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Oummi True Love: A rose through a child’s eye Maa! My grandmother What does a mother mean to you? My mom and I Muna Abu Sulayman Gifted with gratitude Panoramic vistas Tayyibah Taylor South London Care Centre Saba Husain Nadia Janjua Carving a unique attraction The travel chronicles My message: Mohammed Salih Events around London Recipes Marketplace
Founder/Editor-in-Chief Naeema Farooqi
The Design Team: Naira Ahmed & Lina El-Shamy (Studio Noon) Business Development/ Advertising Manager: Ahmed Javed Copy Editor: Amal A. Albaz Contributors: Dr. Hassan Mostafa Anas Al Khatib Sumayya Bari Yusuf El Kadri Marwa Hassan Kamil Rextin Faiza Rizvi Zeba A. Hashmi Javeria Saad Leila Almawy Ahmed Javed Imrana Farooqui Saud Inam Anam Islam Sara Naqwi Saleme Fayed Fahim Khan Kamran Hameed Thasneen Ansi Alexis York Lumbard
This issue of London LINK Magazine celebrates mothers and all the happiness, generosity and blessing they bring into our lives. We are happy and honored to share some treasured personal stories dedicated to moms by our creative contributors. They share the inspiration and goodness which is found in a mother no matter where she lives. Our cover featuring Madena and Liana attempts to echo the same sentiment of how, even when we are little, our moms dream big for us. They aim high for us, they want the best for us. They dream of us going to university, getting education, being a good person and making a difference in this world and the hereafter. Their duas (prayers) help us along, their dreams push us to make it a reality. Unconditionally, wanting the best for us in the purest form is what a mother/oummi/amee is all about! Treasure them, pray for them. “Show gratitude to Me and to your parents.“ (Al Quran-31:14) Enjoy this issue,
Naeema Farooqi Cover photography: N.Farooqi. Cover Design: Naira Ahmed, Location: University College Building @ Western University, Canada. Kids on the cover: Medina Fayad and Liana Assaf
page 3 // volume three, issue three
It is said by every mother around the world that she would make any sacrifice for her children. Thankfully, very few are called upon to make a life altering sacrifice. This is a tribute to my mother who has been called upon by God’s will to face challenges and difficulties no mother I have ever met has faced.
As a young bride in 1973, she came to Canada to join her husband, both never thinking they would settle and call London, Canada their home. And while challenges such as getting her medical license, homesickness from family in Egypt that could only communicate monthly via letter or telegraph, and living in a new foreign land seemed difficult at the time— they would pale in comparison to the tests about to come. Her life has been marked by struggle and adversity after which she always rose victorious and stronger, only to prepare her for the next sacrifice. Shortly after my 13th birthday, her insistence of a second opinion of what was a misdiagnosis saved my life. I was eventually diagnosed with bone cancer, the type that took the life of Canadian hero, Terry Fox. In the cancer treatment world, early diagnosis is key. Call it luck, chance or a mother’s intuition, my mother just knew. Looking back, those two years undergoing cancer treatment were difficult but seemed like an adventure. It was a part of my life that shaped and helped define my personality and future. As a father of three young children, only now do I reflect on how utterly devastating and helpless a parent would feel watching her son weakened and withering possibly to an early death. It is a time in her life she can’t
think about or discuss without turning her face to hide the tears that inevitably flow even 25 years later. Chemotherapy, surgery and physiotherapy were the medical treatments that helped saved me. A family trip to Umra in the middle of my treatment, my Hajj performed by a proxy, and a mother’s unending duaa is what cured me. Surely, this must be the end of Allah’s tests for my mother. What more could He ask of her? Five years later, my father passed away in a quick and tragic manner, leaving her alone to raise two teenage children during the most difficult phase of upbringing. Her methods and style raising me and my sister became somewhat confrontational, but she often said “Raising these kids is a mission I cannot afford to fail.” I owe all my professional and
personal success in life to my mother’s persistent efforts to keep me on a path towards success. Last year, I had the honor of accompanying my mother to Hajj. It was a small offering of thanks for 38 years of devotion and duaa. Though she doesn’t believe it when I say it, I am eternally thankful to her. I owe my life to her in every way, and model my children’s upbringing after her. I love her. For many in our community, they call her Dr. Hawash-Mostafa. I call her Oummi. I pray that Allah may reward her for her struggles and sacrifices and give her reassurance and contentment in this life and the hereafter. Ameen. // Hassan Mustafa *Oummi is “mother” in Arabic
page 4 // volume three, issue three
— a rose through a child’s eye
// Ever since we as adults were young, our mothers woke us up for school, bathed us, made breakfast, and armed us with books and a pack of lunch for the day. When we got back home with troubled minds, or we were just emotionally yearning for comfort, our mothers were the go-to people. It didn’t matter what the reason was; either you felt down that someone hurt you, or you didn’t do as well as you thought. There is no better feeling than being wrapped around a mother’s arms. As grown ups, our mother’s care never ran out, and they continue on to shine in our lives through tough times and pray for our success to be the best of the best. A friend of mine once said, “To love, nourish and protect her child throughout life” is the role of a mother. In my experience, as the youngest member of six siblings in my family, I’ve seen as a child the tasks my mother took on to help my siblings. Every day, she woke us up at six in the morning, made breakfast, and made sure we had a ride; either by car or by bus. Even today as grownups, she still makes sure we have a ride to go where we need to go. Like my mom, mothers will do anything to make sure their children are treated the best way possible. A young writer described to me that, “A mother is someone, who seeing four pieces of pie and five people, proclaims how she never did care for pie.” Many youth today always complain about how their mothers order them to do things, shout, or ground them. While this may be true, there is always a reason for
everything a mother does. Most probably, there is wisdom behind it that’s worth a mother’s life time experience. There is no excuse to disobey her. No matter how much trouble you may get into, you should always treat your mother with respect and care. The love between a mother and her child should be as little as a kiss a day. Loving, caring, gentle are a few words that describe a mother’s character. “A woman can never love a man like a mother’s love for her child.” There is no better time than spending it with our mothers as they age. It is the only time to show how much we appreciate their love, even though it is impossible to give back all that they offered. Mothers are like a love story that never ends; their legacy still beats in our hearts as they have departed from this life. After reading this article, it is mandatory for all you readers to kiss your mother and say that you love her. Why? Because I said so. // Anas El-Khatib
“There is no better time than spending it with our mothers as they age. It is the only time to show how much we appreciate their love, even though it is impossible to give back all that they offered.”
