Channel: Navaid Aziz
Community Discussion: The Reality Behind Islamophobia & How To Counter It By Sh Navaid Aziz
Friday, October 28, 2016
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim in Al Hamdulillah hinomoto who wants to know when istockphoto when I was a builder Himanshu Rodolfo senior woman sejati Amma Nina Maria de la dama de la de da de la la la ilaha illallah wa watashi wa shadow under Mohammed Abdullah Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa seldom at the Sleeman kathira My bad, my dear brothers and sisters as salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.
So tonight's community discussion is on the topic of Islamophobia. And as I begin this discussion, I need to say thank you to two main organizations and to people from within those organizations. The first organization is the National Council of Canadian Muslims, and they are public spokesperson, Sister amuro. Gabi was very helpful in my preparation of this presentation. And likewise, we have the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, whose representative is brother Mustafa farrokh in Edmonton. Now, this is something I didn't know before I started preparing this. But in the province of Alberta, we actually have an Islamophobia hate crime hotline, that you can call this hotline and
report your incident. Here's something even more interesting. On a daily basis, they're getting at least one phone call in the province of Alberta SubhanAllah. From March until now, on a daily basis, they're almost getting every single day, at least one phone call reporting a hate crime. So those are two organizations that again, I would like to thank for their help in preparation for this. Now, why are we having this community discussion? Starting off with Calgary itself, we have two definite confirmed incidents that were close number phobic hate crimes. The first of them was the Queensland masala that was attacked, and it was vandalized with several very disturbing things. Number one,
someone had taken a translation of the Koran, torn some of the pages out burn to them, and left them inside the mosque. And then number two, there are other hateful messages that were left inside the masala itself. So talking about, you know how Muslims are just taking resources, they're not contributing, and other inflammatory things as well. So that happened at the Queensland was Salah, that's after all the vandalism and the damage that took place. Number two, we had the incident at the University of Calgary where across the university, there was plastering of
posters that are you know, I feel shy and hesitant to even share the contents of but at the very least just to say they were extremely disturbing, then we have a third incident. As of now It hasn't been confirmed if it's a hate crime or in some phobia, crime or not. But personally, it's leaning towards that. And that is the attack of the the Northwest masella where the grass was broken. Now it is possible. This wasn't a hate crime, but it happened during the same period of time. So there's also possibility that it was now this is just in the City of Calgary, you move up north to Edmonton and Edmonton has been even much much worse than this on a regular basis almost weekly. For this past
several weeks. across the city, various flyers have been posted. The most recent one was a disturbing one, where they had Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam who is wanted right as a as a criminal. And they accused him of obviously very, very terrible things. So this is in Edmonton itself. Now you go across Canada, and things are even getting much, much worse. In fact, in 2016, it has been the worst year for some phobia attacks. And the year isn't even over yet. We'll be talking about some statistics later on. So what I want to begin this discussion with is number one, where does this Islamophobia stem from meaning Islamophobia has to stem from some sort of belief system. So what is
triggering this belief system to call people to act in this manner? Number one, is that they believe that Islam is a monolith, meaning that all Muslims are exactly the same. So the problem over here is that they take an extremely small minority of Muslims that identify themselves as ISIS or al Qaeda or Shabaab or any other organization. And when they see this on the media, they say, Muslims are monolith, they're all exactly the same. They're all to get us they're all out to destroy us. Now we know this for a reality that even looking at this very masala we have at least you know, 20 to 30 countries being represented over here that's just in this masala you look at a worldwide
perspective. And Muslims are in like over 100 different countries, Japan Allah. So Muslims are definitely not a monolith. Even just by looking at ethnicity, you break that down into culture into language into preferences, and we're extremely diverse. So it's very, very unfair to take one small segment of the Muslim community and paint them all with the same brush. Number two, this is a very, very funny one, and I'll talk about that in a second.
detail that Muslims like to be isolated they like to live in ghettos, and this is sometime earlier this year, Steven Emerson, who considered himself a, you know, a top notch scholar, or you know, resource on the Muslim community, he came on Fox News, and he will put it to absolutely ludicrous things. Number one, that the city of Paris has no go zones. And those no go zones are pockets in the city where non Muslims are not allowed. And the second one was even more horrendous. When he said the whole city of Birmingham, England was Muslim and non Muslims feel afraid to enter that city, the ex Prime Minister of England, David Cameron, he says I was eating my porridge as I heard this, and
then nearly choked. I thought to myself, this must be an April Fool's prank. Right. So this was openly reported. So what this is showing this sort of portrayal is that there is a belief system that Muslims want to live amongst themselves, and they don't want to welcome Muslims or non Muslims. Now, there's two parts to this. Number one, as a community, for the most part, I do believe we are very reserved, that we will not openly interact with our non Muslim counterparts, right? How many of us go to school go to work? And how many of us will interact with a non Muslim counterparts, either by going out to their lunch and dinner, inviting them to our houses, going to their houses, and so
on and so forth? How many of us are actually part of it? So there's some element of truth to it. But even let's just say it is extremely true that Muslims are like that. They're very reserved, and, you know, they don't like to interact too much. That doesn't make us isolationists, right? We're not people, I like to live in isolation. we're out and about in schools out and about in work, and about in, you know,
even in the public sphere, you go to cafes, you go to restaurants, you'll see Muslims, everywhere, even you go to the theater, you go to cinema, you see Muslims everywhere, right? So from that perspective, they're still out and about, and they interact in the public society, just not an intimate and personal level. Number three, the claim that Islam is a religion of violence. And again, this is been on the more recent front, with the, you know, a rise of groups like ISIS, that Muslims get accused of violence. Now, from a practical standpoint, let's just look at homegrown terrorism as an example. Right? The Census shows that there's close to a million Muslims in Canada.
