, but we don't really practice we believe in law. Yeah. Even that term is a bit funny, like practicing Muslim, right? Because like what does that mean to some people? That means I don't need to be right. That to them is the threshold that that makes me a practicing Muslim to other people. It's no I pray other people that's I made hudge 10 years ago. Right. But we're just going back to this conversation about resiliency. And I think there is a lot of discussion that needs to happen in the Muslim community around resiliency. How do we build resiliency not just in youth, but in in other underprivileged or under service groups, women, for example, you know, people
from different backgrounds, different minority groups within the Muslim community in reverts and converts. I think resiliency is one of those themes and topics that doesn't get spoken about enough because people don't really understand what it means from a practical perspective. But how do you become
I'm a confident person, how do you become a confident believer to walk out into the world and to feel like I'm proud of my Islam. My wife sent me a message the other day, there's like this mother's group that, you know, all the sisters are part of the women have all these. They have their own secret societies and gangs that they're part of none of us know what's going on. Right. And she sent me a snapshot of the discussion of one in one of the groups where a sister was saying that her son is ashamed of his mother coming to pick her coming to pick him up wearing hijab. And he's resent constantly asking his mother, you know, can you please take off the hijab? It's so embarrassing, I
don't want my friends to see you wearing it. And the mother herself is actually struggling to wear hijab. So she herself already has wiswell, she didn't need his help. She was already like, like, I don't even want to wear it, you know, but it's giving her more anxiety around actually feeling confident in her identity and who she is.
I wonder if we are doing a disservice by not teaching resiliency to even older brothers and sisters. Like it's something that we talk about a lot times with kids, but how do we build resiliency in adults, and Muslims who are you know, fully formed? Like, we're not going through puberty any longer, like, we're done, right? I remember after 911 that was a big thing. Like people took off their scarfs brothers started shaving, right. It was like that notion of like, Okay, I'm, I'm going to take a step back. And like, kind of see how things play out. Before I jump back in. How do we build that in people who are older and who really should be involved. So a lot of it comes down to
community building, building community who another like myself having this conversation, a real person to person conversation with you right now. I'm gonna take a lot back with it. The questions that you've asked me the answers I've given you, and I'm just gonna dwell upon it. But I feel like hey, I'm so much closer polling. All right now, right? This is beautiful. Like we can have a conversation in person.
At the University, we used to do something called soul food. So university students would come in, they'd be a part of the MSA or not. And generally, we don't like to have our chaplaincy related events affiliated with the MSA. Okay. Why is that? Just because MSA comes off as a clique is very cliquey, I was part of MSA, I noticed very quickly, and so you have a lot of Muslim students. So utsc has 3000 Muslim students on campus. MSA is probably a couple 100. So we want to tap into all those Muslim students to come in for soulfood. And so what they do is we've come in with former circle we discuss anything related to Islam, sorry, anything related to mental health. So whether it
be parents, whether it be marriage, relationships, anything we discuss, and then we just input Islam into it, and bring them into the conversation. through doing that everyone gets to hear everyone else's vulnerability surrounding the topic. And by the end of the year, the community is like, tight, beautiful. A lot of people come in, you know, laughing, they leave crying, a lot of people come in crying to leave laughing like it's a beautiful scene. at Colonial center, what we do is, we have support groups. So we have support groups, support groups, starting next week, actually, for women that have been in divorce and separated relationships. Because we need women from the similar
backgrounds to come together to discuss, you know, their challenges or experiences, but also build that with one another. They may not have friends, they may have their family time. Why did you get divorced? Why did you do this? Why are we like that? We told you not to leave him, we told you, you'd be better off with him, so on and so forth, coming together with individuals that are like minded, but also facilitated by someone who is already resilient, sure, and isn't necessarily broken, right to be able to harness those relationships or put them together militate Exactly. Okay. Right. So we have one for anxiety for high school girls. We have one, just a general mental well
being workshop that takes place, we know, bi weekly. So we have all these coming together just to build community. Again, we got start working on the brothers, the mothers as well. Right. And the sisters say How come you don't have a divorce support group for brothers? Because the brothers are out looking for other sisters got other things on their mind? They don't want to be divorced any longer off the record, right? Yeah, you know, it's interesting, actually, I used to be part of a young men's group many, many years ago. It was like it wasn't religiously based. It was just for young men
to talk about issues that were important to them. And these were young men coming from impoverished neighborhoods from all across the GTA. And we used to come together, they used to give us like bus fare and stuff, and maybe like some food or whatever. But I remember like in that setting, a group of young men completely vulnerable, like you're just letting your guard down. And everyone's there for the same reason. It's a very intimate setting only like 15 people. But I would see like young men who typically you would not see in this circumstance, like crying, like opening up discussing issues that are important to them. Someone would mention something that happened to them and the guy
would be like, you know what, that happened to me as well. This is what I did. Right? So I think support groups are actually maybe a key question.