page 5 // volume three, issue three
— on being a mom // Oblivious to the hardships of motherhood, I stepped onto this new platform with just a room decorated with teddy bears and dolls and a cupboard full of expensive baby clothes. About 4 years back, I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl and from the moment I held her in my arms, I transformed from all that I was to all that I am now; I transformed from being me to being Mom. That day, I first understood why Maa loved me so much and how I meant the world to her. The first few days were shocking, to say the least. Yes, I did not sleep and only ate so I could continue to feed my baby. I was in pain and shaken. How mothers all over the world survive these months and not make a big deal out of it was beyond me. I still don’t know what it was- the fear of the baby not being inside me anymore, or the anxiety of doing something wrong to the delicate child or perhaps the uneasiness of allowing another soul to hold my most precious little thing. I did not make sense to anyone, not even to myself. The only person who understood and knew what to do, was Maa. Oh Allah, how lucky I was to have her by my side! I pray that one day, I can repay her favors-
not just the ones she blessed me with during those months when I was clueless, but for the years and years of love and care before then. As months passed by and each day brought with it newer challenges, I developed a deeper and clearer understanding of what being a Mom is all about. From the sleepless nights to forgetting to eat, the fears, the depression, the sudden change of mood from being the happiest soul one minute, and feeling so low just a minute later— it was happening all at once. When I thought I was finally getting the hang of it, Allah blessed me once again! I welcomed the thought of another pregnancy, labor, delivery pain and those first few months with open arms, trying to ignore the tears of nervousness and the sweat trickling from my forehead. After all, Maa was still around, alhamdulilah. Today, my two princesses are 2 and 3 years old, alhamdulilah. We have just recently moved to Mississauga, far away from my haven- miles away from Maa. The past year had been breezier as far as being Mom was concerned. My girls are older and were beginning to understand
me and sometimes even assist me in my tasks, by at least taking care of some of theirs. Today, faced with yet another set of challenges, I wonder if I will be able to do it. I’m happy, very happy with my new little paradise, but Maa is not here. I miss her. Especially when I get stuck juggling between four or five tasks all at once; no one to hand it over to. I really don’t have the option of shutting down for a while expecting someone to take over, at least not until my husband is home. As days pass, my girls are also getting a taste of the new world. My older one, particularly, is demonstrating the ability to feel and recognize the emotions and sometimes even the tribulations associated with growing up. I can see myself in her today. Sometimes, we share the same cuddles and stories Maa and I used to. It feels nice; it reminds me of those beautiful moments I shared with Maa and gives me strength to move on happily. I hope one day, my girls can feel the same way about me. I also hope, that Allah blesses me with an opportunity to make my Mom as happy as she has made me and as proud of me as I am of her, inshAllah. // Sumayya Bari
* “mother” in Urdu
“ I still don’t know what it was- the fear of the baby not being inside me anymore, or the anxiety of doing something wrong to the delicate child or perhaps the uneasiness of allowing another soul to hold my most precious little thing.”
page 6 // volume three, issue three
My grandmother As Motherâ€™s Day approaches, I think of my mother, appreciate all that she has provided for me, all that she has helped me with, and how I love her and how I am so proud of who she is and of the strong woman she is within my family. I also spread my appreciation to acknowledge my grandmother. These two beautiful and remarkable women in my life have taught me many valuable lessons; above all, to be strong and courageous and to never give up no matter the odds. They taught me to follow my heart, to think wisely in hard times so that I may do my best and persevere through this life, and to progress and achieve anything I set my mind to. The influence my mother and her mother have had on me has been immense, and the lives they led and still lead are inspirational. My grandmotherâ€™s life in particular definitely lends perspective and makes us look at todayâ€™s life much differently. It grants us the ability to appreciate everything we have in this life and makes all the things
we perceive to be the worst seem so insignificant. My grandmother began her life as a young girl without her parents, progressing through a childhood without an education, while being employed at a farm for very little in benefit. She married at 15 and her life maintained at the same level. She and my grandfather, beginning with nothing, worked and worked to construct a foundation for the family they wished to start. Being a mother to 14 children is no easy task, but my grandmother took on the feat. After unfortunately losing some children, falling into poor health to many different illnesses, and becoming deaf, she and my grandfather were able to persevere and provide a structure for their family to strive and become better than they were. Overtime, that hard work and constant thriving to make something out of the life she lived pulled her through, and she succeeded. Without her perseverance and strength I would not be here today living
a life so simplified and carefree. I would not be so comfortable and worry free and taken care of. Her actions and life are truly inspirational and I hope to emulate her commitment and passion to strive and make something better of myself no matter what so that my children may also live an even better life ahead of them. A very remarkable fact is that the inspirational attributes I so honorably recognize within my grandmother, I also acknowledge within my mother. And for that, I am so blessed and I cannot be thankful enough to have such powerful women in my life. May Allah bless them and all mothers alike, and may they forever be recognized for their strength, wisdom, care, and love until the end of time. // Yusuf El-Kadri
page 7 // volume three, issue three
What does a mother mean to you? Nikita Moni: My mom is my guardian angel, she means the world to me. Even though we may fight, she is always there for me and watches over me to make sure that I never get hurt. Nour AJ: She’s unreal! The things she goes through and does baffle me sometimes! No human should be able to accomplish all that she has!
what flowers mean to the bees and more than what water means to those flowers. She was the means to my existence and I mean to make her proud.
anything to and expect the best advice from. Being the only girl in a family that’s moved often, I found that she is the greatest and most stable and constant supporter.
Kelsey Lamont: My mom is that golden ray of sunlight during a stormy day, or that favourite warm sweater you put on when you need to be loved and comforted.
Brittany Vanderlip: She may be tough around the edges at times but it’s a combination of her strength, optimism, courage and love that toughen them. Ghadeer Jasim: I will spend forever being thankful for the greatest mother I’ve been blessed with. No words can ever do justice to what she means to me. She will always be a part of me. To my mother, my everything, I love you beyond understanding.
