The Speak Free Podcast is a collaborative project of the al hikmah speaker series and Western Muslim Initiative. It is a short episodic and theme driven outlet that examines contemporary issues related to Muslims living in Canada. Currently, participating cities include Edmonton and Calgary and the hope is to expand this reach to include voices from cities across Canada.
Contributors are given a question by the Speak Freely editors and asked to send in a short recording of their answer by email. If you would like to contribute to an episode of Speak Free please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Spoken Word: Brooke VanBuskirk
I have been a poetry and literature enthusiast from a young age. Upon embracing Islam at seventeen, my public appearances slowed to a stop, although I continued to write poetry and essays through the slow transition of faith. Recently, in the winter of 2011, at the age of 23, I began performing again at slams. Having grown apart from previously revealed genres of music, I now dedicate my full attention to the more flexible art form of performance poetry.
|Spoken Word: Jomanna Sleiman
I am 14 years old. I first started writing poetry at 12. I write both spoken word and freestyle poetry. I’ve done 3 spoken word poetry events at school and once at the One Ummah Conference. One of my poems is going to be published in a book called “Stars In Our Hearts” sometime in September. I have a passion for writing sappy, meaningful poems about love, life, and society. It’s something I am good at and I am proud of it.
|Spoken Word: Hana Aw-Dahir
I’m a Somali born Canadian currently living in Saskatoon who recently graduated from nursing. As a shy immigrant child growing up, I used poetry as a channel of expressing myself and voicing my concerns for all the injustices of this world. My poetic focus is using personal accounts of tragedy through storytelling in order to connect us to our frail humanity. Also, as a proud Muslim, I feel a sense of urgency to change evil by the hand, if not the hand, then by tongue through spoken word, before the heart becomes the weakest form of faith.
|Spoken Word: Abdulrahman Ismail
I am 18 years of age and I have been writing poetry for three years now. I enjoy writing and performing poetry because I find it to be a very unique way of expressing my opinion or even just expressing a different train of thought. I find the preforming aspect of poetry a crucial part of poetry because the tone and the way that the words are communicated across to the audience can greatly affect the perceived message.
|Spoken Word: Mariam Halabi
As a child I rebelled against my parents reading books during the night with any light I could find. As the years passed, however, I drifted from books to other things. I started to write. I was inspired to write by all the things that surrounded me. Writing was the one thing that felt like the perfect exit, the perfect expression. I can confidently say Islam is what inspires most of my writing. Nothing has brought me peace the way learning about God has.
|Spoken Word: Adam Elkastawi
I’m a psychology major and I do reporting for the university channel NUTV. Ever since I was 5 I discovered I could use my voice to entertain people, whether it’s through singing or doing character impersonations. As I became more in tuned with my spiritual self, I wanted to use my voice to get me closer to God, and to inspire others to do the same. I would love to incorporate a new genre of poetry, by combining Quran recitation with spoken word.
|Having a Healthy Ramadan - Imam Fayaz Tilly
Imam Fayaz Tilly who is a Muslim Chaplain at the University of Calgary talks about staying spiritually and physically healthy during Ramadan, especially during these long summer fasts.
[Photo Credit: Calgary Herald]
|Al-Musharaka Profile #1 - ‘Knowing our Diversity’
Duration - 4:34
|Al-Musharaka Profile #2 - ‘Finding the Answers’
Duration - 3:28
|Al-Musharaka Profile #3 - ‘Where do I fit in?’
Duration - 4:14
|Al-Musharaka Profile #5 - Come as you are.
Duration - 4:24
|Zarqa Nawaz: Creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie
In 2007, Zarqa Nawaz created the television series Little Mosque on the Prairie and ultimately became CBC’s highest rated sitcom. The show airs in over sixty countries around the world and has garnered national and international attention. The show is currently in its 6th and final season.
|Living Islam in Canada - Dr. Omar Mahmood
Speak Free’s Marwa Fadol spoke with Dr. Omar Mahmood about living Islam in the modern world when he was in Calgary in November 2011.
Dr. Omar Mahmood was born and raised in Southern California. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California Los Angeles where he double-majored in Psychobiology and Arabic. He then traveled overseas to Yemen to study Islamic Sciences in the traditional institute known as Dar al-Mustafa. His studies focused on jurisprudence (fiqh), Arabic grammar, and sciences of the heart. He returned to the States and attended graduate school in Michigan where he completed a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Wayne State University. He is currently employed at the University of California, San Diego and serves as an advisor to MYNA (Muslim Youth of North America). He is active in efforts to promote the development of Islamic identity in Muslim youth through spirituality, counseling, recreation, and the arts.
|Muslims and Mental Health: it’s time to take notice.
Music by Fahd Hafeez
|The Greater Jihad
“In My Bubble” by filmmaker Natasha Moloo is the winner of the 2010 Mosquers Awards for Social Conscience.
Some members of the Western Muslim Initiative attended the 2010 Mosquers awards and were simply taken by Natasha’s sincere video on her inner spiritual struggle as a Muslim. With the permission of the Mosquers and of our Speak Free partner, Al Hikmah, we have reproduced the video here and we ask you to view the video with an open mind and to provide your comments.
The 2011 Mosquers Awards are happening on October 29, 2011 in Edmonton, AB!
|Muslimah Sexiness in the City PART 1
Hero Azar and Madiha Vaid explore Islam, modesty, femininity and the intersection of all three.
|Muslimah Sexiness in the City PART 2
Hero Azar and Madiha Vaid explore Islam, modesty, femininity and the intersection of all three
|Are Western Muslims Unique?
Speak Free asked Mina Fadol and Firaz Khan if they think Western Muslim identity is unique.
Speak Free asked Khadijah Chmilovska and Anam Majeed if they think mosques in their communities are inclusive to different types of Muslims and if not what they think the solutions are to help make mosques that are vibrant and contribute positively to Canadian Muslims life.
|The Great Divide
Mosques have traditionally maintained segreated sections for men and women in a variety of forms; separate entrances, different floors, curtained prayer areas. But there’s more to a mosque than just prayer - and separating women from the action on the floor - from the discussion of religious philosophy or even the mosques politics takes away women’s ablity to meaningfully participate in the functioning of their communities.
Asma Mukthar, Sachli Zare, Faraz Khan and Imran Mohiuddin discuss this issue
|Stringing a Spiritual Harmony
It’s not often you meet a musician whose faith so deeply impacts his musical aspirations or whose love of music acts as a spiritual window. Dawud Wharnsby makes this complex arrangement look almost too simple. His views on music and its place within Islam have allowed him to surpass the work of his peers and explore exciting opportunities. The Western Muslim editor Saadiq Mohiuddin discusses with Mr. Wharnsby about his life as a musician, the state of Muslim artists and how they have matured.