Conference Session Descriptions

Keynote Presentations

Saturday, September 22, 2018
Keynote Address: Moving Beyond Facial Equality in Canada: Islamophobia and Niqab-Wearing Women

Presenter: Dr. Natasha Bakht (Faculty of Law, the University of Ottawa)

Islamophobia has gravely impacted many Muslim communities globally, but perhaps none so acutely as the minority of Muslim women who wear face-veils or niqabs. These women have borne the brunt of exclusionary policies, restrictive laws and vehemently negative beliefs from outside and within Muslim communities. They have been subject to prohibitions on their chosen form of dress in courtrooms, schools, citizenship ceremonies, work places and public spaces. The discriminatory effects of niqab bans include that they increase social isolation, political exclusion, economic dependence and vulnerability to violence and victimization. Niqab-bans also rely on a logic about niqab-wearing women that belies any grounding in their lived realities. This presentation will critically assess the impact of and rationale behind the niqab ban enacted in Quebec, An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality, and the constitutional challenge that has been launched against it.

Sunday, September 23, 2018
Keynote Panel: Anti-Islamophobia in Practice

Panel Participants: Bilan Arte, former Chair of Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Labour Congress; Jeewan Chanicka,Toronto District School Board; Siham Elkassem,Vanier Children’s Services, London ON; Shaista Patel,University of California, San Diego.

During this panel, we will get the learn from four community leaders with expertise in diverse forms of anti-Islamophobia in practice, within educational settings, social work and counselling practice, student and other social movements, community mobilizing, organizational change and mental health sectors. The purpose of the panel is to provide our participants insight into the possibilities and tensions of incorporating anti-Islamophobia within their everyday work. The panel format will include: a) a short presentation by each panelist about their anti-Islamophobia work; b) a brief panel discussion; and, c) an interactive question-and-answer with the audience. The panellists will join us by videoconference.

Plenary Workshops
Saturday, September 22, 2018
1. Framing Discussions: What is Islamophobia?

Facilitated by: National Council of Canadian Muslims.

This workshop explores how Islamophobia impacts our communities. The workshop will begin with an overview of the term Islamophobia and an exploration of some common myths about Islam and Muslims. Through a facilitated conversation, the facilitators will explore how Muslims are impacted by the negative public discourses about their faith, and, they will also provide some insights and recommendations about ways to support efforts to promote equity and inclusion for all.

2. From Bystander to Ally to Accomplice

Facilitated by: National Council of Canadian Muslims and Rizza Umali,(Candian Federation of Students -NL/ ARC-NL)

How do we best support those who are targeted by Islamophobia, racisms and xenophobia? How can we intervene in ways which both support people who are targeted and disrupt hate, injustice, discrimination and oppression? What are the similarities and differences between being a bystander, an ally and an accomplice? The purpose of this workshop is to explore issues related to anti-Muslim sentiment & strategies to effectively counter it.

Sunday, September 23, 2018
1. Know your Rights!

Facilitated by: National Council of Canadian Muslims and Carey Majid, Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In this session, we will learn about our basic legal rights and responsibilities as residents of Newfoundland and Labrador and of Canada. In addition, the facilitators will provide an overview about participants’ rights and responsibilities in relation to racial profiling, free expression, hate speech and hate crimes.

2. Roundtable: Planning for a Provincial Strategy to Address Islamophobia in NL

Moderated by: National Council of Canadian Muslims; Sobia Shaikh, School of Social Work, Memorila University/ARC-NL; and Jennifer Selby, Department of Religious Studies, Memorial University, ARC-NL.

Drawing from the insights gained from the previous conference workshops, we aim to engage conference participants in a guided conversation about planning for, and developing, a provincial strategy that addresses anti-Muslim and racial discrimination and strategizes tools of inclusion.  

Break-Out Sessions
Saturday, September 22, 2018, and Sunday, September 23, 2018
1: Engaging the Media

Facilitated by: National Council of Canadian Muslims; Sulaimon Giwa, School of Social Work, ARC-NL; Myra Saeed (MSA).

In this workshop, participants will be invited to critically examine media messages with a special focus on cultural, religious and racial diversity. Participants will also learn the basics of how the media works, tools and tactics for engaging the media, dealing with controversial questions, generating positive coverage and more.

2: Workplace Negotiations and Accommodation

Facilitated by: Jennifer Selby, Department of Religious Studies, Memorila University, ARC-NL; Carey Majid, Human Rights Commission of NL; and Ibrahim Shaik, ICNA

This workshop examines how Islamophobia can impact the workplace, with attention to racialized visible minorities. We will explore common issues around the framework of reasonable accommodation of Muslim employees and introduce other approaches.

3: Integrating Anti-Racism & Anti-Islamophobia in Organizational Policy & Practice

Facilitated by Sobia Shaikh, School of Social Work, ARC-NL); and National Council of Canadian Muslims; and José Rivera, RIAC.

Many organizations are interested in furthering inclusion, diversity, equity and meaningful social justice. This workshop explores how people who work within such organizations can advance and integrate anti-racism and anti-Islamophobia within their everyday policy and practice work.

4: Working Intersectionally with Muslim Communities and Families

Facilitated by: National Council of Canadian Muslims; Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador; and Association for New Canadians.

In many ways, Muslims in Canada are not unique: like other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we/they are very diverse in terms of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, class, language, geography, age, sexual orientation, and so on. This workshop aims to explore this diversity and how to best work with Muslim communities and families who have experienced Islamophobia, racisms, and other forms of xenophobia.


Department of Religious Studies

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000