Saif Haddadeen: When I think of my mum, I think of home too, because the two are inseparable.
Kareem Hosem: My mother is the woman who has pretty much molded me from my young age & I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her guidance and help.
Hana Fazil: She’s my life; I would be lost without her, without her smile, her warm hugs, and without her constant reassurance and love.
Nada Helwa: Like a white dove, my mom may seem like merely a prop in the hands of the magician, but in truth, she’s the whole show.
Mohadisa Batool: Moms are like the queens of the kingdoms, who give us our all. Their prayers are of an angel’s, their smile a breeze of heaven and heaven lies at their feet.
Salma Fathallah: Her kindness can be heard by the deaf and seen by the blind. It’s almost overwhelming. The warmth of her love makes me feel safe.
Ahmad Omar: I always tell her, “The only person who loves you more than I do and cares about you more than I do is a person who can write your name on the sun with ice.” Yash S.: My mother means more to me than
Moe Talmas: My mom is the reason I am who I am today. Jude Al-Saati: She’s the mirror to my soul, every brush stroke in my paintings. Sara Rhayel: I’ve always thought of my mom as my best friend, who I could say
Osama Mabad: I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from my mom. Also, she makes the best food. Marwa Hassan: There are both too many things I can say about her and too few, because no matter how many words I use, nothing I say will ever be enough to express what she means to me. She embodies everything and everyone I hope and aspire to be in life. // Compilation: Marwa Hassan
page 8 // volume three, issue three
Mom and I
Mothers and Mother’s Day
// Full Disclosure – I was asked so nicely by the Editor to write this, that I couldn’t say no. How could I? But since this will be published in the Mother’s Day issue – I thought I’d take some time to make it meaningful. Nostalgia hits me when I think of my mom. Haven’t seen her since Sept 5th (or there about), 2011. That’s an awfully long time. But it’s not the first time I have been away from home. In fact, before I came to UW for my masters, the 4-5 months I spent at home were the longest I’ve spent at home since college and the 2 years in undergrad at GIKI (an engineering school in Pakistan). Living in GIKI without seeing my mom wasn’t that bad. I missed her warm, loving aura, her beautiful smile, and her wonderful food, which was only 2 hours away from Islamabad. Then I moved to Karachi. I still remember the first few weeks when I lived alone; it was horrible. I was the type of guy who would scream ‘Amaaaa!’ the minute I entered the house. If she didn’t respond, one of two things would happen; often I’d find her praying or she was doing laundry and the noise from the washer would drown out my helpless screams for her. Helpless screams? Perhaps not, but she is the first person I’d want to see when I got home. Let me tell you a little bit about my mom. She’s the best and most beautiful mom in the world. She has rosy red cheeks and deep brown eyes. Her hair is turning grey, but she’s still young at heart. Yes I know everyone says that, but let me tell you why she is quite amazing. But for the story that follows to make sense, a little background would be helpful. My mom
is from a village in Peshawar, Gharibabad. She never went to school and has a big family. She lived in that village all her life until she married my dad, and moved to Islamabad back in the early days when Islamabad was nothing but Melody and a vast expanse of nothingness. You might even think of her as an early explorer, adventuring into a new land with nothing but her husband and her intelligence. Long before I was born, my family lived in Germany while my dad did some post doc and physics research there for a couple of years. One fine day, she was all alone at home and the doorbell rang. My dad wasn’t home and my siblings were in school, so she promptly went to answer the door; there was a post man –or just any man. Now my mom didn’t know any English, let alone German. This did not scare her. She bravely opened the door and told the man that no one is at home in the only language she knew— Pashto! And would you believe it, the word for “no one is at home” in Pashto is the same in German! Or close enough. Here she was, a girl from a small village in Peshawar, all the way in Germany, telling a German man in Pashto that no one is at home – and he got it!
100 Bessemer Rd. Unit 7
She raised 4 kids and is the proud grandmother of 5 grandkids, she learned Urdu all by herself, learned to write, and most of all, always supported us in everything we did. She always comforted us when we were down and told us “Everything is going to be okay,” and the minute she said it, we’d have faith. When I would tell her about my GPA studies, she would take all the interest in the world. She loves Oprah, even though she doesn’t understand English expect for a few words (namely – Come eat) and I gladly watch Oprah with her, telling her what’s going on and translating best as I can from English to Pashto. There are so many wonderfully amazing charming things about my mom I can go on about. She is the best mom in the world and I love her with all my heart. This goes out to all the moms in the world. You make the world go round. Hats off to you and happy Mother’s Day! // Kamil Rextin
page 9 // volume three, issue three
page 11 // volume three, issue three
Muna Abu Sulayman a role model for women everywhere
Muna Abu Sulayman is undoubtedly the Saudi Wonder Woman. She is an influential media personality, fashion designer, humanitarian, and former founding Secretary General of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation. She was chosen as the first Saudi UN Goodwill Ambassador as well as the Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, and last year, she was among the 100 most powerful Arab women. That’s right, her achievements are endless. Yet, she is extremely humble and warmhearted. In an exclusive interview with London LINK, she tells us more about her passion and work. LL: Your professional life has been an amazing mix of several careers. How did you manage doing the best of everything?
Photo Courtesy: MBC
MS: I love doing what I do, and I think it is that passion that translates to being able to give my current project my all. Be passionate, and truly care about the product/project you work on. Also, never work for someone you don’t respect as a person. It just makes work miserable. LL: You are a role-model for so many young Saudi women. Is that a huge responsibility? What message would you like to give to them? MS: I am so honored to be called a role model. I think what these young girls see is someone who was able to make it on her own, and they want that for themselves. They want the ability to prove themselves. My advice is to make sure that they are proving things to themselves and not to other people. You don’t want to waste decades of your life only to realize it was someone else’s dream LL: If there was one big change you could make for women in Saudi Arabia right now, what would that be? MS: We keep talking in Saudi Arabia about changing the family and personal law system to be better for women, and that has not happened yet. Women still suffer at the hands of their legal guardians, especially during divorce and custody battles. LL: You were the first Saudi woman to become a regional TV personality. In a conservative society like yours, did you face any obstacles?
