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A Conversation with Dennis Edney


Not In The News

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Inconvenient Genocide

Quran Gems

Hear Me Out

Interfaith Unity

Where Are My Muslim Characters?

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Feature The Value of Representation


MY Memoir Fair & Lovely: A Colorism Callout

Creative Writing

Editor-In-Chief – Maariyah Baig Managing Editor – Komal Adeel Assistant Editor – Maha Siddiqui Head Designer – Tayel Shahzad Designers – Ahmed Saleem, Nayab Abid, Arquam Yamani, Haseeb Siddiqui, Rafit Jamil, Maha Siddiqui Editors – Amal Javed Abdullah, Sarah Javed Abdullah, Areej Hashmi, Naireen Hussain, Sabahat Hussain, Sumayyah Khan, Eiman Malik MY Voice Canada Magazine was founded in 2013 by a parent and a handful of youth wanting to empower young Muslims by providing a creative way to be heard. It is a non-profit magazine meant to reach every Canadian, and its doors are open to all youth regardless of race or religion. Teenagers 14 and up can contribute in many ways, including as designers, writers, editors, and photographers, with all content approved by our youth Executive Team. We distribute 5000 copies quarterly free of cost, and run on ads and donations. We now operate under the charity organization DawaNet, which aims to empower and engage youth in many different fields of life and engages in charity work. Donations are welcome to help with this effort to keep our Muslim youth engaged positively. For any questions and concerns please feel free to get in touch via:

Email: info@myvoicecanada.com Facebook/Twitter/Instagram:@myvoicecanada

A project of:

Editor's note Dear Reader, As-Salamu `Alaykum! Since its inception, MY Voice Magazine has been about empowering young Muslims and broadcasting voices that would otherwise go unheard. This issue, our theme is Representation and Marginalization, and we are looking at why exactly it is so important for neglected voices to be heard. Our Feature Article deals with the lack of Muslim representation in the creative arts: why we never see famous Muslim actors or directors, and how this impacts the Muslim identity. Also featured is a fascinating interview with Dennis Edney, the lawyer who took on the Omar Khadr case. Check out the Role Model section to see what Mr. Edney has to say about the media’s portrayal of Muslims.

Muslim, and how stereotypes have consumed the entertainment industry. We also address the issue of colourism and the importance of representation of dark-skinned beauty in MY Memoir. Also check out our new Not in the News section: this issue’s article sheds light on the Rohingya genocide in Burma. Representation is very powerful: it decides whose story is told and who is silenced. It can often feel like the media holds all of this power, and we have no control over our story. But if we are loud enough, if we demand to be heard, eventually the world will have to listen. Until next time,

Komal Adeel Managing Editor

The Hear Me Out! section questions why none of our favourite characters – or any characters in TV and film for that matter – are

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THE VALUE OF REPRESENTATION BY AREEJ HASHMI, First Year Try to think of a Muslim actor that you’ve seen in a successful Western movie. Or a well-known Muslim animator. Or a bestselling Muslim writer. It’s hard to come up with one, isn’t it? Is it because Muslims just aren’t cut out for it? Should we just stick to playing it safe and becoming doctors, engineers, and lawyers? The lack of Muslim representation in creative industries is what discourages many Muslims wanting to leave their mark in these fields. In August 2015, Peace House, an art and activism based production company, released its trailer for a show called Salahuddin on YouTube in an attempt to get it on Netflix. They invited people from around the world to share it with the hashtag #NetflixListen and were actually invited to meet up with Netflix officials. However, the idea was rejected.

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In June 2016, Samer Majzoub convinced Frank Baylis, a liberal Canadian politician, to sponsor the e-411 petition, which condemns any display of Islamophobia or intolerance towards Muslims, on the Parliament of Canada website. The petition has only been signed by about half the required amount to date.

politics, media, arts, humanities, and many other fields, and even though the bulk of these fields are what move society forward, we continue to discourage people pursuing them by looking down on those who dare to try.

A sister I know, who will remain unnamed for privacy, is extremely talented in creative production and wanted to enroll in a creative productions It seems as program, but was though the main hesitant to do so. problem, when The lack of Muslim Her parents had it comes to representation in creative initially opposed her Muslims trying industries is what discourages decision of going something new many Muslims wanting to leave into a dramatic in any area, their mark in these fields. arts-related field, is that there but she was able aren’t enough people supporting their ideas. No matter to convince them and enrolled into the how loud we are, we still do not have a program of her choice. When she was voice. Muslims are so underrepresented in finally accepted into the program, she was


afraid to tell others about it, worrying about what their reactions would be to hearing that she’s studying drama as a career. This sister wished to go into the profession in order to teach children through creative means and enhance the level of visual and dramatic production in the Muslim We’re so fixated on becoming community, but she was scared of being doctors, lawyers, and shunned despite her noble intentions. engineers—our typical career goals—that we forget about the Now if this sister had seen someone like benefits that can come from the creative team of Peace House, fellow other professional fields. Muslims like herself, making a Netflix


show, she would have felt more confident with her decision and would be able to do so much more good with that sense of support. Imagine, then, if young children saw this sister—a fellow Muslim like them—creating films that they identified with as Muslims, and realized that this was a field that they could pursue. It would usher in a whole generation of Muslim filmmakers.

Imagine the power of a Muslim actor showing that a Muslim can play any role, not just that of a terrorist.

At the end of the day, it is an issue of opportunity. Muslims are not given opportunities in the humanities-related and creative fields because of the close-mindedness that we face from people within and outside of our community, resulting in little to no Muslim representation in these fields. This lack of Muslim representation leads to younger Muslims, who could possibly bring revolutionary changes to these fields through their personal talents, becoming averse to the idea of pursuing a career outside of what is considered the norm in Muslim communities. We’re so fixated on becoming doctors, lawyers, and engineers—our typical career goals—that we forget about the benefits that can come from other professional fields. As Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan said in one of his lectures about people in such fields, “They’re the people who impact how society operates. They give direction to society. And if they have an Islamic mindset, man, they can bring a lot of good to the world.”

Imagine the power of Muslim animators making films for Muslim children that show the beloved stories they read in the Quran.

Recognizing the value of arts and humanities is the first step to being heard. The second is demanding diversity and representation in all facets of our society, whether it is by supporting TV shows with Muslim actors or voting for Muslim representatives in our governments. In this way, we will show the world that yes, we are here, and we deserve to be heard. Imagine the power of a Muslim actor showing that a Muslim can play any role, not just that of a terrorist, and can entertain and bring a positive impact to the acting industry. Imagine the power of Muslim animators making films for Muslim children that show the beloved stories they read in the Quran, and depict the love, understanding, and diversity that the Muslim community should be known for. Imagine the power of a Muslim politician who could directly address the issues that Muslims face and represent us in government meetings. Muslim representation, and giving Muslims opportunities to succeed, is important because it shows Muslims that they can do anything, not just what they are stereotypically expected to do. Muslim representation across all fields is necessary for allowing the world to better understand Muslims in all their complexity and diversity. That is how we will excel and make a name for ourselves as a people. That is when our ideas will actually start to matter across all groups, communities, and nations. Images: pixabay.com

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Profile for MY Voice Canada

MY Voice Vol 4 Issue 2  

Misrepresentation and Representation of Muslims in the Media.

MY Voice Vol 4 Issue 2  

Misrepresentation and Representation of Muslims in the Media.