So we're just talking about the Canadian context. CSUs reported in October, that there are less than 150 Muslims that have traveled overseas to join extremist groups. Okay, so 150 out of a million, you're getting 0.0001% that are joining extremist groups. Right? So how is it that you take it's such a small fraction of the population and identified with that, right? Now, while does this come from, again, the media, like anytime there's a positive story about the Muslim community, very seldom will get report I'm not gonna say it never gets reported, but seldom will get reported. Anytime there's something negative, it will definitely get reported. Right. As soon as a Muslim
person does something, automatically, the first question that gets asked, why is this an act of terrorism, whereas you see similar acts portrayed by other, you know, non Muslims slash Caucasians. And all of a sudden, it's like lone wolf, mental health issues, you know, social anxiety, and all sorts of other nonsense that we hear, right? But with Muslims, all of a sudden has to be religious based terrorism. Number four, this is perhaps the funniest of them all, that if you actually go to summer phobic websites, they constantly accused Muslims of tequila of having two faces, one face for the public and one face for the private. And internally, Muslims are organizing themselves amongst
themselves to eventually take over the world, starting with Canada and the United States. And that's what they constantly get accused of. Now, the reason why I find this so hilarious that we have a biller doing parking on Fridays, every single week, and every single Friday is chaos. Like we've been playing Joomla for years, yet we still can't even get a parking situation straight. Now, I don't know how we would get together to take over a nation. It just would not be possible. It wouldn't be you know, Muslims in Canada, United States, because every single machine has this problem. SubhanAllah so that's just the parking issue. You I'll show you even more, you know, story
with you. today. I came to the muscle after I said, and I needed to use the bathroom. I went into each and every single bathroom, and every single bathroom is drenched in water. I was explained a lot. What is the problem? Like we can't even be able to keep our bathrooms clean and we're going to take over the world.
It's not gonna happen, at least not for Muslims. So that claim is extremely ludicrous, extremely ludicrous. And then the last one, and this is the the big one, irresponsible media. This is such a huge component of it such a huge component. And I want to share two Canadian news incidents. Number one is Maclean's magazine, the front cover, the future belongs to Islam. And this is when the Syrian refugee was were coming into Canada. This is what they portrayed that, you know, a lot of the Syrian refugees are coming in, and they're being brought into Canada, and the Muslims are slowly taking over as if this is a terrible and bad thing that's going to happen. And you know, everything's going
to go south for from here. So that was Maclean's magazine. Then you have the Edmonton sun that talked about Edmonton police working on hijab accommodation in uniform. That was the the title and the title does it does sound that inflammatory a job in accommodation of police uniform, not a big deal. What is the picture, they put a woman in a police officer hat and her face is covered with niqab with only her eyes showing. So again, scaring the population that hey, as soon as you open up the door for a job, all of your women across the spectrum I want to start we're in the pub, and they're going to be forced into it. And these are just two incidents. And you will find multiple
other incidents where the media will report this sort of thing. Now, let me share with you insight into this. I attended a media training workshop. And in this media training workshop, there was a profound moment for me, where the presenter stated that every day 1000s of planes will take off from the airport, that the only ones that you will hear off are the ones that crash. Now why is that? Why is the media only reporting CES reporting sensationalize journalism. It's because the media has now become a capitalistic profit bearing entity, it needs to make profit in order to survive. And people do not care about the positive flights that took off. They're more concerned about the ones that
crushed and people by sensationalized media and reports. And that is why particularly for the Muslim community, is that anytime something bad happens in our community is guaranteed is going to get out there because it is sensationalized, and people want to buy that which is sensationalized. So there is fault in it. Now, in terms of countering these reports, actually, sorry, I want to share a statistic with you, there was a group called embryonic in 2016 of this year, they reported that 68% of Muslims in North America are concerned about the way that they are portrayed in the media. That means out of every 10 Muslims, almost seven are concerned, and then a percentage of like 8% that
didn't respond. So you can add an approximately another 4%, you want to split it in half, that 70% of Muslims are concerned about the way that they're portrayed in the media. So it clearly shows that there is a bias in the media that is against Muslims. And it's not just something imaginary, it is actually real, it is actually real. And we just share two incidents out there. Now on the other hand, there are media outlets that do report positive media on behalf of the Muslims. But then we fall short over here. And where we fall short, is that we do not take the opportunity to thank those media outlets for representing us in a positive light. And that we should encourage them to report
more. So anytime we're involved in something positive we shared with them, if they reported Alhamdulillah, we should thank them for it. And if they don't report it, then at the very least say thank you for hearing us out, and perhaps in the future, we can work together. So that is irresponsible media. And the last thing I wanted to share with you in terms of Islamophobia is that there's a new thing that's coming out now, I'll show this at the end, but it's leaning towards inshallah, that Islamophobia will officially become a hate crime it hasn't become yet, but inshallah sometime soon, it will officially become a hate crime. Now, the counter narrative that is coming to
this is that Muslims are afraid of Islamophobia, because these are valid criticisms against their faith. These are valid criticisms against their faith. So I've given you a summary of the criticisms that have come forth. Now inshallah for you yourselves, you can see that these aren't valid criticisms. In fact, when we talk about scrutiny of the religion, the Muslim scholars themselves from within the faith will pick and choose and scrutinize and discuss and come to a conclusion amongst themselves, like discussion amongst Muslim scholars is constantly taking place, right? So from an outsider's perspective is valid and is welcome. But it's not completely irrelevant, right?
Because when you have subject matter, you need subject matter experts to discuss it. Not someone that is from the outside that has nothing to do with the faith has no experience in the faith and has no academic background in the faith.
