On Wednesday, members of the Ahmaddiya Muslim Jama’at (AMJ) launched #jesuishijabi, one of many interfaith initiatives taking place across the country to help build bridges with Canadians of all backgrounds, and dispel stereotypes about Muslims — Muslim women in particular — that continue to exist.
Hena Malik, spokeswoman for the AMJ and a human resources professional, said the community launched the #jesuishijabi campaign — mostly carried out on Twitter so far — to “remove misconceptions that exist around Muslim women’s identity . . . and allow Muslim women to respond to the violence they are facing.”
“The goal of the campaign is to open dialogue with the broader community” and create positive momentum after everything that has happened, said the 32-year-old.
The initiative hopes to give the public an opportunity to hear from Muslim women and understand what their faith and identity means to them.
Aisha Khaja, 26, is the host of the talk show “Let the Qur’an Speak” and is involved in the interfaith event “My Community is United: Standing Together With Our Neighbours” taking place Dec. 5 at the Dawah Centre in Toronto.
“The event was initiated by a Christian leader, who reached out to us after the violence against Muslim women, and said we want to do something, let’s do it together,” she said. “The goal . . . is to show that we are unified against hate and violence, whether it’s happening here or somewhere else.”
Maliha Shahid, 28, is a member of the AMJ, a writer, and a diversity and inclusion educator.
“I found it heartwarming to see how Canadian’s have come together in response to the few acts of hatred,” said Shahid, who says in addition to the #jesuishijabi social media campaign, there are workshops planned.
“The reason why this all came out is because there is a need for us to create positive stories and images of Muslims in the media,” said Khan, who launched the blog in November. “It gives people an opportunity to normalize and show that Muslims are just like everybody else,” she said.
Samra Zafar, 33, is a commercial account manager and founder of Brave Beginnings, an organization that helps women rebuild their lives after abuse. She recently shared herpersonal story on the blog Love, Laugh and Live.
“It’s very important to have initiatives that break the image that has been created about Muslims as a result of these tragic events and subsequent media coverage,” she said.
“We may have different religions and cultures, but at the end of the day we are all humans.”
(Courtesy Toronto Star)