Integration is a two-way street, says Moghissi

In its coverage of a survey on Muslims in Canada, CBC’s “The National” spoke with Haideh Moghissi, professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, who studies the integration of Muslims in Canada and Western Europe. Below is a sample of her comments Feb. 13 on the Environics/CBC survey while speaking to anchor Peter Mansbridge:

  • "If we take integration or blending in as a two-way process on the part of Muslims, it requires accommodation and adjustment to certain social norms such as, for example, the principle of gender equity. On the part of the larger society, they should also look at themselves and see that they should overcome the fear of difference generally, and be prepared to accept that their way is not always the best way or the only way."
  • "Many people who come from majority Muslim countries see the foreign policies of western societies as the continuation of the colonial policies of the past, and the way the Muslim societies are being arrogantly treated, the sense of superiority that goes with these policies in terms of taking democracy, respect for human rights, and tolerance to Muslim majority countries. So it causes resentment among the people who come from Muslim majority countries."
  • "Muslims really want to be part of this society, and it is up to the general public, the society, to also look at them as such and not as, you know, specific groups that need specific kind of treatment."

Welcome back to the mat

Niki Voskakis knows she continues to make a difference, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 14. A fourth-year student at York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, the 22-year- old honours student has had a passion for wrestling since her days of slamming bodies on the mat at Father Bressani Catholic High School in Woodbridge. During her high school career, she won three York Region championships in the 51-kilo (112-pound) weight class, was twice selected MVP and was named athlete of the year. When she graduated, however, there was still something missing. She had never won a medal at the provincial level. So Voskakis went back to high school three years ago, this time to coach.

Selling fertilizer a long way from Bay

At Practical Action, the nongovernmental organization in Nakuru, Kenya, where I am working, my boss and I eagerly await the arrival of a report from the Ministry of Agriculture’s district officer, wrote York alumnus Jacob Kojfman (LLB/MBA ’03) in Kenyan Sabbatical, his ongoing column for the National Post Feb. 14. February is a big month for the organic fertilizer industry, which I am helping to set up a marketing plan. March is the start of the long rains, which is the time when farmers begin planting, and when they are most likely to use fertilizer. So it is do-or-die time for the organic fertilizer sellers. If the farmers can use the product this planting season, even on a trial basis, and if the NGO carries out my recommendations, the results may actually be those intended. Otherwise, another year will pass before the farmers can try it.

Kojfman, as the Post notes at the end of each column, has an LLB/MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School.

McMurtry was equally passionate about law, arts, sports

William (Bill) Rashleigh McMurtry (LLB ’60), a partner with the Toronto law firm Blaney McMurtry whose passion for social justice, aiding the arts and commitment to Canadian sport made him a relentless supporter of the underdog, died Feb. 12 in Toronto, wrote the National Post Feb. 14 . He was 72. McMurtry had fought a two year battle with lung cancer. "I think he would want to be remembered for his passion. He was passionate about his beliefs and his various causes," said his older brother and chief justice of Ontario, Osgoode alumnus Roy McMurtry (LLB ’58).

Bill McMurtry was the second of four sons. He was raised in the Toronto neighbourhood of Forest Hill, attended Upper Canada College, Royal Military College and Osgoode Hall Law School. He is survived by his partner, Carolyn Vesely, son, Tom, daughter, Tara, daughter-in-law, Bernadette, granddaughter, Madeline, and brothers and "best friends" Roy, John and Bob.

Osgoode graduate was known as the father of Ontario family law

Abraham Herman Lieff (LLB ’26), often called the father of family law in Ontario, died at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Monday, three weeks shy of his 104th birthday, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 14. He was born in Antopol, Poland, in 1903, immigrated to Canada when he was a year old, and settled with his mother and father in Ottawa. He graduated from Osgoode Hall law school in 1926 and practised law in Ottawa, specializing in taking divorce petitions to the Senate in the days when dissolving a marriage required a special act of Parliament, and then in Toronto.

In 1963, he was the first Jewish judge appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario. He was a pioneer in the use of pretrial conferences outside the courtroom to try to mediate disputes about child custody, spousal support and other contentious issues connected with divorce, a process that has since been adopted by most of the province’s family courts.

On air

  • Tarek Hamam, a member of the Arab Law Students Association at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, took part in a panel discussion on the Middle East on CTS-TV’s “Michael Coren Live” Feb. 13.