< World Economic Forum, 2012
MS: There are always obstacles but my parents had no problem with me being on TV and therefore with their support, I could face anyone. LL: How was your experience to be chosen as the first Saudi UN Goodwill Ambassador for the UNDP and as a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in the same year? In this position, what according to you is the biggest challenge facing the world today? MS: That year was a great year. It helped me open up to the world and embrace being a global citizen. In both positions, one quickly realizes how interconnected we all are, and how important it is to provide basic needs and dignity for humanity. 20% of the world lives on less
than 1.25 dollars a day, another 20% of less than 5 dollars. That is a lot of people who are struggling to live a dignified life. I knew I wanted to help them. Being at the UN and World Economic Forum helped me figure out the ways. So for example, we did a lot of training to help NGO’s deliver help more effectively. I can go on about the wonderful projects I was involved in. LL: A word of advice for our readers MS: Ready, get set, and go! Right this minute, you have to start getting ready for the more global world. You are going to compete with the best of the best, which is the new benchmark. // Faiza Rizvi, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
page 12 // volume three, issue three
Gifted with Gratitude // Samina Malik is an exceptional mother, an ardent quilter, enthusiast cook, and a woman who cherishes her home and family. Samina is blessed with four beautiful children with special needs. Samina’s typical day consists of cooking, cleaning, sending her children to their programs and schools, and tending to medical appointments. When she does find some extra time, Samina likes to help others, organize events, organize sewing classes and quilt beautiful wall hangings, table covers, and bedspreads. Seeing Samina with her children is a delightful sight. One can see a mutual love and respect amongst the family members. The eldest is Khadij; a graceful 26 year old young lady who is friendly, responsible and polite. Shahzeb, who is 25 years old, is a friendly and helpful young man who
spends time playing sports and on the computer. Both Khadija and Shahzeb have completed high school and are working. Anum, 20, has a creative streak and enjoys puzzles and paintings. And lastly, Mahnoor is a friendly 18 year old. Another addition to their family is ‘Blackie’. Blackie is a poodle. “We were looking for a pet for therapeutic reason, and poodles don’t drool and shed less than other kinds of dogs. So we decided to get Blackie,” explains Samina. The family and Blackie have a caring mutual bond and the children all take care of him. Samina can always be seen with a smile and a peaceful demeanour. “My thinking is that if I have been given a test from Allah, I should be thankful to Him, not cry and create any problems, and try to pass this exam in the best way. My thinking is if I have a situation, why not deal with it happily? I’m willing to help anyone in need, anyone who needs me. That gives me peace,” says Samina. Samina’s good friend, Razia Tahir says, ”She is a happy person. She takes everything in stride and she looks after her children and husband. Samina is very active; not only does she have hobbies, but she serves actively on the Pakistan Canada Association. Maybe Allah chose this for her because she can handle it. MashaAllah look at all that she does. ” Working together is the key to success. Samina expresses, “I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s support. He is a wonderful father and wonderful husband.“ “If you have faith in God, that counts. I’m just taking it day by day as a challenge and I hope to fulfill it as a duty. I was brought to this world to take care of these four children. My goal in life is to stay with my children and give them more attention. I want to spend beautiful moments with my children.” // Zeba Hashmi
page 13 // volume three, issue three
Panoramic Vistas The Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon // March break in London, Ontario heralds the end of a grueling and seemingly never-ending winter, and the advent of glorious and sunny spring. Over the past several years, my family and I have followed a strict ritual: rain, shine or snow, we pack our bags and head out for March break. This spring holiday, however, has become so much more than a routine vacation for us; it gave us a break from hectic schedules, helped rejuvenate our spirit, and renewed in us an appreciation of family and faith. Sadly, this year we were forced to make an exception. My sinuses developed a rebellious streak and were refusing to cooperate. My children spent the entire March break putting up with my sinusitis induced tantrums and mood swings. A whole week passed by and the ritual, much to our chagrin, had been broken. But there was light at the end of the tunnel— the long Easter weekend! We seized the moment and decided to explore the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. After enduring hours cramped up in the ever-shrinking seats of the airplane, we landed in Las Vegas and drove to the Hoover Dam, a 45-minute drive from the Airport. All the exhaustion quickly faded when
I witnessed the Hoover Dam—a grand manifestation of man’s ingenuity and engineering prowess. The fact that it was built roughly 80 years ago makes one appreciate it even more. Construction of the dam started in 1930 and ended in 1935, and in merely five years, 21000 labourers and 200 engineers created a colossal structure 726 feet (221 m) high (twice the height of the Statue of Liberty), and 1,244 feet (379 m) long, weighing more than 6.6 million tons! Built during the volatile era of the Great Depression, when soaring unemployment and economic woes plagued the US, the Hoover Dam is a glorious testament of man’s resilience and fortitude in the face of adversity. Next on the agenda was the Grand Canyon, roughly a 5-hour drive from the Hoover Dam. Nothing could have prepared me for the majesty and breath taking natural beauty of the Canyon. The videos and the pictures can never do justice to its magnificence and grandeur. They cannot capture its immensity. The Grand Canyon is 446km long, up to 29km wide and 1.6 km deep. It is an ecological, geological and historical wonder that overwhelms our senses. Not surprisingly, there were few signs that refer to it as the “shrine of ages.” The layers of rock
indicate the age of the canyon. At the very bottom of the Canyon, the rock is nearly 2 billion years old; millions of years ago this rocky landscape was submerged under an ocean. Archeological evidence suggests that it has sustained human life for thousands of years. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States took great pains to ensure that the beauty of the Canyon would be preserved. He urged people to leave it as it is. “You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, and for all who come after you.” Standing at the edge and gazing out at the vast landscape that stretched infinitely before my eyes was an extremely humbling experience. I was reminded of the might and power of the Canyon’s Creator, Allah the Almighty, and of the wisdom that He bestowed on men, blessing us with the ability to create masterpieces like the Hoover Dam. As I walked back, Shaykh Omar Suleiman’s words echoed in my ear. “In deeply contemplating the wondrous signs of Allah, one loses his ego and finds his soul.” // Javeria Saad
page 14 // volume three, issue three
the 21st Century Muslim Woman
Tayyibah & Nina
// “Azizah is a vehicle for the voice of a Muslim woman in America. It celebrates her accomplishments and highlights her issues, and really gives her an opportunity to set her agenda.” These are the words of Tayyibah Taylor, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Muslim-American magazine for women, Azizah. In a day and age where Muslims are looked upon quite negatively and fearfully, here is a magazine that fearlessly works to break the stigma that has been marked on the Muslim name by the majority of the world. More specifically, Azizah is a Muslim women’s magazine that aims to empower and entitle Muslim women in North America because “Muslim women are either defined or spoken about by people who are not Muslim or by Muslim men. So, Azizah is an opportunity for Her to have a discussion about herself, instead of other people speaking about her,” adds Ms. Taylor. She mentions how it is imperative to have such a forum for women’s voices. The magazine is operated by Muslim women who write the articles and oversee the projects in general “so that it is one place that people go and hear Her voice unfiltered,” explains Ms. Taylor. After all, what better to hear or read about an issue when it is directly coming from the source? Azizah puts no restrictions on the voices of Muslim women, but instead promotes freedom of speech and individuality. The magazine teaches women how to be respected regardless of their culture, race, religion, and especially their gender. Ms. Taylor mentions the diversity of her readers when discussing who Azizah reaches out to and gives an example of one woman who stated, “Even though I’m a Christian, I really enjoy reading your magazine because it’s not the typical woman’s magazine where it talks about how to get a man and what kind of make-up to put on, but rather it’s a magazine of substance.” Azizah successfully reaches out to men, despite the predominant female subject matter. One father wrote to the magazine explaining, “I subscribed to Azizah because the Azizah woman is the woman I want my son to marry.” Ms. Taylor discusses how some of her earliest ideas about starting a women’s magazine originated, and she mentioned a run-in with an issue of Ebony magazine many years ago at her aunt’s house.
