power-of-disability, Social Justice, Podcast

The Power of Disability Part 4 — with Rabia Khedr

May 13, 2021
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“The range of disabilities, of lived experience, needs to be reflected in the journey — at the table, making the decisions, leading the work.” — Rabia Khedr

Rabia Khedr, an activist, consultant, former Human Rights Commissioner and motivational speaker who ‘wears many hijabs,’ joins Al Etmanski for this Power of Disability conversation. They discuss Rabia’s advocacy and policy work within the disability community and the Muslim community; bringing a disability benefit, or basic income, to Canada; as well as the vital importance of having disabled folks driving systems of change.

Rabia speaks to the significance of having what she calls a ‘hyphenated identity,’ and how disability is just one facet of people’s varied and intersecting experiences and identities. She shares with Al how she is working with the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities to connect people to Disability Justice principles through spirituality and culture. She also sheds light on what she means when she says, “Being blind, I see things differently.”

About Our Guest


A former Commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Rabia is a founder of the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities, Executive Director of the Muslim Council of Peel and President of DEEN Support Services. 

Rabia has served on many boards and committees including the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council of Ontario, Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario, Ontario Women’s Health Network and Federation of Muslim Women. Currently, she serves on the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee which she has chaired for 8 years, the Peel Region Accessibility Advisory Committee, and the federal Disability Advisory Group. She is also co-chair of the Disability Without Poverty Initiative, a national movement to secure a Canada Disability benefit for disabled adults in Canada.

Through diversityworX, Rabia has provided training, research and consulting services on accessibility, equity and inclusion for a number of organizations including Health Nexus, ICICI Bank, Ontario Coalition of Agencies Serving Immigrants, the University of Guelph and York Region. Rabia has supported organizations in reviewing and developing policies and procedures that ensure a culture of human rights and accessibility including the implementation of policies and procedures on religious accommodation.

Rabia has presented at local and international conferences to raise awareness about disability issues, women’s rights and Islamophobia and has participated in a number of television broadcasts and documentaries. Rabia has been recognized for her leadership and community contributions and most notably, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.


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