So this claim that, you know, Islam doesn't welcome Islamophobia because they don't want to launch criticism is completely unfounded. We hate Islamophobia, because of the evil that it brings the discrimination that takes place against Muslims, right? We don't hate it because there's discussion about our faith, right of any faith that actively discusses their faith. Islam discusses their, for their faith the most in this day and age, right? We're constantly having discussions within our faith. Where do we draw the letter between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law? Right, that is like one of the main discussions that we're having in this day and age. So that is always
welcome. Now, what is the result of this Islamophobia, the result of this Islamophobia, and you know, where this belief system that it's stemming from, is that justification now becomes sorry, this discrimination now becomes justified. What that means is, in order for you to attack someone, you have to paint them as the other. Right? When you look at psychology, when someone attacks someone else, either verbally or physically, we have to paint them as the other mean that he's not from me. And when you paint them as the other, then those attacks become justified. So Islamophobia actually becomes justified because of these previous reasons mentioned. Now, after something becomes
justified, it further leads to normalization, where the normal language is very Islamophobic. And you see this throughout history that you know, before the Holocaust happened, there's a very huge rise in anti semitism, right, the Jewish community was heavily heavily criticized, and recalled a whole bunch of terrible things, and then the Holocaust happened. So the fact that, you know, anti semitism became normalized before the Holocaust is a huge learning lesson, that if we allow Islamophobia to become normalized, and it's slowly becoming that way, there could be potential ramifications like the Holocaust. And this is something to think about that how stupid are we as a
human race that will literally allowing history to repeat itself, and we're not doing anything against it. So those are the two big ramifications. Now, I want to share some more stuff with you. This is from the wiki Wikipedia page on Islamophobia in Canada, a variety of public opinion research companies, research institutes, think tanks and social statistic data gatherers gatherers have at times given credit to the existence of Islamophobia, as well as countered attempts to downplay or underestimate it. According to a 2011 Gallup poll. 48% of Canadians believe that Western societies do not respect Muslim societies. And 2013 Angus Reid poll revealed that 69% of qhubeka people held
an unfavorable opinion of Muslims and the rest of Canada, this view rose from 46% unfavorable in 2009, to 54% in 2013, so 46 to 54 in a span of four years, meaning it grew 8% 8% until 2013, and then you bring it to 2016. It makes things even worse. In 2014, police forces across the country recorded 99 religiously motivated hate crimes against Muslims, up from 45 in 2012. So in 2012, there were 45 reported hate crimes against Muslims in 2014. There are 99 now this is a scary thing. I want to bring your attention to
2016 October, we're talking about one month in the month of October 2016. The NCC m national Canadian Council of Muslims has over 50 reported incidents across Canada. Right. So 2004 2014, you had 99. So 2012, you had 45 across Canada, in 2016. In the month of October alone, nccm has over 50 of them. Right? Now, here's where things get even more scarier. According to Statistics Canada, two thirds of hate crimes do not get reported. So that's 50 that have been reported. That means there's another 100 that have not gone reported in the month of October alone. That's According to Statistics Canada, if you were to average it out. Now, that's something to think about Suppan Allah,
that hate crimes against Muslims and Islamophobia is definitely on the rise. Now, what is the bigger, unknown problem and picture that we as the Muslim community are heedless of and that is the industry of Islamophobia. This report that I believe is very, very valuable in reading, it's called fear, Inc, the roots of Islamophobia the roots of the Santa phobia network in America. I want you to think about this take a wild guess. How much money was pumped into the Islamophobia industry from 2001 to 2000.
In night, who wants to take a guess? From 2001 to 2009? How much money was pumped into this industry? Anyone wanna take? Yes, go ahead. 5 million. 5 billion. Come on, man. It's not that bad.
It's bad, but it's not that bad. Good.
Meaning that money was donated to certain organizations to promote an Islamophobic. Agenda.
2 million 2 million much, much higher. Go ahead.
even higher than that. I'll take one more guess. infinity.
64 I don't know how you came up with that number. But you're the closest one so far. $42.6 million $42.6 million. And people on these payrolls? Are people like Pamela Geller, right? One of the biggest islamophobes coming out of the United States of America 42 point 6 million from 2001 to 2009. I want you to think about that, then you move even further from like 2010 to 2016. These numbers have literally doubled and tripled, right? People like Donald Trump, they didn't even need to fund these sort of things. They openly came out in the news, and said that Muslims should be banned from the United States of America. Right? And they're openly out saying it. So there's a
bigger unknown problem that we as a Muslim community are heedless of. And that is, these Islamophobic think tanks are being heavily funded, heavily heavily funded. So now our response to this as the Muslim community is where our think tanks, and what are we doing to support the Muslim cause in countering Islamophobia? How much money are we actually putting in? Like, if there was a fundraiser for the nccm? How much money would you actually donate? If there was a fundraiser for ampac? How much money would you actually donate? And the sad reality is, while these organizations are like literally doing whatever they can to defend our rights and civil liberties, these are some
of the causes that collected the lowest amount of funds from fundraisers, that if we were to have a fundraiser for a Masjid, in Al Hamdulillah, we're able to get hundreds of 1000s of dollars, but you do a fundraiser for these sorts of organizations that are literally you know, two or three across the country. They're doing things for us. And they can barely get, you know, 10s of 1000s of dollars. Like I can't remember what it was in Calgary. But I think roughly about 20,000. That's how much they collected. We want to think about that if we're so willing to donate to our massages, what if a time comes where those massages get destroyed due to Islamophobia, because we didn't invest in
those civil liberties and civil rights lobbyists prior to that, right. That's a reality to think about. So next time you have money to donate, think about donating towards those causes that will protect the civil rights and liberties of the Muslim community. Now, before we open up the floor for public discussion, I want to conclude with two things. positives, first of all, this was
October 27, which was yesterday that there is a motion passed on an E petition sponsored by liberal MP Frank Bellis from peerform Dillard in Quebec, and signed by over 69,000 Canadians. It was first put forward earlier this month by NDP leader Thomas mulcair, and was subsequently defeated by some conservative MPs. It was presented again this week, and this time it passed unopposed. So that's a very positive story, that most of you are aware that there was a petition being passed around 69,000 people signed it, which I find very, very sad. That as a Muslim community, I said, we're close to 1 million Canada, yet only 69,000 of us signed it. Right. And you'll see that I don't think they show
the names, but some of them allow for their names to be shown that you save a lot of non Muslims signing it as well. And they're proud of signing this, right. So we have as a Muslim community, a greater responsibility and going forth. But this is a positive story that hamdulillah at least either Islamophobia is coming towards a point where it can be reported as a hate crime. That is a huge positive story that just happened yesterday. Now in terms of action points. We have a huge responsibility in education. And this education is at a personal level, and at a community level. On a personal level, we have an obligation to openly profess and represent our Islam. I want to share
something scary with you that I believe this was after either the Belgium attacks, or the Paris attacks one of the two. There is a seven year old girl her mother went onto Twitter that her seven year old daughter came to her and asked her mommy tomorrow Should I go and tell my classmates that I'm not Muslim anymore because she was fearing the backlash. a seven year old was starting to think like this right? Now, such backlash is very vivid and valid in the United States in terms of what's happening. But this was such a huge awakening for me, that the natural reaction when things are working
southward Muslims, is for Muslims to distance themselves from Islam. So 911 happens. And a wide variety of responses come about sisters start taking off their jobs, brothers are shaving off their beards, names are being changed, left, right and center. Right, all these sorts of things are happening. Now while I understand safety is of the utmost importance, we're not looking at the bigger picture, that there is a sphere of sociology. And the more Islam is visible, the wider the sphere of acceptance is. But the more we hide our Islam, especially the visible aspects of it, the more this circle of sociological acceptance decreases. So meaning that if you ever society as a
