Are you Canadian? Are you a young adult aged 18 to 25? Do you consider yourself “religious” or belonging to a religion? If so, you may be interested in participating in an academic research project for Queen’s University on religion, gender and sexuality.

Part of the project is a survey that seeks to collect information about the attitudes and practices of young adults living in Canada, regarding their religious and sexual/gender identities. The information collected will be analyzed and presented to a range of outlets (academics, organizations/groups for, and working with, religious young people, policy makers, and other interested parties).

All the information collected will be kept confidential and all identifiable information will be removed or changed in the research findings.

You can access the survey in English or in French. For more information you can visit the project’s website or Facebook page.

You’re seeing this here because I was contacted to help spread this survey to Muslim participants — and because I feel it’s important to have the views of Canadian Muslims represented. I’m not connected to this project. I’m far too busy with the girls to be moonlighting as a university researcher.

(inspired after finding Dr. Lang’s book hidden behind a stack of Foucault — and just some musings flying in-between meetings and the commute home)

When I was an impressionable, young convert I wore my Islam on my sleeve. Before hijab, I’d openly play with my “Allah” necklace and pepper my conversations with recognisable “Muslim” catchphrases in the hopes that I’d be questioned about my faith, just so I could tell others about the awesomeness of Islam.

Then when I became a hijabi, I became a quiet activist working with the Muslim Student Association organising events to bring “Muslims on the margins” into the religious fold. I spoke passionately about my conversion at lectures, worked at establishing interfaith dialogue, and helped promote Islam by handing out easily digestible pamphlets on “Women in Islam,” “Science in Islam,” and “Misconceptions in Islam” every Islamic Awareness Week.

Believing that conversion magically imbued me with education in religious matters (something that came much later with years of actual study, and really, is ongoing),  people turned to me for religious advice – seeking my knowledge on shaking hands with unrelated men, fasting for repentance, how to date a Muslim the “halal way,” or the permissibility of saying “Merry Christmas” to non-Muslims. I’d do my research online or delve into pamphlet Islam to find quick and easy answers – never once thinking to question sources or actively try to understand the impact that my advice would have on people. Why would I? These sources are sound – from pious, well-meaning Muslims who know better than me.

There was no problem telling people to avert their gaze from the opposite sex, that “hell is hotter” when struggling with the requirements of hijab, and that sex segregation made perfect sense in God’s grand scheme of maintaining chastity and encouraging the sexes to fulfill their “natural” duties and talents. I was more than happy to say that Islam guarantees the rights of women, JUST because the Prophet gave more rights to 7th century women (thousands of years before Western women got the right to vote! Because that comparison means something tangible?). Those who subjugate women today are just not following Islam and aren’t real Muslims. End of story.


Well that sucked.

I’m in the car now on my way home from the conference session. I spent the first 15 minutes keeping Eryn occupied, away from electrical plugs, smiling at the kind people who saw me struggling and who smiled back (“oh she’s so cute!”), worrying that the ground was too dirty for her to be crawling on, staring down mommy haters who were pissed that her two “ah!”s were too loud for them, and certainly NOT listening to the speakers.

So we left and played in the park instead and had a great time.

Not that I would have completely comprehended the topics at hand. As soon as the first speaker started defining “obtuse” Heideggarian terms, all I could think of was, “Rolley polley, rolley polley… Up, up, up!”

Le sigh.

Perhaps I’ll get my hands on some of the papers, because the topics were really interesting.

What really pissed me off was that they charged me $5 for the day, even though I told them I was just going for the one session. And the woman who charged me SAW me hanging out in the lobby for half the session with an active baby and even offered to get me a seat.

No. Thanks. I’d rather be getting my money’s worth in there.

So I grabbed $5 worth of yummy conference cookies.