Category Archives: Ethnic/Religious/Racial solidarity

KITCHENER, ON: Sikh community celebrates Sikh Remembrance Day

Metroland News Service Royal Military School cadet Sarab Jot Singh, Gurjanb Singh and Resham Singh Rana of the Golden Triangle Sikh Association salute after laying a wreath during Sikh Remembrance Day ceremonies at Mount Hope Cemetery.

KITCHENER — Pte. Buckam Singh may not have had the right to vote, but he still fought and died for his adopted country.

Eight years after his gravesite was discovered in Kitchener’s Mount Hope Cemetery, hundreds gathered around his final resting place to pay tribute to the Sikh soldier, whose story was lost to history for decades.

Pte. Singh, who came to Canada as a teenaged farm labourer, enlisted in the First World War, was wounded in battle and died in 1919 in a Kitchener military hospital, was buried here without ceremony shortly after the war ended. Continue reading

IQALUIT, NUNAVUT: The 80 Muslims predict their number will quadruple in the next two decades

‘It’s gonna be nice. It’s gonna be beautiful. It’s gonna stand out in the city as a nice new building’

CBC News Posted: May 16, 2014 5:55 AM CT Last Updated: May 16, 2014 5:55 AM CT

A growing Muslim community in Iqaluit is getting help to build a mosque from the same foundation that helped establish mosques in Inuvik, N.W.T., and Thompson, Man.

It would be the first official Islamic place of worship in Nunavut.

“It’s gonna be nice. It’s gonna be beautiful. It’s gonna stand out in the city as a nice new building,” said Hussain Guisti of the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, a Manitoba-based Islamic charity.

mi-hussain-guisti-mosqueHussain Guisti of the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation says his group is working with the Islamic Society of Nunavut to construct a two-storey building to be used as a mosque. (CBC)

Guisti estimates there are currently 80 Muslims living in Iqaluit, and he expects that number to quadruple in the next two decades.

“There’s been a tremendous increase in the number of Muslims in the past 20-some years in Iqaluit, and we anticipate that number to continue to grow because Iqaluit is a booming, developing city,” he said.

“It’s attracting people from all nationalities for economic opportunities and job growth.”

Guisti says his group is working with the Islamic Society of Nunavut, founded in 2009, to construct a two-storey building.

Some of the materials are already in town and more will arrive on sealifts this summer.

They are looking at a site near the Road to Nowhere. The city says the group would have to apply to amend the zoning bylaw for the area.

The Islamic Society of Nunavut and the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation are still raising funds locally and in the south to help pay for the building and the associated costs.

Surrey family doctor Dr. Parmjit Sohal named Canada’s Family Physician of the Year for B.C.

In an interview, he talks about his passion for family medicine and helping members of his community

Surrey’s Dr. Parmjit Sohal doctor named family physician of the year for B.C.

Dr. Parmjit Sohal, shown at his office in Surrey, said being named Canada’s Family Physician of the Year for B.C. was ‘the ultimate honour.’

Photograph by: Jason Payne , VANCOUVER SUN

Surrey family doctor Dr. Parmjit Sohal has been named Canada’s Family Physician of the Year for B.C. by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

The college selects one doctor from each province to receive the prestigious award. Sohal is an expert in the treatment and management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease with a focus on the South Asian community and has had numerous studies published on the subject. The college says he has “set the standard as a dedicated family doctor and a caring member of his community.”

Since 1997, Sohal has been a family physician in Surrey and a clinical associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of B.C. He also teaches at Surrey Memorial Hospital. He took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk to The Vancouver Sun about his passion for family medicine and helping members of his community, many of whom suffer from diabetes. The following interview has been edited for length and space.

Q: This is a prestigious award. How do you feel about being named physician of the year?

A: Oh this really means a lot to me. I’m really honoured to receive this award. Any family doctor would love to receive an award from the college, but to receive Physician of the Year is the ultimate honour. I’m just so pleased and humble and honoured.

Q: The focus of your research is in diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the South Asian community. What drew you to specialize in this area?