She discusses how looking through the magazine and noticing all the women of color portrayed positively gave her a sense of validation of identity. This same sense of validation of identity should also apply to Muslim women when reading Azizah magazine, because as Ms. Taylor explains, “Usually, they [women] are so used to seeing themselves portrayed as victims or terrorists or oppressed women— not the woman to be emulated. All of these are opposites of who they are”. Hence, when they see themselves portrayed in a fair and dignifying light, it should give them a sense of empowerment. The aim of Azizah magazine is to reposition Muslim women in Islam and in the world. The aim is to alter the negative perceptions about Islam, but especially about Muslim women because there are a lot of conflated speculations directed towards the Muslim woman as being an oppressed victim of stagnation. Therefore, Ms. Taylor’s goal for Azizah magazine is “for people to understand that the caricatured stereotypes, that they so often see in the media, are just inaccurate depictions of who we are.” She explains that Muslim women are not victims of men, circumstance, or religion, but they are empowered accomplished women. Azizah magazine is made up of several topics of discussion such as, “Special Report”; “Shahada” – which is about religion and faith; “Global Voices” – which looks at a Muslim woman outside an international accomplishment; “Point of View” – which is an opinion editorial; “Lifestyle” – which is about fashion; and “Wellbeing” – which is about health. There are also eight constant articles about issues that affect Muslim women’s lives or Muslim women who have done some kind of wonderful accomplishment. Azizah magazine was founded by Tayyibah Taylor and Marlina “Nina” Soerakoesoemah. The magazine has won an award for Environmental Journalism and has over 40,000 libraries subscribed to it. For a magazine that was founded in 1999, it is on the fast track of success and is quickly adopting more and more readers. Azizah can be found on Twitter under @AzizahMagazine, as well as Facebook, and on through the website www.azizahmagazine.com // Leila Almawy
page 15 // volume three, issue three
// Towards the end of April, London LINK had the opportunity to visit a great organization, South West Regional Cancer Program (SWRCP), that is striving to make a difference for the better. This organization with other four community partners (Canadian Cancer Society, Cross Cultural Learner Centre, London InterCommunity Health Centre, and Middlesex-London Health Unit) submitting a successful funding bid to the Public Health Agency of Canada to implement a new project called â€œMobilizing Newcomers and Immigrants to Cancer Screening Programsâ€?. The main goal is to develop, deliver and evaluate evidence-based cancer prevention and screening service delivery model and to seek newcomer and immigrant populations in London who are seldom screened for cancer and educate them about the importance of getting screened and the services that are available to them. Among the immigrant population, heavy emphasis is put towards the Spanish and Arabic speaking immigrant populations as those are the two most common languages in London after English; as well as Nepalese and Iraqi communities, two emerging newcomer groups. With high hopes, the project is expected to result in increased awareness about cancer risk and prevention among newcomers and immigrants while also increasing participation in cancer screening programs for these groups. For instance, raising awareness is expected to lead to more regular Pap tests and combined with HPV vaccine, cervical cancer can be reduced dramatically. Also regular mammograms can identify breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and could be cured, and regular FOBT test can detect small traces of blood in the stools before there are signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer. Lastly,
Screen for Life
Cancer screening sees what you canâ€™t Speak to your healthcare provider or visit www.ontario.ca/screenforlife for more information.
