Category Archives: Ethnic/Religious/Racial solidarity

TORONTO: Ratna Omidvar, executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), wants to “saturate Canada’s powerful industry networks with diaspora leaders”

Diaspora Leadership

November 2nd, 2014

Ratna OmidvarAt a recent academic panel discussion in Toronto on “The Power of the Diaspora Networks in Canada” at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, Ratna Omidvar, executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) chose to focus her remarks on diaspora leadership.

Focus on diaspora leadership

Ratna Omidvar: I want to focus my remarks on diaspora leadership, because I think a discussion on the rise and influence of immigrants in the areas of trade and investment must be about the rise and influence of political and business leaders who are immigrants.

In other words, it’s not the size of the diaspora communities in Canada that makes them influential, it’s the success of individuals within those communities. For example, how does a Canadian bank expand in Latin America? A successful business model aside, they will be better able to attract those markets by employing people who understand Latin America, and just as important, who have business connections in Peru, Columbia, Mexico, and Chile.

The good news is that diverse talent is a Canadian strength. We boast some of the world’s most diverse cities, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Toronto is Canada’s most diverse city, with more than half its residents not born in Canada. Close to half (47%) are visible minorities. Together, we comprise more than 200 distinct ethnicities and there are over 140 languages and dialects spoken. Continue reading

MONTREAL : Jewish community in shock after sudden death of popular teacher and parent, Sarit Malca


Teacher Sarit Malca’s sudden death has been a shock to UTT/Herzliah community.

Teacher Sarit Malca’s sudden death has been a shock to UTT/Herzliah community.

The United Talmud Torah/Herzliah school  community in Montreal is still reeling after the shocking and sudden death of  popular teacher and parent, Sarit Malca, who taught Hebrew and Jewish studies. On Sat., Nov. 15, the  41-year-old mother of two young girls, aged 8 and 5, went to the hospital suffering from severe stomach pain. Her condition continued to deteriorate and three days later  she passed away.

Social services agency Ometz has been in the school offering grief counselling. A Twitter hash tag #Herzstrong has been used to show how everyone will get through this experience together.

A native Israeli, Malca was noted for the work she did between the school and its sister city for a program called Gesher Chai, which linked her school with those in Beer Sheva. Continue reading

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.

Read more:

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.”


An immigration database