hypothetical situation where everyone is wearing niqab in society, it will become socially accepted, right. And it'll just be like a common, everyday thing. And that's where the job is right now, for the most part of when the sister was a job. It's commonly accepted, it's understood, that is a religious symbol that she is a Muslim, she's identified as Muslim, and no one will bother looking at her twice for wearing a hijab, right? That is the sphere of the circle of social tolerance. Now, imagine if all of the sisters took off the hijab, and one or two sisters kept on wearing their hijab? What would that sphere look like? It decreases drastically at those one or two sisters that
are wearing hijab. They're like, Oh my God, who is this strange person that we don't know why they dressed differently. So that's what we don't understand that in the longer sphere of things that of Muslims don't stay visibly identified, or identifiable, that's fear of acceptance actually decreases. So you're doing a disservice to yourself in the future, as well as the Muslim community by changing your name and taking off your visibly apparent religious symbols, whether it be the beard or the hijab, things will be difficult in the spur of the moment. But once you know, the heat cools down, everything goes back to normal. So when the heat is present, seek help from Allah seek
refuge in Allah and seek His protection, but continue identifying yourself visibly as Muslim. Because in the long term, that is where the greater protection and the greater need of the Muslim community is. So that's on an individual level, on an individual level, as well, I was talking about how many of us actually interact with our non Muslim counterparts. And the reality I don't haven't done a survey of you. But I do believe it's not a lot of us that a lot of us will not interact with them on a personal level, outside of school at work. And I believe, as a Muslim in this day and age, it is not sufficient to restrict those relationships, just to school and work. You have to socialize
with them. And at one time for some outcomes, therefore say, hey, my religion says I need to go and pray. So you go and pray. Right. And this is a way of educating people about what Islam is all about. The people are very respectful, people are very accepting, we have to give them a chance to show their respect, and show their acceptance by presenting who we are. Right? I go to a local gym in the northwest called vivo. And, you know, especially in the wintertime, I try to go there early in the morning. That's the first thing in the morning. And now that as far as getting later and later, like sometimes I'll be in the gym even before fudger starts. So for the time starts. And it's
like man, I need to pray fudger so when it's extremely quiet, there's actually a wall climbing area that has the softest ground you'll ever like pray on, it's so soft that your feet sink into it. So if you know what the rock like rock climbing, if you fall off, like literally you're falling on like cushion. That's what it's like, and praying some others absolutely amazing. When it gets really really crowded in that area. In the gym upstairs, there's like a massive walls, and then they have like yoga mats and some other mats, where people do like yoga and stuff. I'll end up playing there of that area gets crowded. And on several occasions, people have come up and you're like, hey,
really cool yoga man. And I'm like, it's not yoga. That's what I saw. Right? That happened twice, like just give you a great picture. But constantly, you know, people are staring as they're walking by, like, what's this guy doing? And he creates great conversation, right? So these are things that we shouldn't be shy and ashamed of free and public. In fact, these are things that we should be proud of that we take time out of our day to pray to Allah subhana wa Tada. So interact with people give people a chance to question the people a chance to learn on a very personal level and extend invitations, right? There's nothing wrong with inviting non Muslims to your house and letting them
eat your food and experience what your lifestyle is like, let them see that you're not very different from them, except in concepts of morality, acceptance in spirituality. And that's a good chance to create conversation. No, today I was at Annika where a Latino brother was getting married to a Pakistani sister, and a lot of non Muslims were present over there. And there were a lot of questions that were asked, you know, why are men and women celebrated in the mosque? You know, what is the significance of the nicaea and things like that?
So again, when you invite them to these functions, they want to come, they want to experience it. And it's a great opportunity to educate. So on a personal level, we need to take a step up our game. Number two, is in terms of lobbying, we need to get more involved with our MPs, with our local representatives with our federal representatives, and just talk to them about Muslim issues. Like we need to take this very seriously. I'm not kidding, like, weed gets mentioned a lot, but how many of us will interact with our local electives, this is something you need to take seriously, if you have a concern on your mind, reach out to your local MP liko, reach out to your local representative and
talk about the issues on your mind, they are there to represent you, they are there to represent you, I can't emphasize that enough. And if you don't speak up for your own rights, and talk about the things that are bothering you, someone else will do it on your behalf, or they'll get completely ignored. So you as a citizen, you as a civilian has an obligation to reach out to them, particularly with you know, certain members of the Conservative Party, like living in Alberta, they're a lot more popular than they are in other provinces. It's those ones in particular that you really need to reach out to, like, some of them promote active hatred towards Muslims and Islam actively, right. So
those individuals, we need to go and speak to them and say, Hey, what's the actual problem? Where did you have a bad incident with Muslims? What is it that's bothering you about the Muslim community? What can we do to solve it? Right? These are the type of discussions you want to have with them, and show them another side to Islam. Show them another side to Islam. Likewise, in terms of Muslim sensitivities, right, there's a huge culture now, in pretty much every industry, that we they are educating people about sensitivities, whether it be sexism, whether it be sensitivity towards the LGBT community, we need to be sensitivities about, you know, dietary restrictions, or
even faith restrictions. Right. One of the things that I'm really proud of of the ISC for is that every six months, we will invite the law enforcement, the fibregrid, the MS. RCMP members, they will come to this very masala, and they will learn about Islam and the things that they have to be conscious of when they're interacting with the Muslim community members, right. So in your workplace, speak to your HR department and say, Hey, you know, is it possible to conduct a Muslim sensitivity training, right. And this is something great that you know, a lot of major companies are lobbying for. So this is something that you can do on a personal level, as well. Number three, in
terms of education, after these attacks, something in Calgary that something positive that we saw, both in Northwest Missouri and the Queensland masala, we're hosting open houses for them, massage it, they come in, have dialogue with the Muslim community, raise your concerns and talk about what's on your mind. And you're welcoming people in. Now, the unfortunate thing is, we have to wait till we get attacked to host these sort of things, these sort of things we should be having on a regular basis, and inviting the non Muslim community to learn about Islam, right. And one of the things that will get them through the door guaranteed, having free ethnic food, they love free ethnic food, rubs
them shawarmas, grab some, you know, football, and you're good to go. You don't even have to have a big budget, have someone present, have some posters, have some, you know, while billboards, and you're really good to go. Now, the last thing I want to conclude with is that we're coming up with this idea. Sister Simon jamala is orchestrating it, of putting up posters across the city. So just that there were posters against this them, their posters going to be put up across the city, that talk about Muslims, that Muslims, you know, brought algebra, they brought coffee and they bought something else. And we're like, We're sorry, we bought the algebra, but we hope you're enjoying the
coffee, like these sort of things are like very positive signs. So there's a series of like six posters that we're planning on putting up inshallah, we will be collecting funds to print these posters and have volunteers put them up with Sharla. So just keep that in mind. And this is one of the positive things that is going to be coming out of this discussion. So now I've done my piece in sha Allah, we have until 830 to hear what are your thoughts on this topic? And what do you think are some of the action points that we need to be taking? We have a mic that will be passed around in sha Allah, so anyone that has comments or questions, inshallah, we will address them. Again, as a
reminder until 830 and 830 we have to conclude. So who wants to be the first person to comment or question, uncle? Okay, can we get one of our young brothers?