aren't that many of us are missing? Yes, in our lives, having a group that we can come to, to relate on a specific topic or issue could be about marriage or love or romance whatever could be around certain mental health issues or anxiety like you mentioned. I would love to see massage it become a place of facilitation for something like that. Do you think that it would be a possibility Sharla
doesn't sound like a really shot that's only one of those faking shallows. inshallah, brother. Because I mean, you got a personal massage for this right. But here's the thing like in my head, do these uncle's really understand what you're explaining right now? Because I understand the importance of of a of a support network. What about those that are unmasked? Well, that's another that's another discussion. What about those that want access the support groups, but don't want to enter the space of the machine? Because of possibly the trauma associated with? Yeah, sure. Fair enough. So I mean, there's an argument for not bringing into the machine. But in my head, I'm like,
for example, you find a lot of times like a meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, they all take place in churches, right? That's what you hear about, like on TV and stuff like that, that the church has opened itself up to be a space of facilitation for real issues, people are going through now that they may not be the most practicing people in the world and their own faith, but yet the church recognizes that. If they were if you were if you were hurting, what better place to go to? I remember and you can correct me if I'm wrong, one of the stories I remember Casali and
one of the people in the in the city saw him speaking with a woman who was known to be very evil, she was a woman who would ever since she did, and they came to him and say, ma'am, how can you speak to this woman? Right? And how could you bring her to them? I think he brought it to the machine or something, how can you bring her here? And he is I'm paraphrasing, but he said, you know, what better place for her to be in? What better person for her to be speaking with, right? A person who is actually capable or wants to help these people? How do our religious centers and spaces and communities really integrate that understanding? When yet we're still so far behind? We're still so
stuck in our own weird, like taboo, and you know, everything is, and it's shameful? And how do we break that bubble and break that glass ceiling to really make it a place of healing? I think it starts with the community members. All right, the committee members got to go to the massage in the mosques and Islamic centers and say, Listen, this is what we want to have within our community. And I'll begin taking place not much longer for the for like a month ago, important member from the Islamic Institute of Toronto, his daughter passed away, Oh, I remember this. And they had a grief counseling session for the community in at IIT. And so that is, you know, a support group for
individuals within the community that needed support. So let's see how it went out in the conduct of that grief counseling support group for the community, as well. hamdulillah it's beginning to take place, whether it happens in masajid, or other spaces that are not, but it will begin inshallah, right, and it will, slowly but surely, now what has to be done to make that happen is we got to start making noise, right? We got to start making noise, we've got to start asking for these things. Maybe it hasn't crossed their mind, it hasn't been an item on the agenda. So we got to start discussing it. But how willing is the Muslim community to want to have support groups in the first
place? Hmm. All right. Well, I think anyone who understands like yourself who was involved in the profession of anyone who understands the impact of what they bring to the table, I think it's a no brainer, right? I think there's a lot of people who haven't experienced it before. So it's a very foreign concept. So they maybe can't imagine why it would be helpful. But I think it does, like it's a natural thing. Like people congregate with people, they have something in common with, right, we do that naturally. Anyways, why not do that around a specific topic or a grievance or anything of that sort. I'm saying this as almost like a public vent, because I wish more Muslim communities
would offer our spaces as a place of healing in this type of context. Because to me, the masjid unfortunately, has become I was mentioned this before, but it's become like a museum, it's become like a place where a retirement home the uncles go, like when they're, you know, retired, they just go and they pray they come home, you kids aren't allowed in there. You know, I purposely make a point of bringing my kids with me to the machine. But a lot of times they're told, don't pray here, pray outside pray with the women. Right, as if the woman was not valid. Right. So I'm hoping that they barely another woman, and if they have a woman section at all, right? I don't know if it's a
matter of we have to wait until they all die like these uncles until we can take over Is that a thing? Or some people? One solution I've heard is that, and this is an extreme Lee, tell me what you think, is that we should, you know, confront these decision makers, these gatekeepers with these types of requests to say, you know, we'd like to help facilitate our our grief counseling session here, but to the extent where if these community gatekeepers are not willing to allow these types of, you know, natural progressions to occur, then we should stop donating to them. And we should publicly make it known that we are not going to financially so because that's the you know, when you
start pinching machines, pockets, that's when they start listening right?
But if we were to say publicly, don't donate to this machine until they're willing to properly, properly facilitate programs for youth, or properly facilitate something for sisters, if we were to make a type of stance like that, that inevitably they would listen, do you think that'd be a reasonable? One? All right, 100%.
