Category Archives: Arab community

OTTAWA: Gaza demonstration blocks main roads forcing communters to use alternate routes

A protest against Israeli action in the Middle East is happening Saturday afternoon in Ottawa, and police say motorists should expect road closures in the downtown core and ByWard Market.

The demonstration began around 1 p.m. at the Human Rights Monument near the intersection of Elgin and Lisgar streets.

Police say it will then move through the ByWard Market before ending on Parliament Hill.

Demonstrators say this is their route:

  • North on Elgin Street  to Rideau Street;
  • East on Rideau Street to Sussex Drive;
  • North on Sussex Drive to George Street;
  • East on George Street to Dalhousie Street;
  • North on Dalhousie Street to Murray Street;
  • West on Murray Street to Mackenzie Avenue;
  • South on MacKenzie Avenue to where Rideau Street becomes Wellington Street;
  • West on Wellington Street to Parliament Hill.

On mobile? Click here to see a map of the planned demonstration route.

Organizers say the demonstration should end around 3 p.m.

Police are asking commuters to avoid the area or use alternate routes if possible.

HALIFAX: First gay-friendly mosque ready to open its doors

Halifax’s first gay-friendly mosque opening this summer

Halifax Unity Mosque sharing space with Universal Unitarian Church

CBC News Posted: Jul 25, 2014 3:51 PM AT Last Updated: Jul 25, 2014 3:58 PM AT

Nova Scotia’s first gay-friendly mosque is set to open in the next few weeks.

The Halifax Unity Mosque is an expansion of the Toronto Unity Mosque, also called el-Tawhid Juma Circle.

The mosque is a “gender-equal, LGBTI/queer-affirming” place for Muslims to worship, according to its Facebook page.

‘Queer Muslims are having to reclaim space that they may have had in the past.’- Syed Adnan Hussein

Syed Adnan Hussein has been building support for the Halifax Unity Mosque for a while. He found a space this week and hopes to start worship by next month.   Continue reading

TORONTO: “I just want to bomb Canada”, Ali Shahi said on board of Sunwing flight 772

Kendra Mangione and Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, July 25, 2014 10:23AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 25, 2014 8:48PM EDT

The father of a 25-year-old Canadian man whose alleged threats forced a Panama-bound plane to return to Toronto Friday says his son has mental health issues and is “not at fault” for what happened.

In a statement released Friday night, Sadegh Shahi said his son, Ali Shahi, has had “mental issues,” including depression, anorexia and bulimia since he was 16.

“I am sorry for what happened on the flight, but Ali is not at fault. I blame the police and health system,” Shahi said, adding that his son “never got the support that he needed.” Continue reading

Protests against Israeli military action in Gaza held in major Canadian cities

Photo: Shannon Kelly/CTV Montreal

Hundreds of Canadians protested Israeli military action in Gaza Saturday with demonstrations held in some of Canada’s major cities.

The protests were on the second day of an Israeli ground offensive that saw the death toll in Gaza top 330 people.

In Montreal, several hundred people marched through the streets in the city’s north end to denounce the attacks.

Jaoudat Abouazza, who emigrated from the West Bank in 1977 and still has family throughout the region, said it’s been harrowing watching the tragedy unfold. Continue reading

CALGARY: Israeli–Palestinian conflict brought into Canadian streets

July 18, 2014 7:48 pm

Tensions flare at Calgary protest over conflict in Gaza Strip

By   Global News

CALGARY- A protest in downtown Calgary about the conflict in the Gaza Stripturned violent on Friday.

Around 6 p.m., hundreds of people gathered in front of City Hall in support of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza. However, a handful of Israeli supporters showed up, and a confrontation broke out.

Some men began pushing and shoving, and one man even stomped on an Israeli flag.

That prompted police to get involved, and a line of police officers set up across Macleod Trail to try and ease tensions.

As a result, all four lanes of Macleod Trail near Olympic Plaza were shut down.

(…)

MONTREAL: Billionaire Tunisian refugee complaining he has no money to pay his chauffeur, the $5,000 monthly rent and children’s private school fees

Canada’s billionaire refugee having a hard time making ends meet

Republish Reprint

 | July 11, 2014 6:22 PM ET
More from Graeme Hamilton | @grayhamilton

Belhassen Trabelsi in happier days before the fall of his brother-in-law, Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

AFPBelhassen Trabelsi in happier days before the fall of his brother-in-law, Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

MONTREAL — The chauffeur goes unpaid, the children’s private school fees are in arrears and making the $5,000 monthly rent is a struggle.

