How foreign are you?
Have you ever had that uncanny feeling that you have already been in a completely unfamiliar place? Or, in the midst of quite an ordinary situation, the order of events (or maybe the people) make you do the double take of déjà vu?
Today’s political climate, the heightened media rhetoric, volleying around the word “terrorism” in every second news item is reminiscent of the months and years after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Unfortunately the past year has seen an appalling increase in crimes against the traditions and teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by extremists of all sorts.
The vast majority of Canadian Muslims are left scratching their heads feeling guilt by association. But what Muslims in Canada may be guilty of is not reaching out enough. Too many of us live lives too isolated from this country that we love, and in whose values we cherish.
One effort of a Muslim community in Western Canada is called, “A New Life in a New Land: The Muslim Experience in Canada.” This three part documentary series reaches out broadly to explain Muslim religious beliefs, cultures, and contributions to Canada. You can view the documentary series on a fun and inviting website.
The site is unique and does its best to present Islam in a way that is accessible to all Canadians. No religious rhetoric — just simple, easy to understand explanations to frequently-asked questions by the average Canadian.
The site and the documentary series can be a great aid to Muslim communities in reaching out to the public. For example, if you are having an open house at your masjid, you can play the documentaries — or maybe a new teacher is starting at your Islamic school but has little knowledge of Muslims, you can direct them to the site.
A New Life in a New Land was produced and directed by a husband and wife convert couple Flordeliza Dayrit and Michael Milo. Both work in media as a career. Saira Rahman of Snow Angel Films wrote the series and educational resources. The host is Dawud Wharnsby – the famous nasheed artist and entertainer extraordinaire.
The series has been broadcasted on Vision TV, among other broadcasts in Canada, and even internationally. Funding for the project has come from Canadian Heritage and other federal and provincial agencies. The University of Saskatchewan was also involved in the production of the series. The Al-Rashid Mosque in Edmonton provided funding for the website.
The New Life in a New Land team is hoping Muslim communities across Canada participate in the project through supporting the development of additional educational resources for the website.
Let’s spread some good news for a change – share the site with friends and family and help engage in a more meaningful and positive dialogue on the topic of Canadian Muslims.