A: The South Asian community, my community, has a very high rate of diabetes. The risk of diabetes is three to five times higher in this community compared with the regular population. The area of Surrey where I practise (medicine) is dominated by South Asians and almost two-thirds of the diabetes patients here are South Asian, so that’s a huge problem on the economy and health care system. If I can do something to raise awareness in this ethnic community and make a difference in the lives of people who have diabetes then that would be very good for my community.

Q: Why are these particular diseases so prevalent in the South Asian community?

A: They are genetically predisposed and when they come to these western societies, countries like Canada or the U.S. or England, they are living in an environment where there is a lack of physical activity, and they may have a lack of knowledge of diabetes. They may not have the cultural or linguistic care they need and may not go to the doctor regularly. Some new immigrants don’t understand what is available out there. So it is very important to provide the culturally relevant material so they can understand these things. Also a lot of people don’t know they have diabetes. I think if people are in this high-risk category they should be screened at a younger age (than 40) and more frequently. There are no clear-cut guidelines for primary care physicians. Even at age 20, the risk of diabetes is higher in this population.

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OTTAWA: Gloucester-Southgate candidate Meladul Haq Ahmadzai wants to implement Islamic rules at city hall

Candidates have some wacky notions 

ron-corbettBY , OTTAWA SUN


If Mike Maguire can sit down yet — after the thorough spanking he received this week over his transit plan — I want him to know the worst is probably behind him.

And for what it’s worth, when Election Day comes around, I don’t think his transit plan will be seen as the worst idea of the campaign.


Why just this week a candidate in Gloucester-Southgate sent out a press release saying he would adopt sharia law at city hall if he were elected.

Meladul Haq Ahmadzai says sharia law would “restore transparency and accountability at city hall.”

Not a lot of reporters attended his sharia law press conference, nor has Ahmadzai been interviewed all that often, despite his press releases always ending with the cheerful reminder that “the media is welcome to ask questions.” Continue reading

HALIFAX: Immigration consultant Ziad El Shurafa fined $75k for helping clients lie on their Canadian immigration applications

Published September 11, 2014 – 6:49pm
Last Updated September 11, 2014 – 6:49pm

A Halifax immigration consultant who helped clients lie on their Canadian immigration applications has been handed a conditional sentence of two years less a day and fined $75,000.

Ziad El Shurafa, 41, of Bedford pleaded guilty in April to five charges of counselling misrepresentation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

He was sentenced Thursday in Halifax provincial court.

Judge Michael Sherar said immigration consultants are trusted and regulated to guide people from other countries through Canada’s “daunting” immigration process.

“(An immigration consultant) has a privileged role to play in maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and the administration of justice,” Sherar said. “They must uphold the rule of law and act at all times honestly and in good faith toward immigration officials, without intent to deceive or undermine the integrity of the system, or assist others to do so.

“And that’s what we have here today.”

Sherar said the courts must deter people like El Shurafa “from trying to deceive the system, trying to circumvent the system, trying to get (their clients) ahead of others.”

“They have to know that if they get caught, they will be punished,” he said. “The way not to get caught is to not commit the crime.”

The judge placed El Shurafa on house arrest for the first year of his conditional sentence. That will be followed by one year with an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

El Shurafa is still allowed to work while he’s serving the conditional sentence and can travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for business purposes as long as he gets the court’s permission first. Continue reading

SURREY: 5th Annual DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards honoured ten members of the South Asian community


published by asingh on Tue, 09/23/2014 – 16:32

The 5th Annual DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards were held at the Aria Banquet & Convention Centre in Surrey on Friday, September 19. The event honoured ten remarkable South Asian individuals who embody the spirit of community and believe in giving back through their own avenues in an effort to build society. The evening featured a keynote speech by Anuradha Koirala, a social activist from Nepal who has rescued and rehabilitated thousands of females from sex trafficking.

