With our last post on Friday, we marked the end of our Muslims of Ottawa photography project. We’ve come across twenty very extraordinary people, heard their challenges, sorrows and driving influences. The purpose of this project was simply to connect with Muslims in our local community and give back by simply revealing their humanity.
"I was born in Georgetown, Guyana. I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis since the age of 6 and was diagnosed at age 10. I grew up with a condition but it never has held me back. I like studying and education – I have a degree in psychology, I’m continuing with another degree and I’m working full time in the government [laughing]! I’m pursuing my second degree in sociology and anthropology and I'm really enjoying it. I’m a strong advocate for education. I have never felt held back by my condition and I hope I can be an example for others. Like they say, if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything!
… Make sure you tell them that I’m a very independent person!"
~ Bibi Majeed
"I grew up in a small, rural village in India. And at the time, education was not easily available. We had to struggle, walk long distances and work hard. Our parents supported us very much. And then, I made it to study at Aligarh Muslim College, a prestigious university in India, and the day before I graduated, my father died. It was so difficult because I had so many plans. I was always thinking of what was after my school so I could support and help them like they did for me in my education. It was very difficult.
When I left India, I was flying to New York City. This was my first time coming to North America. Sitting next to me was an American and an Irishmen. The plane was descending and we could see the cars on the streets as we came close to landing. They asked me what I thought about America. We hadn’t landed yet and I had never been to America before but I saw that the cars were driving on the right side of the road. In India, the direction is from the left. So I told them, ‘America is always right’!"
~ Uncle Mazhar
"We met at Brock University in residence in our first year. I thought he was Spanish or from some other country, definitely not from Singapore. And I was the only person there from Macao. Marriage has its moments. Its ups and downs. But now I really understand why marriage is half your faith. I love that he does all the groceries and has done most of the cooking for the last three years. Even after 30 years and all that I know [laughs], I wouldn’t change him."
~ Aimi (and Zainudeen)