Osgoode prof reviews new book on Islam and democracy

Canadian political scientist Nader Hashemi’s book tackles the question [of religion and democracy in the Muslim world] in historical and comparative perspective and proposes fresh ideas on reconciling the tensions among Islam, secularism and liberal democracy, wrote Faisal Kutty, adjunct professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in a review of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies in The Globe and Mail July 9.

Hashemi’s relatively short work – a revised doctoral dissertation – argues boldly for a fundamental rethinking of the relationship that historian Alexis de Tocqueville presciently identified as problematic, wrote Kutty.

What is refreshing is Hashemi’s extensive appeal to historical examples and the work of leading Western thinkers to make the case. He provides convincing evidence that the appearance of “saints” and religious zealots during societal upheavals are historical and sociological facts. For instance, the 1534 bloody takeover by Anabaptists of the German town of Munster eerily echoes – in words and deeds – the Taliban and extremists at similar junctures in the Muslim world, wrote Kutty.

York prof designed fitness program for musicians

The Thornhill Chamber Music Institute began in 1991 as a summer program for young musicians to learn the art of making music together in small ensembles, wrote the Richmond Hill Liberal July 9. Not only do the students learn in small duos, trios and quartets as well as large groups but the daylong program starts off with stretching exercises and jogging. After composition class there’s a break for soccer. The daily program of body stretches and sports was developed by Boris Bajin, professor emeritus of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, and Barbara Paull, musician physiotherapist.

Program offers break for family caregivers

Caring for elder family members in your home can be stressful at the best of times, wrote York nursing student Tara Esson in Bradford West Gwillimbury’s The Topic July 9.

Add to that the disability of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia and it can be overwhelming if you don’t get a break now and then. Fortunately, there is an adult and Alzheimer’s day program at the Beeton Manor, a short drive from Bradford. The program is operated by the Victorian Order of Nurses.

As a fourth-year nursing student at York University, one of my clinical placements was with that program and I was asked to spread the word about it.

Political ethics mostly up to voter

An Ontario Superior Court decision is eagerly awaited for what it may say about the law on political wheeling and dealing in Canada, wrote the Cape Breton Post July 10 in a story about the case of Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien, charged under political corruption sections of the Criminal Code for allegedly enticing a political opponent to step aside from the city’s mayoral election in 2006.

James Stribopoulos, a professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, says if he were a politician he “would be very careful about they way in which I approach the business of politics in light of the judgment.”

Stacey Donen: Hoping for discovery

Former York student Stacey Donen can’t recall the first film he saw. Or how old he was at the time, wrote Playback July 6. “I’ve been watching movies for as long as I can remember,” says the 44-year-old veteran Toronto film programmer. “As a kid, there was nothing else that I wanted to do more – and that is probably still true today.”

Donen has recently taken on the role of artistic director of the Whistler Film Festival, while also continuing his job as director of programming for The Royal Cinema repertory cinema/post-production facility in Toronto and programmer for REEL Canada, an initiative that brings Canadian films into the classroom. He is splitting his time between Vancouver, Whistler and Toronto.

Donen, who studied film in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, has spent over a decade in festival programming, including the Toronto International Film Festival (Canadian Cinema), the Voices Forward Festival of film and culture from Israel and Palestine, the Febiofest in Prague (Canadian sidebar) and the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. He has also been a consulting programmer for Whistler since 2005.

Non-white patients face donor shortage

York student Steven Pho, a kinesiology student in York University’s Faculty of Health, would be eight times more likely to beat his leukemia if he were Caucasian, wrote the Toronto Star July 10 in a story about OtherHalf – the Chinese Stem Cell Initiative to educate the Chinese community about stem cell donations in the hopes of increasing the number of prospective donors among Canada’s 1.1 million residents with Chinese roots.

Being white wouldn’t give the 23-year-old Chinese Canadian any extra immunity to the blood cancer he was diagnosed with in 2006 but it would boost his chances of finding a match in this country’s stem cell and bone marrow registry.

Canada’s Chinese, like other ethnic groups, are greatly under-represented in the pool of potential stem cell donors for patients suffering from life-threatening diseases such as lymphoma and myeloma, aplastic anemia and other immune dysfunctions and genetic disorders.

“The word ‘transplant’ sounds like a scary thing. When we talk to people to register to be a stem cell and bone marrow donor, the word ‘transplant’ just throws people off,” said Maureen Pho, Steven’s sister. “But it’s a simple procedure, similar to donating blood.”

On air

  • Alan Middleton, professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the lack of public support for striking by City of Toronto workers on 680News July 9. York student Alicia Sayles, who also works at Toronto Centre Island’s Centreville attraction during the summer, spoke about the impact of the city worker’s strike on her job on CP24-TV July 9.
  • John Greyson, professor in York’s Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts, took part in a discussion about the new Sacha Baron Cohen film, Brüno, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” July 9.
  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the future outlook for the federal government’s budget on Vancouver, BC’s 1410 Talk Radio July 9.