These award recipients were:

• Young Wonder – Anoop Virk
• Artistic Visionary – Sirish Rao
• Industry Marvel – Anita Huberman
• Advancing Philanthropy – Gunwant Bains
• Community Crusader – Dr. Raghbir Singh Bains
• Corporate Engagement – Peter Dhillon
• Breaking Barriers – Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill
• Heritage Defender – Naad Foundation, Amarjeet Singh
• Spirit of Sport – Arjun Gill
• International Sensation – Anuradha Koirala

Also spotted at the event were Honourable BC Premier Christy Clark; Dianne Watts, Surrey Mayor; Jinny Sims, Member of Parliament; Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education; Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education; and Members of Legislative Assembly Harry Bains and Raj Chouhan.

Jus Solis or Jus Sanguinis for Canadian Sinhalese?

Published On:Thursday, September 18, 2014
Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian

by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

 ( September 18, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Our culture determines the order in which we think. Racism happens when there is conflict in this order of thinking due to different ethnicity based thought orders. Migrants who use the cultural system of their country of origin are in reality using Jus Sanguinis (Citizenship law by blood). Migrants who use the cultural system of their country of residence are likewise using the objective system of Jus Solis (Citizenship law as per land of birth). The law would help raise our experiences to the common level. But harmony may not be achieved through some laws due to lack of knowledge of higher cultures. We must find the order that fits our own experiences so that our mind is healthy for us.
[For almost forty years since the Vaddukkoddai Resolution of 1976, the North and East of Sri Lanka had been a land soaked in blood -- Terra Sanguinis -- mostly "Tamil blood"]
Applying the thinking order of Thesawalamai – the law applicable to Jaffna Tamils North and East of Sri Lanka is therefore Tamil Land – for better or for worse. Continue reading

Government invalidates passports of those who join extremist groups

Government invalidating passports of Canadians who joined extremist groups

Published on: Last Updated: 

The government has begun invalidating the passports of Canadians who have left the country to join extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander revealed in an interview on Friday.

The minister told the National Post his department had also revoked the passports of several Canadians who had not yet left the country but who had intended to travel to the volatile region to enlist as foreign fighters.

He would not disclose the number of passports Citizenship and Immigration Canada had revoked over the conflict but said there were “multiple cases.” The government says about 30 Canadians are with extremist groups in Syria and 130 are active elsewhere.

“Yes, I think it’s safe to say that there are cases of revocation of passports involving people who’ve gone to Syria and Iraq already,” Alexander said. “I just don’t want to get into the numbers, but multiple cases.”

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander would not disclose the number of passports Citizenship and Immigration Canada had revoked over the conflict but said there were “multiple cases.”

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander would not disclose the number of passports Citizenship and Immigration Canada had revoked over the conflict but said there were “multiple cases.”

The action means Canadian fighters in Syria and Iraq may effectively be stranded there. Their passports are no longer valid and therefore cannot be used to return to Canada. Nor could they be used to travel elsewhere.

This week the Post revealed the identity of another Canadian with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Mohamed Ali, a 23-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., left Canada in April and later wrote online about playing soccer with severed heads.

Other Canadians allegedly with ISIL and similar extremist groups in the region include Hasibullah Yusifzai of Burnaby, B.C., and Calgary’s Farah Shirdon, who this week threatened attacks on the United States, before Twitter suspended his account.

Alexander said while they were few in number, he was troubled that Canadians had joined ISIL, which has been committing widespread atrocities in an attempt to impose its militant version of Islamic law on Syrians and Iraqis.

“We are not by any means the leading contributor of foreign fighters to Syria, even though the dozens that are there and the 130 that are abroad (with other extremist groups) is a disturbing number for all Canadians. But we want to ensure that Canada’s good name is not besmirched by these people any more than it already has been and that Canadians are protected.”


Binoy Thomas on why Western-educated Muslims join ISIS

Why Western-educated Muslim Youth Embrace IS?

Why Western-educated Muslim Youth Embrace IS?

Why Western-educated Muslim Youth Embrace IS?


Why are so many Muslim youth, born and raised in the liberal West fighting alongside Islamic State for a cause that they believe would see Islam as it existed a thousand years ago, as the dominant force in the world?

What did the West do so wrong that they have pushed them so far into the past to be mindless barbarians?