There we go.
He's very young. Mashallah. He's very young.
No, father. Yeah, very, very nice.
discussion started. I have a few comments, of course, from my own experiences and
before that, too, from the community of our own community here in Calgary, yes.
And they are negative.
As you said,
one is there is a, there is a sect of Muslims here in Calgary. And they are enormous, very famous all the time you can see on the television.
He just to give you a warning in advance, please don't mention any
of the individual Sharla. I'm not going to tell you the name. The people can guess it. So at the, at the Florida Senate, I think the guide told them that we are the real representative of Muslims who are not terrorists, right? The other organizations, and he mentioned specifically, I covered and, yes, they are the terrorists and ban them here in Canada.
But government didn't have any clue to ban them. So then the matter didn't advance. Right. So this is one example. Because it was the floor of the
Senate. Right, they cannot be sued.
So this was one incidents. And the second is when a new cubby system
can catch hold of the media, he came, he came all the way and talked about in the car and all that it's now during the election period. And you can see the reserves they have preserved.
So if the media is being pumped by by other set of people, those are working against Islam, we should also catch all of the media into something, right. So this is good, clean samples, whichever on community has done something harmful, and to hide the positive effects.
And you said, it's rightly said that, if we end up if we have
non Muslims, then definitely they are going to change the news as well, of course,
And when they are inviting in every event, even when they part is, you know, mostly the identity.
Only once in the digital, I said to them, that if you're inviting, I'm not going to think if it is acceptable, then I'm coming.
And after that they never said a word during the party. I was being there. I was drinking with the Jews.
Either the drinking ages, either taking,
taking something that can be juice or something right. So nobody was asking me to drink.
Sam, just before you begin, I just want to make a quick comment on what we're saying. You know, and the two things that you mentioned, one of the biggest lessons that I'm learning is that we have to give people a test, okay, just give us give us that we have to give people a chance. And in the first incident that you mentioned with the Senate, the government and law enforcement agencies are not stupid, right? As many mistakes as they'll make, they're not stupid. And you will realize that a lot of times, we will use sectarianism. And we will use theological points to discredit our own community members in the initial phases might have an effect. But in the long term, they realize
that this is just internal propaganda. And this happened in both of the incidents. That one, nothing happened to the two Institute's that were mentioned. And number two hardware eventually got got removed himself. But there's a clock here for for sharing that. Sam, go ahead. And welcome to your channel. Thank you.
I feel a sense of relief, when you mentioned there between 2002 1009 we only they spent $42 million, only in the summer. For some reason, I thought I was thinking a lot, lot more. But keep in mind that this is like where we could trace the money. Many incidents, we can trace the money and you don't know what's happening. Exactly. Right. So
the reason I'm saying this, because we've been hearing about it for a long, long time, especially those even back before 2001. Right? We hear it on the media all the time, especially after midnight, you hear all these
TV shows and stuff. So anyway, I think I would just want to make a point that I do believe our main, the main contributor to the Islamophobia, folks, in my opinion, is our actions in the field or action in real life. I think as a society, as a community, as Muslims as individuals as organization as faith institutions, at all levels, we're not doing our job. I mean, the other side, they could do whatever they want to do, they can say whatever
What do you want to say?
I don't wanna use the word nothing but always close to nothing. I agree with you. That's very true.
One thing that I was reflecting upon this and Sam, if you can just pass it to the brother behind you. And then after this brother, we want to go to our brother over here, then we'll go to the sisters in Sharla.
When it comes to the Muslim community there, there's two things that we need to be conscious of. One is the proactive effort that you're talking about over here. But a lot of the times one of the things that I feel sad about the most is in terms of our own spokespeople. So when you look at the vast majority of spokespeople, this is just a reflection of what uncle was saying is that we have activists spokespeople on behalf of the Muslim community, like you look at Ayaan Hirsi, she considered herself with Islamic expert. And it's like the nonsense that comes out of her mouth is just ridiculous. Absolutely. You know, crazy. Yeah, she's speaking on behalf of Islam. Now,
obviously, I believe she's trying to monetize that situation. But we're also knowing that if we don't fill that vacuum, someone else is going to fill that space. So you're completely right, that we love to complain, but we don't want to do anything about it. And I'm hoping that from this discussion, we're gonna bring about action points in Sharla. Erica, go ahead, please.
I get the fact that the Islamophobia has like a big industry. But like, as a white convert.
I deal with a lot of Muslims, and they don't really realize that I'm Muslim.
And I see behavior.
That is really embarrassing.