since immigrant populations are less likely to partake in cancer screening and usually have later-stage cancer diagnosis, they are more likely to see unfavorable results from the disease. Nevertheless, South West Regional Cancer Program recommends that you start right from home as healthy living and making healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of developing cancer risk. There are some factors that reduce the chances of developing cancer which we can control and some which we cannot control like gender, age and family history. However as for those that you can control, you can start by staying away from harmful substances such as alcohol and cigarettes and start eating a variety of healthy foods and being more physically active. Also you must protect yourself from sun, stop artificial tanning, and follow health and safety instructions when handling hazardous materials. It may be a good idea to speak to a doctor or nurse practitioner about any changes in your health and be sure to participate in recommended cancer screening. Our health is a blessing, and we have to take good care of it. // Ahmed Javed
page 16 // volume three, issue three
The Story of Saba Law “Nothing in life is to be feared it is only to be understood.” Madam Curie // Saba Husain is a successful attorney in New Jersey, USA heading her own law firm. Recently I got a chance to chat with her about her life and her inspirations and struggles. As a mom of three young kids her story is inspiring and shows the resilient nature of human beings who can bounce back with hard work and determination. Here’s what she had to share. “When I had three children, all of them under the age of 10 years, I decided to study law. It was a sacrifice on the part of all of us. I was separated from my husband of ten years, and it was perhaps one of the lowest points of my life. I had been a classic stay at home mom. But life doesn’t always stay the same, and the separation was my wake up call. I realized that I could not spend my life depending on another person for support and assistance. I had to do something on my own to support my children, and to do it in a way that they could look at me and say, “We are proud of you mommy!” My father had always said that there was something more precious than all the jewels in the world— a solid education. Rather than cling on to support and assistance from other sources, I decided to focus on a strong education. Based on this unshakeable belief system instilled since my childhood, I ventured out to law school. It was the toughest time of my life; like a winter storm that one goes through believing and praying that once it clears up, the sun will shine in all its’ glory. People thought that I was crazy, that it
was too late to return to school, that my children needed me at home and so on. But usually, the best decisions are made when everyone is calling you a lunatic! Oddly enough, my children completely supported me. I always called my four-year old right before an exam, and she reassured me saying “Do what Thomas did and say ‘I think I can I know I can’ and you’ll make it!” She was referring to Thomas the tank engine, chugging along to make it uphill with very little fuel in his tank. My nine year old gave me a Harry Potter poster to place above my desk, in which Harry, Ron and Hermione were using “Defense against the Dark Arts” to cast a spell on Voldemort. The principle theme was to put up a good fight and win. My ten year old emailed me a picture that I printed out and stuck by the side of the HP poster. It was one of Nate Robinson, who won the Slam Dunk contest even though he was much, much shorter than any of the basketball players in the competition and logically could not have won it. He wrote “If Nate can do it, so can you!” In a sense, I felt as if all four of us went through law school, because it was always such an intense part of our lives. I believe it taught the children the value of education, hard work, perseverance and faith. It was an example for them; evidence of the fact that a person is capable of doing anything they set their mind to, and that when life tries to knock you down, and throw a few punches at you, you can punch right back! Those days are over now, and yes the sun shines brightly. I started my own law firm in August 2010 by the name of Saba Law,
LLC. After the storm, I can now walk proudly Alhamdolillah. I know Allah was with me all the way, and helped me through sources that I could not have even imagined. “And whosoever fears Allah and keep his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed, Allah has set a measure for all things.” Surah Talaq Ayat 65: Verse 2-3 My advice to anyone, be it a woman or a man, is to never underestimate what you are capable of. Once you set your mind on something and make dua, it just becomes easy. We have an inner power that helps us, and we should never give up on that. I believe that everything happens for a reason; it serves us, if we believe that it will. When we go down on our knees and beg Allah, He listens. // Imrana Farooqui
page 17 // volume three, issue three
Muslim Heroes Exclusive
Nadia Janjua Nadia Janjua is a professional artist and architect by training based in the Washington, D.C. area, working for Nadia J Art. MH: Your profession is not a very common one in the Muslim American community, why did you decide to get into art? NJ: Well, I’ve always been naturally inclined towards the arts, and it was only a matter of time that I recognized the best thing I could do for myself was to use my gift in the best way possible; to create more opportunities for reflection, gratitude and beauty. MH: Where do you find inspiration from for your art work? NJ: Life and all the awesomeness of it. Ever since I can remember, I have been reflective of the human experience, from its chaos and despair to its magnificence and beauty. I’m always searching for insight and understanding, and any simple event or moment can lead to the concept of my next painting. MH: Do you feel there is a revival in appreciation of art in the Muslim community? NJ: Absolutely. I remember being at Islamic conferences and being the only artist present with a booth or an exhibit ten years ago, but now you go to these events and you have artists headlining and giving speeches, with booths representing the creative fields all over the bazaar. My clientele population has changed drastically from parents and friends of parents commissioning me for work as a favor, to young professionals hiring me to design their marriage certificates, eid cards, or making custom paintings as gift or to be placed in their own homes. Although our community has a long way to go, I’ve definitely seen a shift in mindset where art is being seen and appreciated less as commodity, and more as a service to society. If this much has changed in ten years, it’s pretty exciting to think of what the next ten years will bring. I’m optimistic, and it’s a good time to be an artist (though honestly, any time is a good time to be an artist). MH: Some say art is a way to express emotions and feelings. Has your artwork done the same for you? How has your art
allowed you to express yourself? NJ: All of my work is very personal to me, and essentially, it is my soul coming through. I learned how to express myself with colors and forms before I did with words, so painting and drawing have really just been a natural extension of my hands and my inner workings. Articulating emotions through words is an entirely different challenge. I think my work has evolved into more abstracted work particularly because of this. Expression is so incredibly unique and personal, ambiguous and ever-changing, so all I can really expect is to be able to share it and hope that the viewer will bring his or her own interpretation to it. The goal isn’t for them to match their expression with mine, but to be catalyzed to express their own reaction in their own way. MH: Some Muslim artists make the distinction between being a Muslim artist vs. an artist that just happens to be Muslim who is inspired by his/her faith. In your opinion, is there a difference? NJ: That’s a really great question; there’s really no right or wrong. But my opinion is that there is a difference. I attempt to live my life with the most consciousness that I can, so I try not to do or be anything just by default. While making “Islamic art” or paintings with Arabic calligraphy is not my focus as an Artist, I would most definitely call myself a “Muslim artist” because my inspiration stems from my spirituality and consciousness of God. Having said that, I also don’t separate my identities of being a Muslim, an artist, or even a woman; they are all inherent to who I am and I don’t feel I’ve ever had to censor or filter myself because of any one of them. Alhamdulillah, my parents raised me in an open and nurturing environment, and although I experienced the typical American-Pakistani-Muslim identity conflicts from time to time, I never felt the need to express one identity over the other. I was always encouraged to be close to my heart and express my own ideas of who I was. MH: What advice would you give to those who would like to pursue your career path? NJ: The advice I would give to others, and myself, would be to create discipline
