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Showing posts from February, 2013

Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones

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I was bullied for most of my educational career up to grade nine.

It was only when I started at a Catholic all-girls high school that it stopped. I can't tell you what a relief it was. Being able to go outside without worrying if a snowball laced with ice will hit you an inch away from your eye. Or that grade 9 boys won't decide to purposely push and shove you against the boot rack as everyone attempts to rush in from the cold back into class. Or that during French class, the kids sitting in front of you won't comment about your clothing style or hair cut. I could go on and on and on. In the UK, it was pretty much the same thing, but my barely noticeable darker skin colour (compared to fair Brits) was enough to be teased and for my brother to be beaten on. Being an introvert didn't help take any attention away from me, nor did talking to anyone about it. Especially not in those days where bullying wasn't seen as a big deal and we were taught to "ignore it&quo…

The Invasion of the Abaya

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It wasn't until I started working in the community and attending the odd prayer at the mosques that I noticed most women wearing long black garments called abayas. Long sleeved and baggy in style, sometimes with embroidery but most often not, these garments are donned by most women who enter the mosques in Calgary. Yet while the abaya is Arab in origin, it has started to seep onto women of other ethnic backgrounds, resulting in a muting of the vibrant and colourful cultural outfits that adorn Muslim women all around the world.

And this is what I consider the invasion of the abaya.

When I see or think about an abaya, it conjures up images of Saudi Arabia. Sure, it's modest in appearance, but it's demure black colour is not in the least Islamic and there are many other ways to guard ones "ornaments" from public view. Yet enter a mosque in Calgary to pray without an abaya and I guarantee that you'll get weird stares. The abaya has started to invade most other non-…

The Orphans of Calgary

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The Arabic word for orphan is yatîm. Generally, an orphaned child is confronted by poverty and has a weak position in society. A minor child in such a compromised set of circumstances possesses nothing, not even the knowledge of how to cope. A child does not have the experience and life skills to make it on his or her own.
It seems that, Muslim or non-Muslim, that we are very familiar with sending money overseas to help children in less fortunate circumstances than ourselves. Those in developing countries without parents; those with parents but without the means for food or shelter; and those who can't afford to go to school for many reasons. World Vision, Orphan Sponsorship Program, Compassion Canada, Childcare International...the list is endless. And while we continue to give and believe that we are doing all that we can, we are not. There's more and it's quite simple. Yet for either the reason of not being aware of childrens' needs in Calgary or not wanting to recogn…

Morocco's Lessons

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It's 11:00am in Rabat on Monday January 7th, 2013 and I'm sitting on the terrace of our riad (guesthouse) while Asif is napping after an interrupted sleep last night. I'm enjoying the direct heat from the sun up above and the plus 18 forecast with solely sunny skies. We just enjoyed the best Moroccan breakfast we have ever had, topped with homemade yogurt in cute glass jars and fruit to take with us for the day ahead. We have 2 final days in Rabat before heading back to the reality that awaits us and we intend to enjoy every last minute.

I have been humbled over the past two weeks with the people we've met and the experiences we've had. In order to preserve these memories and to also keep me sane when facing troubled times back home, I wanted to blog about them and hopefully give others an insight into the beauty of traveling with an open mind.

A Quartet of Quran Reciters

We arrived back at our riad around 9:30pm last night and while getting ready for bed, we heard…

42 Things to Consider before Saying "YES!"

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So you think that you've found your soulmate and that the deal is done?! While that InshaAllah may be the case, a relationship at ANY stage is worth examining in excruciating detail, especially if you've never really had to analyze it at that deep of a level.

Here's a list of questions/items we came up with for those who are on the path to marriage. They are not exclusively what you should be considering about your potential spouse, but we hope that it's a good starting point. We're obviously not experts and are speaking from our own experiences, but we thought we'd publish this entry to hopefully benefit others.

(NOTE: Even if you have already decided that she/he is the one, these questions should still be addressed!! Don't let "love" blind you.)

1. What do your deep instincts say about the other person? It's often right. And don't doubt your doubts (i.e. red flags)

2. Are you worried about finding a wife who is good cook?! Who cares how…