Canadian Women’s Festival builds bridges of understanding
(June 4, 2015) – Canada’s premier Muslim women’s festival is set to take place on Sunday, June 7, in the South Western Ontario city of Kitchener, amid hopes of extending new bridges with the larger community.
“Since its inception in 2010, the Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo has presented an annual summer event to build bridges of understanding, friendship and mutual respect with the larger community, and to transcend commonly held stereotypes about Muslim women,” Fran Pappert-Shannon, Director of Public Relations of the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW, told IQRA.ca.
“Our annual event are totally planned and presented by Muslim women and our research tells us that it is the only annual Muslim women’s festival in North America and Europe.”
‘Tea And Tales With Muslim Women’ is the theme of festival organized by Coalition of Muslim Women of KW.
“This year’s event is very special, as it commemorates our fifth anniversary as an organization,” said Pappert-Shannon.
“The festival will not only allow the public to get to know Muslim women through art, entertainment and dialogue, but it will also offer an opportunity for the over 100 Coalition volunteers to experience the joys of team building and volunteerism, while utilizing new skills.”
The festival will feature the premiere performance of “Daughter of the Moon”, a theatrical fusion of spoken word poetry and storytelling by renowned performer Timaj Garad.
Amira Elghawaby, Human Rights Coordinator of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, will deliver the keynote address on the topic “State and Muslim Women”.
Opportunities for one-to-one dialogue with Muslim women will be available at the innovative “Culture Cafe’”, where community members will be invited to enjoy tea and talk with local Muslim women who will discuss their experiences of growing up in their countries of origin.
“We remain committed to providing an event that showcases superb Muslim female art, entertainment, talent and skills, while also providing a forum for the expression of the true state of Muslim women living in Kitchener-Waterloo,” said Fran Pappert-Shannon.
According to the Coalition of Muslim Women, its vision is “to contribute to creating a just and harmonious community where Muslim women are valued and admired for who they are.”
“We invite the general public to participate in this unique opportunity to get to know Muslim women through art, entertainment and dialogue, and personally enjoy chat and chai tea with Muslim women of many cultures! ” said Zohra Wali, Event Coordinator of the Coalition of Muslim Women.
Entertainment will include Canada’s premiere Muslim comedienne, Shelina Merani, who will perform a stand-up comedy piece, “Laughing all the way from the Basement to City Hall!” Poets Zainab Mahdi and Sana Abuleil will also perform original spoken word poetry throughout the afternoon.
Seasoned storyteller Fran Pappert-Shannon will present the Coalition’s story in an original tale: “Looking Back, Looking Forwards”.
Kitchener-Waterloo is a metropolitan area in the south-central portion of the province of Ontario.
Located 100 km from Toronto, it is the fourth largest metropolitan area in Ontario, after Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton, and the tenth largest metropolitan area in Canada.
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.
Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.
Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.