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Symposium of Canadian Black Muslims Opens Friday

Symposium of Canadian Black Muslims Opens Friday

Canadian Black Muslims will have a promising opportunity on April 5 to share life experiences as well as enhance partnerships, collaboration, and networks to the benefit of their community.

This is coming through the Symposium of ‘Black Muslims in Canada’ which will be held by the Black Muslim Initiative (BMI), Muslim Link reports.

BMI is a grassroots project that aims to tackle issues at the intersection of Black and Muslim life in Canada. It will host the symposium in Toronto in partnership with the Islamic Institute of Toronto (IIT) and the Tessellate Institute.

The conference has also been made possible with the support of the Olive Tree Foundation, the University of Toronto’s Emmanuel College, and the Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law.

The symposium is intended to bring together academics, researchers, policymakers, spiritual leaders and community members to engage in a full-day discussion on a broad set of themes relating to Canadian Black Muslims.

Keynote speakers include Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Ahmed Hussen and Member of Provincial Parliament Faisal Hassan. The event’s themes include history, identity, health, law, community-based organizing, religion, and politics.

The speakers will discuss topics like Black Muslim narratives and the Canadian experience, Islamic scholarship and the North American context.

Guest Speakers

Aisha Farah is one of the symposium’s guests where she’ll speak about her experience as a Canadian African poet who writes and shares sights relating to daily life struggles, Islamophobic terrorism, racial discrimination, and misconceptions.

Another speaker will be Fatimah Jackson-Best, a public health researcher who specializes in mental health and whose work focuses on communities in Canada and the Caribbean. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and conducted her dissertation research on Black women’s experiences of maternal depression in Barbados.

Dubbed the “voice of a generation,” Boonaa Mohammed is one of the guests who’s a critically acclaimed award-winning writer and performer with accolades including a playwright residency at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Muslim women check their cell phones outside Concordia University in Montreal (Graham Hughes/CP)

Abdalla Idris Ali will also have a speech during the event. He served as imam and director, and founded the first full-time Islamic school in Toronto, Canada. He served as the principal of ISNA Islamic Community School for 17 years.

Research on Black Muslims in Canada is limited and does little to illuminate the diverse communities Black Muslims are a part of.

According to Dr. Fatimah Jackson-Best, working with the Tessellate Institute in partnership with the Black Muslim Initiative, “Black Muslims have a long history in Canada”, making up 9% of the total national Muslim population.

The total Muslim population make up 3.2% of the total Canadian population, according to the 2011 National Household Study by Statistics Canada.

Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.

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