The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada––Dialogue, Discussion and Book Launch

March 03, 2016

Mohamed Abualy Alibhai, Nurjehan Aziz, Ameen Merchant, & Zool Suleman

Thursday, March 3, 7:00PM–9:00PM, Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.

Co-presented by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU Centre for Dialogue, The Vancouver Observer, Mawenzi House, and MARU

Doors open at 6:30. Event is FREE but registration is required.

Join Mawenzi House publishers (Toronto, Canada) as they launch in Vancouver their new publication The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada: Culture, Politics and Self. This collection of essays examines, from different perspectives, what it means to be a Muslim in Canada. Is it a public identity, and as an identity is it compatible with a secular democracy such as Canada? What relation does it bear to historical, cultural, and ethnic identities? Is a total gnostic or an atheist a Muslim? Is a person who disavows being a Muslim still a Muslim? How do Muslims cope with anti-Muslim bigotry, especially when it goes “official”? What alterations in society and religious practice and what re-thinking of interpretation can one expect in its evolution? 

These vital questions of faith, culture, survival, and identity are addressed by prominent members of the Canadian cultural and intellectual community.

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Mohamed Abualy Alibhai (Vancouver/ Seattle) is an independent scholar and former editor of the quarterly journal “Islam in America”. He obtained a joint honours degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), and a master’s degree in geophysics from the Imperial College of Science and Technology (University of London, England). He studied at the graduate program in Islamic Studies at McGill University and obtained a doctorate in Islamic Philosophy from Harvard University. He was a faculty member of McGill University in the mid 1980-‘s. He has worked as a computer programmer and systems analyst.

Nurjehan Aziz (Toronto) is the publisher and director at Mawenzi House Publishers. She has edited the anthologies “Her Mother’s Ashes; Stories by South Asian Women in Canada and the United States, Vols. 1, 2 and 3; and co-edited, with Sanjay Talreja, the collection of essays, “Strangers in the Mirror: In and Out of the Mainstream of Culture in Canada.”

Ameen Merchant  (Vancouver) was born in Bombay and raised in Madras, India. In 1989 he came to Canada for graduate work in English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of British Columbia. His work has been published in journals and collections of writing. His debut novel “The Silent Raga” (Douglas & McIntyre) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, 2008. He is currently working on his next novel. 

Zool Suleman ((Vancouver) is a writer, policy consultant, and lawyer. He was one of the founders and editors of “Rungh Magazine, A South Asian Quarterly of Culture Comment and Criticism” from 1990-1997. He is also the Director of MARU which explores the intersections between migration, art and race. He has been the Chair, Co-Chair and Member of the Mayor’s Working Group on Immigration (MWGI) for the City of Vancouver for Mayor Campbell, Mayor Sullivan and Mayor Robertson (2005 – ongoing).

Safia Fazlul was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and raised in Oslo, Norway. When she was ten she moved to Toronto with her family and had difficulties adhering to traditional Muslim and Bangladeshi values while trying simultaneously to become a “Canadian”. She studied history and sociology at the University of Toronto, during which period she began writing her novel, “The Harem”. Safia currently works in the financial industry and is also writing her second novel.