in your life and put in the hard work to find your voice. The work that is truly interesting and has longevity is the work that is honest and authentic, but none of it will come to surface without hard work and commitment to your art. MH: Where can we learn more about you and support your work? NJ: You can view my creative work at: http://nadiajart.com http://facebook.com/nadiajanjuaart http://nadiajart.deviantart.com and view my art products for sale: shopnadiajart.etsy.com. // Saud Inam Founder of Muslim Heroes, Saud Inam highlights the contributions of modern, everyday heroes to communities all over the world. For more information visit: www.muslimheroes.org
page 18 // volume three, issue three
Hamilton Road Carves a Unique Attraction Into Forest City // Whether you’re driving into downtown, catching the Highbury exit, or discovering the Forest City on foot, Hamilton Road is a scenic detour worth taking. Hamilton Road has become the major site of Tourism London’s Tree Trunk Tour with a display of unique and artistic tree trunk carvings along the road. The project is an initiative of the Hamilton Road Business Association, an organization aiming to bring more attention and awareness to the local businesses and communities on Hamilton Road. The idea was inspired by an existing carving that had quickly become a popular stop for motorists and pedestrians travelling through the area. Towering at about 25-feet tall, constructed on top of the trunk of a large maple tree, is the carving of an impressive moose head on the lawn of local business owner, and Vice President of the association, Dave Broostad. “Not a week went by that someone wasn’t stopping by or knocking on our door asking for permission to take pictures and hear the story behind it,” recalls Broostad. “It rapidly became an icon on our street. The neighbourhood joke is that police, fire, ambulance and pizza deliverers are told how many doors east or west the address is from the moose head.” With the approximate cost of these carving ranging from $3,000- $6,000 dollars, the association teamed up with Tourism London and STIHL Chainsaw to subsidize the cost for businesses that wanted to sponsor a carving. A team of five Canadian artists were
brought in to craft wild life carvings from recycled trees in their own unique styles. The “Eagles Nest” carving, planted across from Ealing Public School, was crafted by artist Mike Winia and designed by students at the school who chose to incorporate the school’s mascot. The carving, cut out of a 100 yearold white oak trunk, depicts a powerful mother Eagle as she swoops into her nest to protect her two young Eaglets. Closer examination of the details reveals a very personal touch from the student community. Like the branches of the nest, collected from Lake Eerie, which are engraved with the signatures of Ealing’s grade one students. A carefully placed medicine wheel, at the side of the trunk, represents the schools native students and honours their heritage. Also included on the carvings is a handy QR (quick response) code which tourists can scan with their smartphones to get details about the history, artist, specifics of the tree and wood, and the story behind the carvings. The codes also provide links to the websites of the local sponsoring business and directions to the nearest sculpture in both directions. Two years after this project began, the carvings can now be found in front of 17 locations including the three public schools, the library, the church, and other local businesses in the area hoping to be put on the map. The association aims to put up 10 more in the area to round out the attraction on Hamilton Road. In March 2013 the tour received international attention with the creation of a special carving to promote the World
now offering: + graphic & print design services + web design services + writing services + branding services & more for more information, call lina & naira:
Photo credit: Hamilton Road Business Association
Figure Skating Championships hosted in London. In partnership with Tim Hortons, the association unveiled a 12-foot carving of a figure skating couple perched on a limestone rock at the south-east corner of Wellington and Dundas Street. “It [the carving] kind of became the icon of the figure skating championship,” Broostad describes. “Everybody had to get their picture taken beside it to send to their aunts and uncles back home in Russia to prove that they were here.” Londoners and tourists alike can check out the Associations web page (www. hamroad.com) to discover Hamilton Road for themselves, and the Tree Trunk Tour unique to the Forest City. // Anam Islam
page 19 // volume three, issue three
“... being an expat child armours me with mettle to embrace a new culture and dissolve borders between ‘me’ and ‘them’.”
The Travel Chronicles
Fountain Existence // It’s usually when I’m out of town that I’m asked the arbitrary question, “So where are you from?” Unlike many people I know, I answer in verbal paragraphs mixed with uneasy laughter for hogging five minutes of a stranger’s life simply because I feel compelled to answer truthfully. Being a travel writer, I was in Cambodia on assignment recently when I was asked this question by an elderly British man in the hotel restaurant. My inquirer’s affable smile was bright when I began with “Well, my parents are from Pakistan but I’m Saudi”, but quickly dissolved into a curious horizontal line as he asked, “What do you mean?” I suppose in this age mixing two countries which are considered notorious in popular media is bound to shake up a stranger to the East. I carefully replied, “You see, I grew up in Saudi…” but was quickly interrupted with “So you’re originally from Pakistan, then?” “Well no, my parents are but I’ve never lived there.” My confused new friend’s smile was not limitless, I discovered, as he impatiently declared, “But your roots are Pakistani!
That makes you Pakistani!” “Sure, but I was born in Saudi, I studied in Saudi, my passport is Saudi, and I’ve never lived in Pakistan.” He was not convinced and shrewdly cross-examined, “Your accent is American, though. Why?” “I studied in an International school that consisted mostly of North Americans,” I replied apologetically, adding, “And I did my Undergrad in Canada.” A swift “Where do you live now?” followed. “Dubai,” I replied. “Ah, now I understand,” he said as his smile turned to understanding. “The home to expats, the country that welcomes all nationalities. You basically live in an airport terminal, people coming in and out of it daily. It must suit you very well, what with your cocktail of roots.” I was affronted by his impression of Dubai and me before I realized that he wasn’t entirely incorrect. To him, being ‘’rootless’’ was a problem, until I recognized that I am very blessed to be so globalized. Popular media didn’t influence my opinion on countries due to their weak foreign policies, or corrupt leaders; nor did unique Cambodian customs, such as
eating crocodiles, alarm me. Being from different countries, speaking more than one language and living in Dubai that embraces these qualities only broadened my horizon and helped me expand my roots. I may not be able to relate to eating a crocodile feast in Cambodia, expressing my emotions through sign language in Italy or comprehending the rowdy, fun humour in Egypt, but I can certainly appreciate it. My mother, who moved to Ireland soon after getting married, struggled with Irish culture and never felt quite at home. I am in the process of moving to the Netherlands soon to pursue postgraduate studies; being my mother’s daughter, I cannot help but feel a touch of nervousness of the unknown, but being an expat child armours me with mettle to embrace a new culture and dissolve borders between ‘’me’’ and ‘’them’.’ // Sara Naqwi is a photojournalist who is based in the Netherlands. Her work is viewable at www.saranaqwi.zenfolio.com
page 20 // volume three, issue three
I love Canada, and am proud to serve Canadians. Since my teen years I have served our nation, taking an oath to protect Canada—in both the Canadian Forces and later on with the Canadian Border Services Agency. As a public servant for the past eight years, I have gained a practical understanding of how government operates, and plan on applying my experiences to serve you best. In Canada, we are proud of our diverse, multicultural roots. We call ourselves a cultural “mosaic,” after all. However, many citizens feel disempowered and disillusioned with voting—due to the lack of political representation in office—that truly reflects the diverse nature of our population. As a result, they feel that their votes don’t count, or they cannot relate to their local candidate. Personally, having been socially and economically disadvantaged, I understand the needs of those underrepresented in government. I also understand the importance of a tactful and respectful approach when addressing the needs of citizens from all walks of life. I’m running for Member of Provincial Parliament and my goal is to be all-inclusive, and be the bridge that unites us all.