I've had co workers asked me, Why are Why are Muslims so ignorant and rude and Ramadan, like, for example, the Coons on masala, right? I know people who live in that community, and like, Muslims would go for a total way. And before they go, there swearing at all the all the Canadians, because they tell them not to park that in that particular way. Right? Or
two years ago, I was coming out of my building, and there was a Muslim family and their daughter and their daughter was actually
she actually almost broke to shattered the glass on the door of the building. And I asked them to, you know, why are you doing this? They said this, we don't care so that we don't live here. You know,
I've had so
I know so many non so many non Muslims that
have had so much negative experience with Muslims in Calgary.
And like, I can give you so many examples, and even my own self, where people just because my name is Eric, they automatically think I'm just, you know,
go whatever. And then it's just like, and then so they're, they'll behave in a different way. Yeah. And it's, it's very interesting. Like, I see people play the victim card all the time. And it's, but then at the same time, I also see that
they're not they, the way they interact in society is really messed up, of course.
And I'll be honest, it's just the way people will behave. I mean, even in this massala. I mean, I remember what 2000 2006 We are here for a course in the Sierra. And a fight broke out in front because of the way people were parking, and how many times that happened in fright on Friday. And so yes, like, it's very unfortunate that the Queensland was was vandalized. But honestly, I wasn't surprised, from my own call from my own
colleagues that I've worked with, who have very who's who have
where they actually have no problem with Muslims, except that they just don't they, they asked me like, why are they so rude? Why are they? I mean, you guys are going to pray. You guys are fasting all day? And then and then like, why? And then he was actually like, telling me to
all these, you know, four letter words. Yeah.
These are valid concerns. I just, sorry, go ahead. No, no, please continue. I just really think that I understand that to the industry is very lucrative. And I get that. But like,
as a silent observer, I do see a lot of things and it's like,
I it's just, I have to, I have to shake my head a lot of times, because this is like the stuff that you'll see. Like, you know, whether it's driving or you know, we're going to the mall, or you know, just like I'll give you an example on
one of my one of my relatives, little achaea like, I don't mean to cut you off, but you've given like a lot of examples and like each example that you're giving is like a further dagger.
But I understand there's a lot
about reality, you know, I agree with you, it is reality. And we have a lot of work to do. But like I said, our agenda right now, or whatever positive action points that we can take, like, we're aware of the problems. And I feel really bad. As a convert, you've had like even the worser, end of the stick, that you get slack from the non Muslim committee, and you get even slack from the Muslim community, where it's like, Okay, what can we do now to change this, I think, realizing that stop always playing the victim card. And that's a very valid point, I just wanted to talk about this. Everyone's telling a story. And if everyone's playing the victim card, who is going to be the hero,
right? Time needs to come with the victim turns into the hero. That's what every great story has. And I think you're right that we have played the victim card long enough. And now it's time to become the hero of our story. We want to figure out how to do that in Sharla. But please continue. Well, like the I guess I can continue giving more of these kinds of examples that I've seen, and let's talk about positive things. And what what something positive Do you think we can do as a community that Yeah, I'll give you an example. Give me one solid example. Like us talking about Salah. So all my co workers, like I was given my own office just because I just because I pray, all
right. Whereas a lot of Muslims are afraid to go pray. Right. Okay.
I was given my own office, and I have, I have two hours for lunch on Friday, right? Or whatever I need, make it up.
Like my kids, his mother, she works for an organization here in Calgary, they wouldn't let her go pray. I let her deal with it for a few weeks. And I said, and then after a few weeks of her not being so successful, I wrote a letter to her manager within within 72 hours issued her a written apology. And they said she can pray anytime she want. That's a great positive story. So stand up. So you have to stand up for yourself. But you also have to at the same time, know, know your rights, know the limitation of your rights, and then start playing like oh my god, everyone's up to her to her because I'm a Muslim, of course. No great points. And Zack Locklear, thank you so much. Go
Santa Monica, Nico said, our
movies for this beautiful talk. And my points, I think one of the things we can do is try to prepare younger Muslims, especially that are in the community for media. And it doesn't have to be just Islamic channel, right. It's just whether it's preparing Muslims to take more of a role in a TV show, or actually a Muslim, all the Muslim community comes together to take a show up in an important TV show. I know there's Islamophobia other side of people stopping any kind of Islamic show, but to put either people and to get more of the role models on TV, whether it's nba stars, whether it's great scholars, all different types of the Muslim community to show up. So maybe if you
can divide into three levels, if we can have a, like someone like in a mountain trip, or any of the institutions come in, and instead of just doing a course on Sita, about what the ethics of Islam and media is, so that the younger, whether male or female, know, sort of what the boundaries are. So to work from there. That is one of the things in it. As a person going through university, I never saw any advice on media. So I actually thought it was just us the whole time growing up until I grew up. And I knew I was getting brainwashed by the same media that we had no influence on parade. But it's mainly a presence within the younger crowds that are looking for careers that might have the talent,
of course, but don't have the base. The second part is I guess, the TV shows, we might not be the main people on the show. But it could be people that could help influence bring more conservative views or something like that doesn't have to be a Muslim necessarily. It could be a mix of Muslim and non Muslim, right. So that it we can put role models out there. So the community can change. I agree to Eric's point. Of course, we have a lot of negative but this can be really influenced from seeing more positive role models, right. And the third one, of course, is if there can be an Islamic TV that is accessible. I know there are a few ones online, but none of them are mainstream that
could help us. Yeah, so maybe a three tier plan. Perfect. So let me comment on some stuff. Number one in terms of media training, we had media training by nccam, like two years ago, or three years ago, one year ago, who was the last No, no, they that was a fundraiser last year with actually came for training at Akram Juma, I think two or three years ago, and literally we were begging people to come out like begging people, please come on, get me to get training. We got 20 people to show up. And of those 20 people, I have no idea where we're at.
So that's one element of it. So to do what you're saying, in Sharla. We have sister Mila coming back to Calgary on in March 18. For the one Omar conference, a day before a day after I will take the initiative
organizing the media training, I want you to take the initiative of gathering the people together and getting them to come in Sharla. Number two, I'm three combined, we have two problems in the Muslim community. One we lack creativity from within. So any, like sort of shows we create are extremely dull and boring. And it's like, why would I ever watch this? And then number two, is that we don't shaming our own people
excusing shows like Little Mosque on the Prairie. You know, it was a great concept. But everyone that started criticizing the Creator, or she's too liberal, she's a feminist, she's pushing her own agenda as like shaming or x y Zed, rather than looking at the positive effect that something like go to Mosque on the Prairie is bringing. Now I'll conclude with one last point.
