Contributed Stories And Artwork From Across Canada
Where Are You Originally From?
...after the initial greeting, the first question which I was asked was, “Where are you from?” - this question caught me off guard, and being taken aback I stumbled over my response, finally saying “I am Canadian, I suppose from Calgary” since I live in a town just outside of there. This answer apparently was not satisfactory, because he then asked me “Where are you ORIGINALLY from?”

-- Saima Jamal, Calgary AB
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The Helpers
...on January 29th 2017, as the news of the mass shooting at the Quebec City Mosque sent tremors across the country, I received an email from a dear great aunt in Toronto. From the perspective of a lifetime of service and as a witness of her Anglican faith she said, ‘Look for the helpers.’ I wasn’t sure what she meant. Who were the helpers of the struggling Muslim community here in Quebec?

-- Munirah Maclean, Dorval QC
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Drawing by Noor Siddiquie
This is a drawing created by Noor Siddiquie, age 10, of Toronto ON

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Seeking The Path To Peace
...while we of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at understand that those we consider to be compatriots in the Muslim community do not always view us in the same way, we ask that they (and others in different faith communities across Canada) support our right to the fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, just as we support their rights under the same Charter.

-- Amtul Ahmad, Mississauga ON
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12 Hours Old
...what am I doing down here? I wonder, my nose and forehead pressed to the floor as I kneel in prayer. My kneecaps ache, my arm muscles strain as I try to keep the pressure off my forehead. I listen to strange utterings of the person praying next to me. It’s Arabic, and they understand what they are saying, even if I don’t. So. I make up my own words, hoping God will be kind to me, a Muslim only 12 hours old.

-- Katherine Bullock, PhD
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I Hold My Head Up And Keep Doing What I'm Doing
...although at times it feels as if I’m just a number and not making a difference, or feeling defeated, I know my very existence at the school at some minute level makes a difference.

-- R. A., Toronto ON
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Isolated In The Present, Worried About The Future
...in recent years, as lies and unbalanced coverage of Muslims in the media are a regular occurrence, I have been afraid to go out of my home. When I am forced to leave, I walk with my head down and avoid eye contact with people, I developed this fear due to the fact that everyone whom I had made eye contact with in the past would quickly look away and some would even put their nose in the air and puff their faces out of disgust at seeing me.

-- Y. A. R., Toronto ON
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The Cloak
...with an acrylic medium and dollar store paint brushes, I hoped to illustrate the fear I felt when I hear actions of hate crime in Canada and the world. My identity is not restrained to only one religion or culture and can be represented by the cloak above the woman’s figure. This figure is me, but can be you, or anyone in your life.

-- Saira Gokal, Ottawa ON
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Free Hugs
...when my daughter Elizabeth (then 5) got off her school bus around 3pm, we wrote "FREE HUGS" on a large piece of cardboard and went to the local mosque for the first time. To say I was nervous was an understatement - I had never been to a mosque before in my life, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was also very concerned that, since this was less than 24 hours after the shootings in Quebec City had happened, that I might scare people by my sudden first-time appearance there.

-- Ryan Slobojan, Pickering ON, Founder of Push Back The Darkness
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Drawings by Elizabeth Slobojan
These are drawings created by Elizabeth Slobojan, age 7, of Pickering ON

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