Thursday 24 January 2019

Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries: Canada

Islam in Canada has not been very old, something like 150 years since. Although the first Muslims recorded were immigrants, they were not from a traditionally Muslim country. Agnes and James Love were of Scottish origin. James Jr., born in 1854, was the first Muslim born in Ontario. John and Martha Simon, another Muslim couple, migrated to Canada from the United States around 1871. The first Canada Census in 1871 recorded the presence of 13 Muslims. The Muslim population grew since specially after the influx of immigrants after the Second World War raised the number to 33 370 by 1971. 

The majority of immigrants have been highly educated, westernized professionals. They were mostly from Lebanon, Syria, Indonesia, Morocco, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq and the Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi subcontinent. From 1966 to 1970, thousands of unskilled labourers of Indo-Pakistani background immigrated to escape discrimination in East Africa and Britain. More recently, Muslim immigrants have included unskilled workers from southern Lebanon, Somalia and the Balkans fleeing their war-torn countries, as well as political refugees from Iran and Afghanistan. [1]

According to Canada's 2011 National Household Survey, there were 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada, or about 3.2% of the population, making Islam the second largest religion in the country after Christianity. Currently, every province and territory has a notable Muslim community, with the largest existing in Toronto with over 250,000 Muslims residing in the city and over 20 mosques.[2]

The life as Muslim is as challenging in Canada as any other European country. While men generally get merged with the surrounding people, Muslim women wearing Hijab are singled out and have to bear the brunt of anti Islam sentiments: [5]
“There’s a constant tension for young Muslims — and particularly young Muslim girls — in trying to forge their own identities against the way they’re often represented,” says Jasmin Zine, a professor of sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., who studies Muslim youth in Canada. They may not remember 9/11, but they've spent their lives in its specter, she says, aware that a simple decision to go play paint ball could track as terrorism-in-training. Those tensions are everywhere: Wear a hijab or don’t wear a hijab? Pray in the hallways of school or skip it to hang out with friends? Respond to an Islamophobic comment on line or remain silent? 
Fajar Khan, 15, says that when we have only girls around us, we are allowed to take off our hijab, and I've done that in the locker room many times. I've been told, “Wow, you have amazing long hair. Why don’t you take off that scarf?” I explain to them what the hijab means to me — it is my honour and my modesty — and how beautiful I feel with it on. I try to encourage my hijabi friends to play sports; I tell them it’s an amazing experience. It is harder to play with a hijab on, but it’s not that hard. 
Marium Vahed, 16, says: You see a lot of Islamophobia out there. Sometimes, as a young Muslim girl who is still trying to understand my own religion, I think, “How should I refute that?” Often I find myself being a bystander, because I don’t know how to respond with something that will actually persuade them, or I know from experience that whatever I say won’t persuade them. And I don’t want to put myself out there in a way that’s so public, especially in this world where everything you say can come back to bite you. 
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's positive view of Muslims and the challenges they are facing due to backlash of anti Islam sentiments around the world with its fallout on Canadian people and supports Muslims, saying: Muslim Canadians contribute enormously to the country. That creates a different example of what’s acceptable. Recently I shared a post in which Justin Trudeau is seen convincing an anti Immigrant Canadian how immigrants have been useful to Canada and how the Canadian must accommodate them despite all negativeness about immigrants. [5]

Muslims are a very useful part of Canada and are always moving forward to carry the positive image of Islam. Many mosques participate in the Doors Open event, inviting other Canadians To 'Visit My Mosque' And Ask Them Anything. These events event aim to dispel misconceptions, foster an appreciation of the Muslim faith in Canada, and celebrate the philanthropy of the Canadian-Muslim community throughout the year.

Author's Note: The data above has been collected from the references as given below. IF any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing. "We have nothing to hide," Shafiq Ebrahim, vice-president of Jaffari Islamic Centre in Thornhill, Ont., told HuffPost Canada by phone. "We aren't a secret society or mysterious in any way. We're law-abiding people who pay taxes and love our neighbourhood and want to build genuine relationships here." [4]

Joel Harden, an NDP MPP for Ottawa Centre who toured the Ottawa Mosque, left some encouraging remarks on Twitter: Took my daughter for a visit with Ahmed, Fatma, Leen and Salma at the Ottawa Mosque for #VisitMyMosque day. I am so proud these folks are our neighbours. In the #ottstorm the @OMA_Mosque and other Ottawa Muslim groups fed over 5000 people. @canadianmv #OttawaCentre.

How is it being a Muslim in Canada and the challenges they face that accrue out of the notion Islamophobia, watch the video below:

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3  | 4 | 5 | 6 |
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