Muslim & Indigenous women discuss faith & work

Panel featured Hoda Bayoumi and Kate Brant 

Similarities between Indigenous and Muslim communities allow for dialogue. 
On Oct. 22, the Islamic Society of Kingston (ISK) held a panel titled “How Faith Drives our Work: Perspectives from Indigenous and Muslim Women.” 
Mona Rahman, ArtSci ’93 and PhD ‘01, said panel members discussed how faith drives their work. 
“Rather than us talking, it would be better to go and invite some of the elders of our communities to speak,” Rahman said in an interview with The Journal.
The panel members who spoke were Hoda Bayoumi, ISK member, and Kate Brant, one of the Grandmothers of Katarokwi.
Rahman said the panel was designed in conjunction with Lindsay Morcom, assistant professor in the Faculty of Education and coordinator of the Indigenous Teachers Education Program (ITEP), to discuss how Muslim and Indigenous people can share and honour truth and reconciliation. 
“The initial idea [of the panel] was actually Lindsay’s,” Rahman said. 
Rahman and Morcom both designed this panel based on their personal experiences and interactions with each other’s respective communities. 
“We have both noticed that there are many similarities in our [Indigenous and Muslim] perspectives, and the ways we approach things, and we thought it would be worthwhile exploring,” Rahman explained.  
Rahman said panel members spoke to how faith can promote healing when faced with oppression. 
“We sat and had a conversation about how faith drives our work, and we spoke about how our faith helps us during tragedies and situations [...] This is especially the case in Indigenous communities and the oppression that has been going on for so long” Rahman said. 
“I think it’s the same with the Muslim community, especially this year and the past few months with the tragedies we’ve been going through.”
Rahman says, in many cases, both Muslim and Indigenous communities use their faith to build resilience and become stronger in the face of adversity. 
“Just looking at how Indigenous traditions and our faith in the Muslim community keep us going, help with our resilience,” Rahman said. 
Panelists said faith must be “put into action.” 
“You can’t just have faith. It’s good to believe and have faith, but you need to put that faith into action.” Rahman said.
She added that all the women on the panel believe action can come in many forms. 
“It’s doing good for the community, in whatever sphere that might be in: professional, community, within your family, and fighting for social justice. This is all faith driven,” Rahman said. 
Rahman added it’s important for Queen’s students to keep an open mind and listen to and learn new perspectives. 
“University is great because we get a whole range of opinions, you get to explore those opinions and have discussions.” Rahman said. 
“Sometimes we think we are right at all costs, and we don’t listen to other people, [but] we should always listen and take a step back.”

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