The Globe and Mail – August 6, 2012
For over two weeks, hundreds of thousands of Muslim Canadians across the country have been observing Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During the holy month, Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures in daylight hours to commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an to Mohammed. With Ramadan falling this year in the dead of summer, extended daylight means that Muslims are fasting longer than in previous years – up to 18 hours a day in some parts of the country. In order to get in a morning breakfast before dawn breaks, many wake up before 4 a.m. to eat. With prayers going until midnight, the days are long.
With nearly two weeks left of Ramadan, The Globe and Mail spoke to five Muslim Canadians about what it’s like to fast on the job, and what it is they each take from the experience of going from dawn to dusk with no food for 30 days.
News Agencies – January 27, 2011
The Muslim population of Canada will nearly triple over the next 20 years, according to a new study of global demographic trends focusing on the faith. The number of Canadians who identify themselves as Muslim will reach 2.7 million by 2030, up from approximately 940,000 today, and will make up 6.6 per cent of the total population.
The projections were released Thursday by the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life, the first in a series of population projections of major world religions.
Around the world, the Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 per cent, rising to 2.2 billion by 2030 and increasing at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population.
Wahida Valiante, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said she is concerned that the numbers will be used by some to stoke the flames of anti-Islamic rhetoric.
Before this study, which relies on census data and other national demographic records from more than 1,500 sources worldwide, there was no reliable global population data for the Muslim faith.
In Canada, Muslims are expected to make up 6.6 per cent of the total population in 2030, up from 2.8 per cent today. In the United States, the Muslim share of the population will rise to 1.7 per cent in 2030 from 0.8 per cent in 2010. The sudden growth is partly explained by a higher fertility rate among Muslim Canadians, and the large percentage who are approaching their child-bearing years.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has conferred honorary Canadian citizenship on the Aga Khan, making the billionaire spiritual leader to 15 million Ismaili Muslim followers worldwide only the fifth person to be so honored. Aga Khan lives in France.
The Prime Minister and the Aga Khan met for a foundation ceremony for a cultural centre, museum and park to built on the site by 2013. The Aga Khan expressed his hope that the cultural edifice, particularly the collection of artifacts from Islamic history, would serve as a beacon for his sect’s moderate take on Islam and its “search for knowledge and beauty.” Ismaili Muslim Canadians include Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed and Senator Mobina Jaffer.
Five times a day, Umair Vanthaliwala’s iPhone calls him to prayer. With a flick of a finger, the iPhone’s compass points him northeast toward Mecca.
With more than 100,000 applications for iPhone and the iPod touch now available through the Apple App Store and many more to come, it’s clear that Vanthaliwala and his sleek black phone are the future. “Before, a phone was just for calling purposes,” says Vanthaliwala, a product developer at Bell Canada who once developed his own app called iCarLibrary. “Now, I’m using a phone for everything.”
The sub-headline of a recent Ottawa Citizen feature report about Muslims in the capital city claimed: ‘Surrounded by suspicion and ambivalence, Ottawa Muslims wonder, When will we belong? And on whose terms?’The author suggests that all 30 or so of the Muslims who were interviewed asked some variation of the question “When will we belong?” — the premise being that they don’t belong yet. Canadian Muslim Tarek Fatah responds in the Globe and Mail highlighting the number of Muslim parliamentary representatives in the Ottawa region. Fatah concludes that, “I have been to Ottawa numerous times and have close interaction with Muslim Canadians. Never once have I heard them say that they felt victimized.”
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.