Canadian Muslims share a sense of grievance, says Moghissi

There are nearly 600,000 Canadians who call themselves Muslims, wrote the Times Colonist (Victoria) Aug. 30. Many don’t share a common history, language or ethnicity. To lump them in a single group is crude and simplistic. Nonetheless, these nominal Muslims are bonding over a shared sense of grievance. According to Haideh Moghissi, a sociology professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies who’s in the middle of a groundbreaking study of Islamic-Canadian culture, an identity sharpened by insecurity and resentment is on the rise.

As Moghissi has discovered, the retreat to Islam is often less an expression of spiritual devotion or cultural nostalgia and more a reaction to hostilities – real and perceived – in this country, said the Times Colonist. Particularly after 9/11, a majority of the 2,100 Muslims living in Toronto and Montreal who responded to a survey by Moghissi reported feelings of humiliation. They were particularly angry at being watched disapprovingly or suspiciously, even if they hadn’t done anything wrong.

“Many of them said, ‘Before Sept. 11, I would never have identified myself as a Muslim. But now I see that people are pushing it on us. And if I see that they are attacking Islam, I defend it, not because I’m a believer but simply because I think it’s unfair’,” Moghissi said.

Moghissi started her research six years ago, not long after publishing a book called Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism. By chance, she proposed the project a year before 9/11 and got federal funding shortly after. Because she is one of the few Canadian academics who is trying to spark a national conversation about the roots of Islamic extremism, the RCMP has been interested in her research, said the Times Colonist.

Fine arts student balances school with her job as a barista

For many students, juggling school and work is an everyday reality. As another school year looms, they’re reminded to be organized and take time to nurture their interests outside the classroom and workplace, wrote The Toronto Sun Aug. 30. Alana Janes, a fourth-year student in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, works as a barista at Starbucks. “It is a bit stressful, but I’ve talked to my boss about needing to have two days off so I’m not going to school or work. Those are my days to get caught up on reading and get homework done, without having to be somewhere at a certain time.”

Being open with your boss is important. “Once in a while you get a really big project and need time off. My boss is more than willing to juggle the schedule,” said Janes. Developing a good rapport with co-workers is also helpful, particularly if you’re responsible for finding someone to cover shifts. For Janes, knowing she’s got to balance school and work means little time for procrastinating. “I’ve never given work as an excuse for not getting school work done. Sometimes, I’ve handed assignments in early if I knew I was going to miss class because of work.”

Subway-car deal shows politics as usual will keep on rolling

None of the three governments responsible for funding the Toronto Transit Commission’s latest acquisition of subway cars is going to upset the sole-source deal recently negotiated with local supplier Bombardier Transportation, wrote columnist John Barber in The Globe and Mail Aug. 30. Whether or not those governments actually intend to pay their share of the $700-million contract is another story. Neither provincial nor federal funding is yet secure. You’d think that the province was good for its one-third share. It would be hard to renege on the cost of trains so soon after announcing construction of the “Sorbara Express” – an extension of the Spadina line past York University to Vaughan. The city also did the province a considerable favour by taking all the flak for the sole-source contract with Bombardier.

On air

  • Alan Young, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about a decision to keep the 21-year-old charged with shooting murder victim Jane Criba behind bars pending trial, on CBC Radio (Kingston and Toronto) Aug. 29.

  • The Certificate Course in Arts Education offered by York’s Faculties of Education and Fine Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, was discussed on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” program Aug. 29.

  • Gordon Roberts, financial services professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about Canadian banks’ latest profit statements on CBC Radio Aug. 29.

  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about why Toronto did not make a list of tourist spots in North America, on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” program Aug. 29.