Winnipeg: Wrong Assumptions, Negative Attitudes & Stereotyping of Islam to be Cured by Diversity Training

National conference in Winnipeg aims to change negative attitudes, assumptions about Muslims

Canucks need to be open minded and need to understand that the freedom sack is truly liberating and protects women, sez Marwa Fadol. Ignorant infidels with negative attitudes about Islam must be properly educated….

By: Carol Sanders/WinnipegFreePress/thanks to Mullah

A recent poll shows that more than half of all Canadians have a bad feeling about Islam, and a national conference in Winnipeg this week is hoping to change that.

Shahina Siddiqui of the Islamic Social Services Association says conference aims to inform service providers of the needs of their Muslim clients

“Canada is a great place to be,” said Marwa Fadol, a Calgary school psychologist and speaker at the two-day forum for service providers that starts Wednesday.

“It’s very diverse,” said Fadol. “But sometimes people don’t have a clue how many assumptions that they’re making.”

Fadol hopes the conference put on by the Islamic Social Services Association will help teachers, social workers, law enforcement and settlement workers better understand their Muslim clients.

“It blows my mind, there’s so many assumptions,” said Fadol, who works for Alberta Health with kids in the school system dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

She sees teenage girls who wear a hijab, or head scarf, who’ve been taken aside by well-meaning teachers and told they don’t have to wear a hijab at school and if they want to take it off, they’ll be safe and protected and their parents won’t find out.

“They’re assuming she’s being forced to wear it, assuming she needs safety from her parents,” Fadol said.

“It’s done with the best of intentions but it’s not really helpful to the student. It results in the student being more conflicted between two ways of life.”

And it sets a precedent for hiding things from a parent, she said. Fadol hopes that a light will go on for service providers at the conference who have Muslim clients.

“The main thing is for people to be open-minded and to have an understanding of what it’s like to be a Muslim Canadian,” she said.

“They may not have control over the political climate or tension in the U.S. or the Middle East, but knowledge is power,” said Fadol. “With awareness and information, we can suspend some of the judgments and stereotypes.”

Close to 56 per cent of Canadians have a negative impression of the Muslim faith, said conference organizer Shahina Siddiqui, citing a recent Maclean’s magazine survey.

That impression often affects the way lawyers, social workers, teachers and other service providers deal with Muslim clients, said Siddiqui, executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association.

“It’s obvious there is need for information and… understanding for service providers whether they’re dealing with the established community or newcomers.”

And there’s a need for more information within the Muslim community, Siddiqui said. At the conference, the organization is launching an anti-domestic violence campaign with posters going to Muslim communities across Canada.

The first posters will be in English, followed by other languages prominent among Canadian Muslims. The posters will refer people to a national help line with access to interpreters, Siddiqui said.

Muslim values are not necessarily out of synch with Canadian values, she said.

Another false assumption is that Muslims are a monolithic group, she said. A primer for legal professionals about Shariah, or Islamic law, is also being unveiled at the conference. It aims to help them better understand where some of their clients are coming from, legally. The organization has also prepared a booklet for people who foster Muslim kids.

She’s hoping it will make people more aware of a child’s sensitivity to things like pets in the home and kinds of feminine protection.

“There are so many little things,” said Siddiqui, such as hygiene. “If a child is used to a certain routine, you need to maintain that or cause a lot of mental or spiritual anguish.”

For more information on the conference see

3 thoughts on “Winnipeg: Wrong Assumptions, Negative Attitudes & Stereotyping of Islam to be Cured by Diversity Training”

  1. that bad feeling is your souls peeking out to warn you ….they infiltrate and dominate and become the only show in town …Submissive’s will enjoy them but free thinkers reasonable folks who are not illiterate and actually read their book will be glad that bad feeling is there . better a person be atheist than choose totalitarianism …they don’t want our understanding ….they want us to put our guard down till they can convert us and then what is left of the free world ….personally will be dead cause am never gonna submit “God Bless America” letting shariah law in anywhere is sure death to freedom .

  2. ““There are so many little things,” said Siddiqui, such as hygiene. “If a child is used to a certain routine, you need to maintain that or cause a lot of mental or spiritual anguish.””

    Whereas castrating them just keeps them docile?

  3. I’m a Canuck, and I already have an open mind, which has enabled me to dispassionately examine the evidence and find that ilsam is a totalitarian, theocratic, misogynist and humorless political belief system which has no right to infest my country.

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