York freshman is active in Muslim youth group

High school was rough for Ahmed Saleh, who graduated from Turner Fenton Secondary School in Brampton in June. “My best friend stopped talking to me, there were rumours spread about me and a lot of people hated me,” he said.

Why? Saleh became a devoted follower of Islam – apparently not a popular thing for a 17-year-old to do.

But Saleh didn’t let peer pressure dissuade him. This year, he was elected the Canadian representative of the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA), a branch of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and he helped organize the 36th annual ISNA Canada convention, held this past weekend (July 9 to 11) at the Islamic Centre of Canada in Mississauga.

Saleh was particularly proud of the session “Demystifying Taboos: Domestic Violence in the Home”. He feels the much-publicized murder of Mississauga teen Aqsa Parvez and subsequent links made between so-called “honour killings” and Islam have made it even more critical for Muslims to speak out.

“The media has pounced on this story as though it is a Muslim problem, but domestic violence is not exclusive to Muslim families,” said Saleh, who’s enrolled in the Human Rights & Equity Studies Program starting this fall at York University. “Look at the thousands of women a year who go to battered women shelters. Violence has nothing to do with religion. There is no such thing as honour killing in the Qur’an. This convention is our way of reacting in a non-violent, educational platform.”

High Loblaws strike vote bodes well for settlement, says York prof

Loblaw Co. workers in Ontario have overwhelmingly voted to give their union a strike mandate if Canada’s largest grocery chain doesn’t back down from concession demands that it says are necessary to remain competitive against its non-unionized rivals, wrote The Canadian Press July 12.

Stephanie Ross, a work & labour studies professor in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, said the 97 per cent strike mandate given the union leadership sends a strong message to the company, and actually reduces the likelihood of a work stoppage. “That tells the employer that the union is not willing to cave. And most of the movement in bargaining usually takes place between a strike vote and a strike deadline. It’s the thing that breaks the log jam.”

Perth welcome centre is a bustling spot

Last year about 10,000 visitors stopped by the Perth County Welcome Centre, wrote the Stratford Beacon-Herald July 12.

“We have already seen the numbers have grown,” said Wes Reibeling, a theatre studies student who has been enthusiastically welcoming visitors to Perth County’s gateway. “That is exactly what we wanted. It puts a big smile on our faces.”

Well stocked with brochures about what to do and see in Perth County and the tourism region that extends to the shores of Lake Huron, the centre has been informing visitors about where to eat and find accommodations, about area artists, artisans, the annual Mennonite auction, music and theatre. “We’re getting Perth County’s name out there,” said Reibeling, a Milverton resident when he’s not attending classes at York University.

On air

  • Kathryn Denning, anthropology professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about humans’ liking for leaving marks on rocks, one of the oldest behaviours known, on CBC Radio (Sudbury) July 12.