Life in Canada is not as rosy as Belhassen Trabelsi imagined when the billionaire fled Tunisia in 2011 in the midst of a popular uprising that drove his brother-in-law, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, from the presidential palace.

And new Federal Court ruling rejecting a bid by Mr. Trabelsi and his wife, Zohra Djilani, to loosen financial restrictions placed on them means things are not going to get better soon.

The June 27 decision by Justice Jocelyne Gagné upholds Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s June 2013 denial of a request from the couple to unblock $109,680 to cover living expenses and legal fees.

Under federal law, Mr. Trabelsi, Ms. Djilani and their four minor children are listed as “politically exposed foreign persons” whose assets in Canada have been frozen at the request of Tunisian authorities because of their close ties to the deposed president. (Mr. Trabelsi’s sister is married to Mr. Ben Ali.)

Judge Gagné concluded the Trabelsi family has managed to maintain a “quite high” lifestyle since arriving in Montreal in January 2011, and the funds claimed were not necessary to meet their reasonable expenses.

Court documents show the money would be used to cover nearly $10,000 a month in living expenses over six months, including $5,000 in rent, $1,740 for a chauffeur and $240 for cigarettes. Legal fees accounted for $30,000 and private school fees $25,000.

The family members are seeking refugee status after being stripped of Canadian permanent residency obtained in the 1990s. They say they would be in danger of persecution, torture and death if returned to Tunisia.

In a 2008 diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks in 2011, the U.S. embassy in Tunis called Mr. Ben Ali’s extended family a “quasi-mafia” and singled out the “strong-arm tactics and flagrant abuse of the system” of the Trabelsi clan.

“Belhassen Trabelsi is the most notorious family member and is rumoured to have been involved in a wide range of corruption schemes,” the cable said.

Mr. Trabelsi has been convicted in absentia and sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption, including illegal trade in precious metals and illegal transfer of currency.

Court documents depict him as a broken man since being forced to flee Tunisia.

A 2012 psychologist’s report entered into evidence describes him as “a sincere but extremely anxious and depressed 50-year-old.” It says he is on anti-anxiety medication and at one point contemplated suicide, but was dissuaded by thoughts of his children.

“He is hopeful that he and the family can have a normal life and enjoy the freedoms in Canada as well as the Canadian lifestyle,” the report says.

The court file includes a 2012 letter from Ms. Djilani to Mr. Baird, in which she says her wealth and that of her husband was not acquired illegally or fraudulently. She likens the federal government’s list designating her family as “politically exposed” to “Nazi lists that the world contests to this day.”

She depicts her family as “victims of a revolution and blind settlings of accounts … We came to Canada because of the esteem and respect we have for this great nation, a country of rights par excellence.”

(…)

Syrian gay refugees ready to come to Canada

Syrian refugee applications quietly sped up by Ottawa

Government promised to bring in 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014

By Laura Lynch, CBC News Posted: Jun 27, 2014 1:37 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 27, 2014 1:37 PM ET

Canadian immigration officials appear to have quietly sped up Syrian refugee applications following months of criticism.

Almost a year ago, the government promised to bring 1,300 Syrians to Canada by the end of 2014. Refugee advocates have accused Ottawa of failing to live up to that promise, claiming that they know of no privately sponsored refugees who have arrived in Canada as part of the program announced last year. Continue reading

Head of UN’s refugee relief hoping Canada will have an “adequate response” and open its doors to more of the 2.8 million Syrian refugees

Head of UNs’ refugee relief hopes Canada will have an “adequate response” and open its doors to more of the 2.8 million Syrian refugees.

UN refugee chief urges Canada to open doors to Syrians

Published on: Last Updated: 

The head of United Nations’ refugee relief is hoping Canada will open its doors to more of the 2.8 million Syrians who have been forced to flee their country’s bloody civil war.

In an exclusive interview with the Citizen at the start of a three-day visit to Ottawa Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres described the Syrian refugee crisis as “the worst humanitarian problem the world has faced since the Rwandan genocide.” Continue reading

Citizenship reform hurts good immigrants, newcomers say

Citizenship reform hurts good immigrants, newcomers say

Ottawa’s proposed citizenship reform will punish good immigrants, many of them say, by putting more hurdles for them to become full-fledged members of society

By:  Immigration reporter, Published on Thu Feb 06 2014
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Ottawa’s proposed citizenship reform will punish good immigrants by putting more hurdles for them to become full-fledged members of society, many newcomers say.

They say restricting citizenship won’t strengthen the value of Canadian citizenship — an argument Immigration Minister Chris Alexander made Thursday — but discourage newcomers from full civic participation. Some even wonder if Canada is still a welcoming country to immigrants. Continue reading

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