Faith in Words: Poetry at the MosqueWritten by Baraa Arar
After Muslim Link's 10 anniversary celebration, I made a decision; I was going to have a spoken word event. At the mosque.
Yes, you heard me right. I asked Sarah Musa, a fellow spoken word artist, to embark on this task with me. I then wrote an event proposal and emailed to a contact from the mosque. Within a few days, I had the approval.
Honestly, I put the planning of this event off so this event came together in under a week, and I am so grateful that it did. Our sponsors, the Ottawa Muslim Women's Organization (OMWO), Islam Care Centre, and CAIR-CAN all offered generous support, and it fills my heart with humility and gratitude that they had my back. This reinforced my philosophy that we do not have to build new institutions but just strengthen existing ones. In supporting this event, these sponsors built a bridge that stems from new ideas and leads to a place of expression.
Sometimes, I feel like an outsider in my own community. But after the event, I can say that I have never felt more included and welcomed. As I gathered my belongings to leave the mosque, the imam came up to me, almost in tears and thanked me. Words cannot describe how this made me feel.
I didn't know what I was getting into when the thought of this potentially risky event occurred to me. Nonetheless, I am overwhelmed with the results. I think this event is a start; the beginning to walking the walk and actually creating a safe and welcoming environment for our broader community.
Spoken word is a medium in which people express themselves. Faith needs to expressed. The mosque has provided the space for this to happen.
I hope that at least one person
walked into the basement of the mosque during this event, and was inspired. I hope that we, as a community, continue to work together not only inspire, but to create.
The mosque should be a place to have a good time, to reflect, and to share ideas and exchange words in a respectful manner, no matter your faith or background. This is what we can do. This is what we have done.