The liberal Western intellectuals do not want to discuss it, because if you scratch that scab, the fingers will point right back at these very same ivory tower influencers who always had an excuse for all sorts of bad behaviour.

Look at the way, we treat our classrooms, where bad behaviour becomes an opportunity for governments and unions to create committees and reports that put real dollars into the hands of friends and sympathizers. The most egregious of these elements are in the left of the political and media spectrum (ie. if they are any different from each other). I remember one report, some years ago about how many times Ontario students say ‘f— you’ to their teachers, and the people the writer interviewed were all either offering excuses for the abusers or showed no particular alarm at this trend. The writer had his/her own demons to hang out to dry, and that’s not to say, we do not. We all do. There was no one who said that it was just plain wrong and such behaviour has no place in a classroom. That would be considered rude and absolute, an anachronism in our fifty shades of grey universe.

The movement to pass the parcel (student) without testing them for what they have learned (play school stretched into adulthood) is yet another case of justifying bad attitude of those not wanting to put in the time to study. It might help the teachers to become even lazier than required under the law, but really, are we doing the young ones a favour? Or are we pushing them to be dealers?

What do we do with most acts of criminality, especially when committed by the youth? We blame poverty, lack of opportunity, social service cuts, shortage of basketball courts, discrimination, low intellect, alcohol abuse, climate change, anything at all that can help us detach ourselves from the actual job of stating the obvious or passing judgement. Often, after I read certain verdicts from the Canadian courts, I get the feeling the judge was simply too lazy to write a few more extra pages, which you need to do when finding someone guilty, and instead let someone walk with a gentle admonishment. Nobody wants to call a spade a spade without running the risk of being painted as a zealot. Continue reading

TORONTO: Chinese leaders urge community to support Olivia Chow because she is a visible minority and Chinese mayoral candidate

Chinese leaders urge community to support Toronto’s first high-profile mayoral candidate of a visible minority

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 | April 11, 2014 8:12 PM ET
More from Natalie Alcoba | @nataliealcoba


The deep-fried aroma of dim sum hung over tables dressed in canary yellow at the Very Fair Chinese Seafood Restaurant on a day that would have been ordinary, except for the appearance of Olivia Chow.

Before patrons greeted her with hugs, Ms. Chow, a candidate for mayor, sat sandwiched amongst nine members of the Chinese community in a partitioned section of the Scarborough dining hall, under two elaborate chandeliers.

They gathered this week to announce the first major fundraiser of the Chow campaign, to be held at the same restaurant later this month.

We should have someone from the minority community

Addressing the modest crowd mostly in Cantonese and Mandarin (they added comments in English for the benefit of one reporter), the speakers touted Ms. Chow’s record of pushing for Toronto’s multilingual 911 service, helping the Vietnamese boat people, and pressing Japan to apologize to its “comfort women” of the Second World War.

Lead organizer Joseph Yu Kai Wong called on the Chinese community to stand united behind Ms. Chow.

Tyler Anderson/National Post

Tyler Anderson/National PostToronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow (centre standing) announces a fundraising banquet during a press conference at Very Fair Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Scarborough, Ontario, April 8, 2014.

We are not asking people to vote Olivia because she is Chinese,” Mr. Wong, a prominent figure in the community, said in an interview. “We are asking people to vote for her because she has the quality, the integrity, and the honesty and the leadership, and the heart in the right place to bring the city forward. And because she is also a Chinese woman it would also reinforce my belief that we should have someone from the minority community [as mayor]. It’s about time.”

Ms. Chow says she doesn’t see herself as a candidate for visible minorities; “I represent all people,” she said simply in Scarborough. But, she hasn’t shied away from the issue of race, either. This week, when asked during an online chat at another newspaper how she would distinguish herself from David Miller, she wrote: “I’m not male. Not white. Want to start there?”

It is a start of sorts, since there has never been a high-profile mayoral candidate of a visible minority in Toronto, and none has worn the chains of office. Is it accurate to assume that ethnicity could play any more of a role this time than it has in the past?


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