We don't realize it yet. But there are a lot more visible Muslims on TV now. So I was watching the show with Trevor Noah, what's it called The Daily Show? Do you guys know, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, then Russell Simmons on Russell Simmons this last week. And he's talking about how Islamophobia is real. And he's fighting Islamophobia as a non Muslim, a primetime show with the huge viewer audience. And he's there talking about countering Islamophobia. There's another TV show called convicted. And the the premise of the show is it looks into crimes that have happened. And whether you're right or wrong, in terms of the court case, I would went down. And I was like, it was
a Muslim incident, and there was a bomb in it. And like this is going to be another terrorist thing. Muslims are getting labeled as terrorists. What happened was, it was a bomb that blew up in the mom's office that killed people. So Originally, it was portrayed as an Islamophobic crime, which brought about a huge amount of weirdness. But the end of the show, it was the mom's wife that actually killed him.
But the point being is
in Sharla, and Michelle and I said this on NBC mad, and I was like, really excited when I was seeing this, it was sad that the mothers were killed him at the end was a kid, at least there's a witness for summer phobia, and multiple other shows on ABC, you'll see women wearing hijab, so slowly but surely trickling in, but I love the idea of Muslims creating their own media, and creating their own stories. But I think we need to empower people to do that. Like, when we look at the jobs that we want our future generations to have, we still limited to accounting, engineering doctors, maybe, you know, if you can become a doctor, become a pharmacist or a dentist, like no one wants to get into
media, you're shunned if you don't know once you get into creativity, because you're shunned for doing that. So I think we need to create the level of tolerance within the community in order for that to happen, but I'd love your points. Does that come? Okay, so we're gonna pass it on to the sisters now in Sharla. And we'll give him an equal amount of time. So the brothers took 18 minutes, and we'll give the sisters 18 minutes as well, which means we will be praying a shot late. So people that are here for a shot 814 Charlotte's the new time. So sign up, please go ahead.
At this point, Eric was saying,
I know that we have a lot of false. And as Muslims, I know that we hold ourselves to a higher standard maybe because not just the fact that as human beings, we simulated ourselves to a higher standard that God wants us to be held at a higher standard. So there's that it's almost like a double edged sword. At one point, we expect ourselves to be much better human beings. But on the other hand,
one day, why do I have to be a much better human being? Why not a Hindu, Sikh or a Christian? an agnostic, you know,
you know, any one of those person could have behaved like that, as a Muslim is held at a higher standard. So that's the questions comes in my mind.
Moving on to the other things,
whole decade, I was talking about how the media keeps on posting our story.
For the last two years, I thought like
a secret formula on how to
manipulate the media to
find a sama phobia to show the good side of Muslims.
For the last one year, a lot of you know that we have been working on this unit.
And to whatever extent people crca Aquino, myself and Sam the moral, they see us almost as Sam and Sam are working this, this, this, this this, but then, when they see us, they don't really understand that we are Muslims, a lot of them don't. They just see us as our first names, which is almost not always readily visible with the Muslim identity and
But the thing is, they all know when they know us a little bit, even personally that we are Muslims. So this action by converting our religious obligation to a full fledged action in the community. And by showing these stories to the media that, you know, this is what Muslims are really about. That's how we have been changing the narrative. And not just by doing that, we have to be present constantly on all the other issues that are happening around the city, whether it is indigenous issues, or environmental issues, or even LGBTQ issues. If we are not there in the table talking and being part of the discussion, then others of those people will come to your site to defend you,
right. So you have to be always present in everything. You know, whether it's the loudest thing the
very idea of
environmentalism, Aboriginals tell him that, you know, Water is life, they can see what's happening in Dakota right now. We have to be as Muslims in all those places. And that's the only way we can actually have outsiders.
come to you and your defenses were thinking, thank you so much. I'll go to you next, I'm just gonna quickly comment on what Simon was saying. So in terms of point number two, in terms of Simon called, almost manipulating the media, I actually liked that term, that is very important that relationships be built, you know, one of the spokespersons of Muslims in Canada, Dr. shahina, sidiki, she shared a very similar sentiment, I was on a panel with her a couple of months back. And she said that, anytime there is an issue on the Muslim community, the media national contacts her. And I was like, how did you get to that face? And she was like, by making myself available, right? That anytime they
called out respond to them, and now when I knew is still out there, I call them up. And they're actually willing to report that story, because it comes with a give and take relationship. The third thing that Simon mentioned is in terms of standing up for all causes. For those of you that attended our discussion on should Muslims be interviewing with playboy. This is something that we discussed that night, that as Muslims, we need to understand our boundaries of cooperation. And I was saying that as Muslims, we have to stand up for anti discrimination against everyone, right, regardless of orientation, ethnicity, religion, we have to take that stance in order for our rights to be
dissented. We have to take that stance, but at the same time, we should not be compromising our morality, we stand up for the rights, as you know, practicing Muslims that are that have our code of morality, and we stick to it. So these are very valid points for sharing that. Sister talks. Go ahead.
Just a couple of comments, and then I do have a question at the end that I really want you to answer. Sure. The first is an announcement. The details hasn't come out yet. But on January 19. inshallah, the Knox United Church downtown, Tariq Ramadan is coming. And the Canadian justice for peace in the Middle East is actually sponsoring him on a cross Canada tour, to speak about Islamophobia. So I believe the topic is Islamophobia, race, and peace and it's quite complicated. And we're hoping inshallah to be able to get about 1000 people feel to fill the church. And
relating to that, one of the reactions we got, as a Muslim organization, partnering with the cgmp is a lawyer doing it in a church. All right. And my first answer to that was, first of all, it's the only place in the City of Calgary that can accommodate at least 1000 people. And second of all, who gives a crap if we're doing it in a church, excuse my language, I know, minimal Salah. But if we start victimizing ourselves as Muslims, why do we care the venue of a lecture that's talking about the problems that we're facing as Muslims, right, but anyway, the details are coming, inshallah. So please get your $15 ready for that. And we don't want the police to be filled with only non Muslims.
