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  • Writer's pictureShawn Ullah

Perspective : نقطہ نظر

Sikander Atiq : Edmonton, Alberta

“As Muslims and non-Muslims, we’re at a point where building bridges is more important than anything.”

“The Mosquers had started in 2006, put together by a bunch of young Muslims from the U of A campus, trying to create a platform where they could dispel stereotypes and misconceptions of Muslims in a creative way. I had decided to join the board when I moved back to Edmonton, which was at the end of 2014. We started recruiting contestants on an international level, making partnerships with schools, universities and organizations across the world. Last year was truly a global film festival. Our winning film had been submitted from London, England. It was a phenomenal, beautifully made film that had half the crowd in tears.

The Mosquers is needed now more than ever. The narrative is becoming more and more acceptable, you know, the negative stereotypes, and sort of nationalistic ‘us versus them’ mentality that you are starting to see in the states, which is slowly creeping its way into Canada. As Muslims and non-Muslims, we’re at a point where building bridges is more important than anything.

The perception of Muslims has always been a bit tricky, whether we’re on the news due to global conflict involving Muslim countries, or whether you look at Hollywood. Our roles aren’t exactly ones that are complex, or roles that showcase our experience and narrative, we’re either the terrorist or totally secular. The Mosquers is not trying to make any statement about Islam. All we are trying to do is showcase the Muslim experience. We want to tell every type of Muslim’s story, and we want to be totally acceptable the way we are. You can pray five times a day, fast in Ramadan, and perform all the obligations of a Muslim, yet still be someone that anybody can relate to. Our primary focus is being an outreach effort, trying to showcase stories of diversity, and create a platform for conversation.

I hope people leave with a changed perspective. We want to create conversations. If I can get one person to think differently, we’ve won! That is how I think about this event. For me it’s all about quality engagement, interactions, and changing perspectives.”

(Sikandar Atiq : Edmonton, Alberta)

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