page 21 // volume three, issue three
Events Around London Safety Awareness Day at the Islamic Centre Photo credit: Fahim Khan
MSA year-end dinner at the London Muslim Mosque gym Photo credit: Fahim Khan
London Islamic School students after winning awards at Live, Life, London Photo credit: Saleme Fayad
Pakistani-themed Brunch at the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario Photo credit: NF
page 22 // volume three, issue three
by Thasneen Ansi
Tuna Tortilla Roll Ups
Oil- 1 1/2 tbsp Red onion, chopped- 1 Ginger- Garlic paste- 1 tbsp Green pepper chopped- 1 Red pepper, chopped- 1 Tomato chopped- 1 Jalapeños, pickled- 5 slices chopped Tuna, canned- 2 cans Ground Cumin- 1 1/2 tsp Paprika- 1 tsp Garam masala- 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper- 1/2 tsp Olives canned, black or green, chopped - 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped- 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese- 1/2 cup (optional) Salt- to taste Tortilla- to make the rolls
(1) Place a large pan over medium heat, add oil. (2) Add onion, and a few pinches of salt, saute for a few minutes. (3) Add ginger-garlic paste, saute for a couple of minutes. (4) Cook the onions till it turns translucent. (5) Add green pepper and red pepper, cook for a few minutes. (6) Add the chopped tomato, cook for a few minutes. (7) Add jalapeños, combine well. (8) Add the canned tuna (drain the liquid), combine well. (9) Add ground cumin, paprika, garam masala, ground pepper, combine well and cook for a few minutes. (10) Add chopped olives and cilantro, cook for a couple of minutes. (11) Finally, add cheese, combine well and cook for a minute. (12) Taste, and add more salt or ground pepper if needed. (13) Remove the pan from the heat and let the tuna mixture cool down a bit. (14) Place 3 to 4 tbsp of prepared tuna mixture on one end of the tortilla. (15) Roll it tightly along with the mixture and tuck in the ends. (16) Cut the rolled tortilla in half and serve.
Dates Cake in Caramel Sauce Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 50 mins Total time: 1 hour 5 mins Makes: 1, 8x8 cake
INGREDIENTS Dates, chopped - 1 cup Water - 1 cup Baking soda - 3/4 tsp Sugar - 1 cup Butter - 1/4 cup Eggs - 2, large at room temperature All purpose flour - 1 cup Vanilla essence - 1 tsp For Making Caramel sauce Brown sugar - 3/4 cup Butter - 1/4 cup Heavy cream - 1/2 cup Vanilla essence - 1 tsp Thasneen believes food is one of the things that bring family and friends together. Her blog, “Cooking with Thas,” was started in 2009 with the sole intention of sharing her family recipes and the other recipes that she created in her kitchen with all the food lovers. http://www.thasneen.com/cooking/
PREPARATION (1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (2) In a saucepan, cook 1 cup of chopped dates in 1 cup water till the dates are cooked through. (3) Remove the pan from the heat, let cool down a bit. (4) Add the baking soda to the dates mixture, combine well and keep aside.. (5) Using an electric hand mixer, cream the sugar and the butter together. (6) Add eggs one at a time, beat well. (7) Add vanilla essence and give it a mix. (8) Add flour and fold it to the mixture till well incorporated without any lumps. (9) Add the cooled dates mixture and mix everything well. (10) Grease the baking pan with butter, pour the dates mixture to the pan. (11) Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a fork inserted into the middle of the cake comes out smooth. (12) Combine all the ingredients mentioned for making the caramel sauce in a saucepan, bring to a boil. (13) Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes or until the sauce turns thick. Remove from the heat and let cool down completely. (14) Spread the caramel sauce evenly over the dates cake. (15) Chill the dates cake with caramel sauce in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so. (16) Cut into desired shapes and serve.
page 23 // volume three, issue three
Places & Photography // Shyok River, Khaplu, Skardu, Pakistan
Book Review // Golden Domes & Silver Lanterns Rosemary Wells once said, “All really good picture books are written to be read five hundred times.” Such is true with Hena Khan’s second picture book, Golden Domes & Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors. Written for children ages 3 and up, this rhyming concept book is so short and sweet that one might just end up reading it “five hundred times.” Another quality that makes this book so delightful it that it is written from a first person point of view. A little girl shares with us the colorful world of Islam; from the centrality of prayers to the beauty of our mosques and the richness of our holiday and family traditions. As one of my favorite passages reads, “Green is the Quran I read with pride. Grandma explains the lessons inside.” And the illustrations! How could one forget? Mehrdokht Amini vividly captures the world of Islam, bringing together classical motifs and modern settings. In a world where Islam is often cast as dry and rigid, this book helps children hold their heads high and say, “Islam is wonderful, colorful and so is our Ummah too!” Well-done ladies! Looking forward to your next creations. // Alexis York Lumbard, Children’s Book Author www.alexisyorklumbard.com www.storyofmuhammad.info www.facebook.com/alexisylumbard.books Twitter: @YorkLumbard
Atif Saeed is one of the Pakistan’s top landscape & culture photographers and is known for his versatile photography. For him, photography is a tool of selfexpression and a means to share his experiences. His work can be accessed at: flickr.com/photos/atifsaeed facebook.com/AtifSaeedFineArtPhotography 500px.com/matif
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London Link Volume 3, Issue 3