We do want them some Muslims there. Of course. My second comment is just something that Eric said that actually triggered me in my workplace when we built our campus.
I went to the the architects and I said, We need a space for Muslims to pray, right? And they said, Well, if we provide a space for you, then we have to provide a space for all the other people and I asked him a question. I said, How many other faiths have an obligation five times a day to pray? Because for some of us that work long hours, we are literally playing praying fudger Asia in the office, right? And they said to me, Oh, actually, yeah, that's a good point. Nobody else has come to us. So I said, I think that right there is your answer, right? We need a space and we're hoping that we can influence
The way the space is built right now Hamdulillah, we're able to get that hunger. And we got the space and we got everything we wanted. We go the widow room, we got all that. But hamdulillah things are happening out there. I think we just need to explain to people the need for us. And like Simon said,
It is, it is part of our faith, and we need to make sure that we're not compromising our moral obligations. Now my third point, which is actually a personal experience on a question, I was framed Salah one time in a gym,
and one of the other volunteers walked in. And he saw me and he was shocked, because apparently he didn't know what Muslims are doing. Because this is in South America, right? And he called the cops. So here I am praying with two men, and the police officer who doesn't speak a word of English. And my Portuguese is not the greatest and he called the cops, right? My initial reaction was to pull the victim card. But then I thought this people actually ignorant of the things that we do as Muslims. Right, right. How do I educate them? What do I say to them?
He went on and on all you can't do this, and bla bla bla bla bla. So that brings me to my question is how, as Muslims, when we have things like that happen to us, how do we react? Because it's either we fight or flight, right? When we fight, then we're a terrorist. When we fly, then we're lazy. So what do we do? And what does the signal teach us about the things that are happening to us as Muslims? And what do we do to that? Excellent question. So let me start off by addressing point number one. So the event that you're talking about, can you actually privately, email me, and let me know how myself as an individual can invoke get involved in that event, and then I can see if I can
get other organizations involved, as well. And we will try to bring as many Muslims as we can to that event. And it's very sad that Muslims are condemning this event, because it's at a church, that shouldn't be happening. In fact, we should be happy that our Christian counterparts are willing to accommodate this event. So thank you for bringing that to our attention. Number two,
in terms of prayer spaces, that is a big issue everywhere. And one of the projects that I'm working on that I'm calling the community to get involved on is that if you look at the market mall, and costs are involved,
there's lots of Muslims that actually go there, like visible Muslims that are actually there. Yet, in terms of official price spaces, there is none actually there with market more, we spoke to the to the administration, and they're like, yeah, there's a space in front of the security guards office that's empty, no one barely goes there, you guys can pray over there. But at the end of the day, it's still like a hallway, it's not like a separate room. And then across our Mills, they completely shuts down. They're like, we have no space altogether. So one of the things I would like to see is that if someone can take the initiative of running this project, that we want to try to get a PR
space. And what Sr toks mentioned is a very valuable point that will look for equity and not equality. Equality means that we create a press space for all faiths, right. And because prayer is important in an office, but in reality, we don't see other faith members actually coming to those spaces. That is the reality. So the equity parties, most of you must have seen that picture of a father, a son, and like a little child attending a baseball game, equality would necessitate that the each got one box to be able to see the baseball game. But equity necessitates that the youngest child got two boxes, the middle child got one and the father got none, because he could already
naturally see it. So same thing when we're looking for spaces. That's what you need to try to push that, yes, it should be a predominantly Muslim prayer space, because Muslims are the ones that pray five times a day. But we're open to the idea of sharing that prayer space with others. And that's something we should actively be engaging. Now, the third and last question,
that's, like literally a talk with and of itself, talking about how Islamophobia did take place during the time of the Prophet sallallahu. It was set up in medium in many formats, and how the apostle Salaam countered it. Now, this scenario has been put forward that if you fight, you're a terrorist, and if you fight, you're, you're being too passive. I always believe there's a middle ground. And there, there's always a time and place to educate. So in this sort of situation, where the cops are called, and there's a language barrier, I don't think it makes sense to try to educate and book in English, because sometimes you will do more damage and you're actually doing good. But
in the long run, I would say, try to get someone's email address and say, Hey, here's a whole bunch of literature on Islam in Portuguese, and that sort of situation. That's what I think might have been the ideal case scenario. But
in my discussion, what I want to push the most is education and lobbying. And I think that is the proactive approach that in this day and age needs to take place. Right? demonstrations are great writing to media is great writing to your government representatives is great, and there are multiple steps that can be taken, but at the height of confrontation
People don't want to learn. And the only thing they know at that time is fight. So I think at that time, it's not best dressed people let people cool down, there is a good opportunity to educate. And in terms of flight, the only time you want to flight from a situation is if there's danger. If there's danger involved, you don't have to stand up for your rights, call the police at that time, let them know what's happening, and let them take care of it. And the time to educate will come later on date. It's a very simplistic answer. But I would like to thank you for your question. inshallah, that inspires us for another great discussion with the community, analyzing how the
foster system addressed a sama phobia, and one of the steps that he took in countering it. So just for that, I want to thank all of you for attending tonight, it was a phenomenal discussion, definitely a lot to learn.
Just so that, you know, I have a list of resources that I got from nccn, I'm going to leave them over here, you guys can come and take a picture of it, if you like, actually really prankster, it'll be over here. You guys can come and take a picture of it. If you like. For the sisters, just email me and I'll send you the resources by email. My email address is nav ai [email protected] and a va [email protected] Simply for the bonus you want them emailed to you just email me and I'll send you these resources. Again, just for attending tonight, it was great to see all of you and for your positive feedback. And I'm always looking for more ideas for community discussion. So we've had two so far,
one Western Muslim has been interviewing with playboy, this one was on this nomophobia.
A third one that's going to be coming up is on how to interact with homosexuality within the context of Islam and dealing with homosexual community members. That's going to be coming up in a couple of weeks time or a couple of months, possibly, but in the meantime, any ideas that you have that you think will be good community discussion, and you have something to say about please email me and Shawn, I'd love to incorporate those ideas will conclude with that particular homopolymeric shadow Layla and istockphoto kawakubo