I believe that if you really want to make that stand, you got to vocalize it first. Number one, see what their response is like, and then go for it and say this, I'm not giving you I'm not funding you anymore, I will not. And I will make sure to let my friends and family know. Right, because the massage it has to be a place where the community members feel welcome. And we have to do everything as a community member to make other community members feel welcome. And so if it's not this meshes, another mesh it but looking at from a bigger perspective,
when we come together, and we stop funding and donating our massage, but
how are we impacting the wider community? How are we impacting our children? Where are they supposed to go then? Oh, yeah, right. Right. Another problem for yourself. Exactly. And so now, what happens is we recreate the problem by Okay, let's build another message.
That always wattage mentality always happen. Oh, yeah. 100%. It's happened in the GTA for many years, right. And across the street from one another. Like, it's like a gas station, you know, gas station lives up on this corner, and they realize, oh, that business here, or this board gets kicked out. And the board comes in the, you know, the old board says, we're just gonna make another mistake. Yeah. And they became competition. And so they're, I call the mesh to delta. Right? They're, you know, they're built upon, you know, either usury, or they're built upon, you know, bad intentions. They're built upon all that negativity. And so what happens to that community built upon
that negativity, right now you're just recreating this problem for yourself, as opposed to making changes to one problem? Right. And so if b by that economics tactic Bismillah, go for it. Right? massages are always in need of donations, but they're always going to find other avenues for access to those donations, but has to be done in terms of committee members come together to the petition? I know, in few massages in the GTA, community, community members came together to petition access, women's access to the message. Sure. And they received it. Okay. And they received it. Right. So it happens slowly, but surely, it will take place. And you know, in in the uncles defense, I use this
generic term uncles, but I mean, you know, boards are run by many different unique people. It's hard work to run a nonprofit, you know, a religiously based organization. I know, definitely. It's hard work. I sat on a mission board for like, a year and a half. And I hated every second that regulations. Yeah. But I it's one of those things that I think everyone has to do, I don't think you're actually you shouldn't be able to criticize them, unless you've done it unless you volunteered and put yourself in that position. Similarly, I wasn't a big fan of the MSA at all. When I was in university, I went to Ryerson. And I saw it as very clique ish. And like, I didn't really
like what they were bringing to the table. So I made sure that I joined the MSA. And I made sure that I you know, whatever changes I was complaining about, like, Alright, but Now's my opportunity to make it. And when I saw how difficult I was, I was like, Alright, you know, I respect what you guys do, like, I'm going to be less critical, more compassionate, right? Because it is a very difficult task. So and this for everyone who might be thinking, you know, take my financial, you know, coladas tactic to heart, I mean, that's an opportunity you can take if you need to. But I think also, if we're not willing to step up and provide that help and support, we really can't
complain, because it is probably
it's a little bit of our doing, you know, a lot of times these massages in these in these community centers in these community spaces. They operate kind of in the dark, right? They operate kind of like the Illuminati, right? You don't really know who's in charge. I don't you don't know when board elections are you don't know who's who's the leader, who's this president. And sometimes it just changes hands between like five or six people. I've seen that a lot and most massages that the board is consistent of 10 people one year, this guy's a president, the other this guy's a president. So even though it's a different board, it's really the same people, right? But to keep that continuity
to keep people still interested, people still donating it's a lot of time, it's a lot of resource, a lot of personal sacrifices people make to their own their own lives. So you know, as much as we want to criticize, I definitely think we need to step up and help as well and be there as a resource. But listen, I've taken a lot of your time and I know it's getting late. And I want to just say for everything you're doing with Leo center, how can people get in touch with yourself? How can they get in touch with Julio center if they have more questions, give us the rundown. Maybe some info on that triple wwL center.com and H Li l center Cindy n t r allarakha. What are you guys sold out? IUD is
that no, that's the Canadian spelling. That's American er is Oh man.
I sold out to just like that. Yours American
All lower waiting on the listener.ca domain okay and are we already have that just redirect calm but you can book an appointment on there my contact informations on the website in Sharla as well as all other therapists but inshallah next one you online as well and you on social media
I am yes
Facebook and Twitter Allah now a new Instagram, Instagram just for like the Raptors I
have the exact location for your time really appreciate it and thank you very much and Max time we can meet in the space inshallah I'd love to. I'd love to come by and I'd love to find out more about and you guys can definitely find out more information in the link in the description in Sharla. Zuckerman Law Center for watching and staying tuned. Watch next time for more great content here and thank you very much Santa Monica when I went to LA he will buy cats.