Halifax woman asked to move from her seat to accommodate ultra-Orthodox Jewish man on plane

Airline says seating changes for religious reasons are very rare

By Susan Bradley, CBC News Posted: Jul 29, 2015 8:04 AM AT Last Updated: Jul 29, 2015 11:32 AM AT

Media placeholder

Woman questions airline seat move request 2:00

A former Halifax chef wants an apology from Porter Airlines, alleging she was asked to move from her seat to accommodate a man who did not want to sit beside a woman for religious reasons.

Christine Flynn, 31, said she was buckled in and waiting for Porter Airlines Flight 121 from Newark, N.J. to Toronto to take off early on Monday morning when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man approached.

Christine Flynn believes she was asked to move from her assigned seat on a Porter Airlines flight because the man sitting next to her, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, did not want to sit next to a woman. She said the man did not speak to her directly or make eye contact. (CBC)

“He came down the aisle, he didn’t actually look at me … or make eye contact. He turned to the gentleman across the aisle and said, ‘Change.’”

Flynn said she was confused at first, wondering why the man was speaking to the other passenger and gesturing toward her. The man didn’t speak to her directly, but Flynn said it’s clear to her that he didn’t want to sit next to her because she’s a woman.

Muslim sisters planning to file formal complaint after being stopped by police officer for cycling topless

Sisters plan to file formal complaint with police watchdog

By Albert Delitala, CBC News Posted: Jul 27, 2015 5:02 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 27, 2015 6:04 PM ET

Three Kitchener, Ont., sisters are planning to file a formal complaint after they say they were stopped by a police officer for cycling topless.

Tameera, Nadia and Alysha Mohamed took off their shirts while riding their bikes in downtown Kitchener on Friday evening because of the heat. They say they received mostly positive reaction, until a police officer stopped them on Shanley Street.

Tameera MohamedTameera Mohamed and her sisters say they were stopped by a Waterloo Regional police officer for cycling downtown while topless. (Submitted by: Tameera Mohamed)

“He said, ‘Ladies, you need to put on some shirts,’” said Tameera Mohamed. ”We said, ‘No we don’t … it’s our legal right in Ontario to be topless as women.’”

The officer said there had been complaints, according to Mohamed. She said the officer began backtracking once her sister, Alysha, began recording with her smartphone. The officer then denied having pulled them over for riding topless, before letting them continue their ride, Mohamed said.

“We went on our way and went straight to the police station to report it,” she said.

  • Waterloo regional police acknowledge there was an incident involving three topless female cyclists and a police officer, but would not discuss the incident in detail.

“We’re doing an internal review on the situation,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Haffner. “It is a current law that if a female chooses to go topless, that is their right.”

Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song wins international competition for high school students

Alex Song, 18, now ranks first on the Olympiad’s Hall of Fame

By Liam Casey, The Canadian Press Posted: Jul 27, 2015 3:32 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 27, 2015 5:28 PM ET

Left to right: Jinhao (Hunter) Xu, James Rickards (Observer), Kevin Sun, Jacob Tsimerman (Leader), Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song, Lindsey Shorser (Deputy Leader), Alexander Whatley, Michael Pang, Yan (Bill) Huang are shown at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Thailand on July 16, 2015.

Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song (Perfect Score) HALL OF FAME “IMO” Ranking No. 1 http://www.edupark.co.th/site/images/NEWS/17-07-2015-IMO/16-07-2015-IMO-02.jpg

Left to right: Jinhao (Hunter) Xu, James Rickards (Observer), Kevin Sun, Jacob Tsimerman (Leader), Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song, Lindsey Shorser (Deputy Leader), Alexander Whatley, Michael Pang, Yan (Bill) Huang are shown at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Thailand on July 16, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Mathematical Society)

The name Alex Song is spoken in reverential tones in Canadian mathematical circles.

The 18-year-old won the International Mathematical Olympiad in Thailand in mid-July, achieving the rare perfect score in the two-day competition against more than 600 high school competitors from 104 countries.

Song has had an incredible run over the past six years, finishing with five gold medals and one bronze against the best in the world. Now he sits atop the all-time leaderboard, ranking first on the Olympiad’s Hall of Fame.

The Olympiad is a big deal in math. Previous participants have gone on to win prestigious international awards such as the Fields Medal, given out to a few mathematicians under 40 years old, every four years. It’s considered by many as the highest honour in mathematics.

For Song, the Olympiad win wasn’t that big of a deal.

“I was definitely very happy at the same time,” he says. “But, I mean, it was just whatever happened.”

Nunavut’s first mosque under construction in Iqaluit

Iqaluit Muslims to build Nunavut’s first mosque

Nunavut mosqueNunavut’s first mosque is under construction in Iqaluit (Islamic Society of Nunavut)

Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, July 22, 2015 3:33PM EDT

About 30 metres off the edge of Iqaluit’s Road to Nowhere, construction is underway on the territory’s first mosque.

Right now, the structure is barebones – just four walls and part of a roof, propped up by stilts on the rocky landscape.

But by the end of the year, organizers hope the space will be ready to begin hosting Friday prayer sessions for the 100 or so Muslims living in the city.

Convert to Islam says they are a “double minority”

Study examines reasons behind conversion to Islam

CBC News Posted: Jul 27, 2015 6:11 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 27, 2015 6:11 AM ET

Media placeholderA group of Muslims in Ottawa are seeking to change the conversation around conversion.

Muslim Link hosted a public meeting at city hall Saturday to discuss the stigma they said is attached to new converts to Islam because of a few radicalized converts — and to come up with possible ways to better understand and support converts.

Prof. Scott Flower of the University of Melbourne is leading the first academic study in Canada, funded by Public Safety Canada, to look at the reasons behind why people convert to Islam.

Stories of converts like Ottawa’s John Maguire, who joined ISIS in Syria, have created an extremely negative perception around converting to Islam, Flower said during a panel discussion at Saturday’s meeting.

But it’s a perception that simply doesn’t hold up, he said.

Islam convertChelby Marie Daigle converted to Islam several years ago. She said converts to Islam can be misunderstood by both the broader public and within the Muslim community. (CBC)

“A very, very small number of converts become politically active, let alone radicalized,” Flower said.