Ontario liquor store sells alcohol to 14-year-old in burka, no questions asked

News Agencies – July 24, 2012

A 14-year-old boy was able to buy liquor at three LCBO [Liquor Control Board of Ontario] outlets without having to show identification. A stunt orchestrated by the Sun News Network has shed light on how easy it can be for minors to buy alcohol in the Greater Toronto Area — provided they dress the part. As the Toronto Sun reports, controversial broadcaster and writer David Menzies sent a 14-year-old boy clad in a full-length burka and face veil to buy liquor at three LCBOs north of the city.

His goal, he said, was to expose deficiencies in the province’s Liquor Licence Act, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 19, and to challenge their claims of social responsibility. The three unopened bottles, he said, were later taken from the teen after he left the store. Critics of the host’s undercover crackdown flipped the legal accountability finger back at Menzies, calling for his arrest over “coercing” a young boy to purchase alcohol and for “corrupting the morals of a minor.”

Greater Toronto Area to open first cemetery catering to all Muslims this summer

News Agencies – March 7, 2012

The province of Ontario has granted a license to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery
Corporation, allowing it to operate the site in Richmond Hill. The corporation says the
cemetery is a joint project between Sunni and Shia Muslim communities and will open in
June. The group plans to open the 14-hectare cemetery officially in June. It’s expected to
serve the needs of the estimated 300,000-strong Muslim community for at least 25 years.
He says the cemetery will be the first in the area which manages services according to
Muslim custom, operates on weekends and will have all graves correctly aligned toward
Mecca.

The 14-hectare land for the cemetery was bought for $6.8-million from a Jewish
company – Beth Olam Cemetery Corporation – which provided the Muslim corporation
with an interest-free mortgage. A Muslim cemetery to meet the needs of residents in
Ottawa and Gatineau, Que, is expected to open in June as well.

Canadian Muslim Students Enrolling in Catholic Schools

The Globe and Mail – September 6, 2011

At a time when progressive sex education and gay-rights clubs are becoming an increasing part of the secular curriculum, many devout families in Canada’s most populous province are looking for a faith-based approach to learning. In Ontario, however, the only publicly funded faith-based option is Catholic schools – and that’s just fine for some Muslim parents, even if it’s someone else’s faith.

Though at least one parent must be Catholic in order for a student to enroll in a Catholic elementary school, at the high-school level faith doesn’t matter as long as there’s room. Declining high school enrolment has meant that there often is room – about 10 per cent of the pupils attending Catholic boards in the Greater Toronto Area are non-Catholic. In the Catholic board, religious accommodation hasn’t ignited controversy like it has at the Toronto District School Board.

Young Canadian Muslim women describe how they are stereotyped

The Globe and Mail – July 3, 2011
This Globe and Mail article describes the experiences of young Canadian Muslims in the Greater Toronto Area and how they are often negatively seen in Canadian public space. High-profile stories, including the Toronto 18 terrorism bust, the murder of Mississauga teenager Aqsa Parvez by her father and brother, and tales of radical youth travelling overseas on jihadist missions, have left many non-Muslims with a skewed understanding of the religion – a faith whose diversity, especially within Canada, is immense, with differences across sect, ethnocultural or national origin, and levels of adherence. The article follows young people who stress that adhering closely to the Qur’anic tenets of the faith does not automatically lead to extremism.

Salon worker in the Greater Toronto Area claims she was fired for her headscarf

The Toronto Star – February 10, 2011

A young Markham, Ontario woman who works as an esthetician claims she was fired for wearing an Islamic headscarf because the salon “promotes hair.” Mehwish Ali, a 22-year-old esthetician was fired a day after she says the co-owner told her the hijab was unacceptable.
“I was devastated when I heard that,” Ali told the Star. “I have worn the hijab for more than 10 years and never felt any kind of discrimination.” The co-owner of the franchise near Highway 401 and Brock Rd, categorically denies that. “This is a performance issue, strictly a performance issue,” he said.
Ali disagrees and has turned to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for help.
She said she wore a headscarf for the interview, which was conducted by the store manager. A week later, Ali was hired and her job entailed doing facials, manicures, pedicures and waxing services. It had nothing to do with hair, she pointed out.

