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A Reflection on Islamic History Month in 2023

Across Canada, October marks Islamic History Month, providing us with a welcome opportunity to acknowledge, honour, and celebrate the achievements of Muslims and their rich contributions to the very fabric of Canada. October also serves as a much-needed period of reflection on the ongoing and coordinated campaigns of Islamophobic rhetoric and misinformation. There is a duality of wanting to simultaneously celebrate while educating; nuanced reflection is wholly necessary.

Statistics Canada reports that, over the past two decades, the proportion of the Canadian population who reported being Muslim has doubled; this indicates a pressing need to more consciously weave ideas, culture, and practices into the foundation of our society. We are optimistic that working together and actively embracing an exciting and diverse future will benefit us all; respect, reciprocity, and resources tend to beget more equitable outcomes for all.

Close to home we see hate crimes and divisive attitudes rage on; Islamophobia in Canada is growing. It is more imperative than ever that folks be steadfast and strong in their opposition of bigotry and violence. We would argue that education and humility are the foundational starting points for combatting homegrown hate; awareness is indeed a wonderful way to resist division.

For example, IHMC has chosen the theme of Celebrating Muslim Women in the Arts & Sciences to commemorate the month; consulting digital resources such as the IHMC website can be an eye-opening way to observe Islamic History Month. Moreover, we encourage you to listen and learn from those in your life who are willing to share.

We would personally love to spotlight Amira Elghawaby, Canada's Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia, and some of the fantastic and vital work she is doing to advance matters of safety, equity, inclusion, and human rights. Her extensive advocacy for those who may otherwise not have a voice in the conversation is beyond admirable. Moreover, her prior work as a journalist and media commentator is ongoing evidence of her willingness to be a strong voice for justice and harmony. We are proud to know that she is working every day to advance efforts in the fight against Islamophobia, racism, discriminatory practices, and religious prejudice. Having someone as steadfast, compassionate, and fiercely intelligent as Amira, engaging in the necessary conversations with governmental bodies and the public, is a triumph for everyone living in this country. We would invite you to watch this brief video, to hear from Amira herself this Islamic History Month, or to watch her Tedx Talk concerning Multiculturalism in Canada.

The foundation of Islam is peace, unity, and respect. We are beyond proud of our Muslim neighbours, friends, and colleagues, not only for their innumerable contributions but for their continuing courage in the face of intolerance. We commit to doing our part to uplift and amplify your voices.

Happy Islamic History Month.

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1 Comment

Nov 05, 2023

Hey Amanda.

Excellent blog! In light of current world events, it's hard to be supportive of our Muslim sisters and brothers without being shouted down. Kudos to you for reminding us of the value that the Muslim community brings to us all, as well as some of the challenges they face from unkind Canadians.

Stephan Borau

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