Shia-Sunni cemetery to open in the Greater Toronto Area in the fall

Toronto Star – January 31, 2011

A Shia-Sunni Muslim cemetery — the first of its kind in the GTA — is in the works in Richmond Hill, Ontario and could be operational by fall. The Shia and Sunni communities in the GTA bought the 14-hectare site at the southwest corner of Bethesda Sideroad and Leslie St., from Beth Olam Cemetery Corp., for $6.8 million, says Abdulhuq Ingar, who represents the Sunnis’ Islamic Society of Toronto.

The cemetery will cost about another $2 million in development and overhead costs, says Sabi Ahsan, a Shia Muslim who helped coordinate the deal, which he described as a “positive accomplishment” for the Shia and Sunni communities. The land had “become surplus” for the Beth Olam group, he says, which has other cemeteries. The Shia and Sunni Muslims will operate independently as part of the Toronto Muslim Cemetery Corp. and will share resources to minimize costs and maintain the property.

Most Muslims have been buried in sections of non-denominational cemeteries in the GTA, according to certain key requirements such as being buried within 24 hours of their death and having their body washed and buried in a shroud with their face turned toward Mecca. But because of traditional cemeteries’ operating hours, meeting some of those requirements has been problematic.

Eid al-Adha festival draws 12,000 in Toronto

An estimated 12,000 Muslims are expected at Exhibition Place to celebrate Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. “These celebrations are intended to be enjoyed as a community, families coming together,” said Ahmad Attia, event coordinator for the Eid Festival.

In September a similar event to commemorate the end of Ramadan attracted more than 14,000 people, he said.

Attia said a main goal was to make Friday’s event accessible, so admission is free. The day will begin with prayers and speeches and will finish with a carnival and bazaar.

Globe and Mail article chronicles “Sisters’ Prom Night” for Muslim Canadians

There was dancing, but no boys – in mixed company, young Muslim women cannot dance or wear revealing clothing. No one was sneaking in alcohol – drinking is strictly forbidden by Islam. And there was no prom Queen: Instead, every graduate wore a tiara. The “Sister’s Prom” has become an annual event among Toronto’s Muslim community, and is also a symbol of the balance that defines the lives of modern young women born and raised in Canada, faithful to Islam. They have ambitions to be doctors, engineers and community leaders, while embracing the rules placed upon them by their religion – no dating, for instance.

Experiences of Muslim Women in the Greater Toronto Area who Wear the “Hijab on the Job”

Most of the women in this article claim they have experienced few problems at work as a result of wearing the hijab in the workplace, except for the odd person assuming Muslim women are cloistered, uneducated and oppressed. In May of 2008 the Bouchard-Taylor Report similarly found that Muslim women in Quebec face discrimination in the job market for wearing the hijab and cited the case of a young woman who “saw her job applications rejected by 50 pharmacies before she was finally able to land a job with an Arab pharmacist.”

In a 2002 study, “No Hijab Is Permitted Here,” conducted by Women Working with Immigrant Women and funded by the Canadian Heritage-Multiculturalism Program and Status of Women Canada found that more than 90% of participants had an employer make reference to the hijab when applying for a job; more than 40% claim they were told they must remove the hijab if they wanted a job (sample size not given). Fadwa Benmbarek who works with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says getting a new job is often the toughest part.

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Link to “No Hijab Permitted Is Here” study availablehere

Experiences of Muslim Women in the Greater Toronto Area who Wear the Hijab on the Job

Most of the women in this article claim they have experienced few problems at work as a result of wearing the hijab in the workplace, except for the odd person assuming Muslim women are cloistered, uneducated and oppressed. In May of 2008 the Bouchard-Taylor Report similarly found that Muslim women in Quebec face discrimination in the job market for wearing the hijab and cited the case of a young woman who saw her job applications rejected by 50 pharmacies before she was finally able to land a job with an Arab pharmacist. In a 2002 study, No Hijab Is Permitted Here, conducted by Women Working with Immigrant Women and funded by the Canadian Heritage-Multiculturalism Program and Status of Women Canada found that more than 90% of participants had an employer make reference to the hijab when applying for a job; more than 40% claim they were told they must remove the hijab if they wanted a job (sample size not given). Fadwa Benmbarek who works with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says getting a new job is often the toughest part.