Literary Nonfiction. This book gives us a detailed look at the Muslim presence in Canada, starting with the pioneer settlers from Syria/Lebanon and the Balkans in the early twentieth century and moving on to the more modern mid-century arrivals from South Asia and Africa. Told in their own words, the stories collected here give us a rare insight into the lives and struggles of these pioneer Muslims. Gangs of Punjabi men in the timber mills of British Columbia; Lebanese Arabs on foot or with horse carts peddling wares along the rural highways of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba; men venturing north on dog sleighs to trade for fur with the Natives; young women arriving to start families and soon to become matriarchs; peddlers and shopkeepers serving small provincial towns and big cities; finally, students and professionals arriving in the postwar urban centres. Wherever they went, they bore the brunt of xenophobia and acknowledged kindnesses. Adapting to their new country, they sought out fellow worshippers and set up small centres and mosques. A Muslim identity was retained but diversified.
Murray Hogben was born in Toronto in 1935 and grew up in Ottawa. In 1957 he earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and then a journalism degree at Carleton University. There he met an Indian Muslim student, Alia Rauf, duly became a Muslim in 1956, and they married in 1959. Working for the CBC in Toronto, he became secretary in 1960 of the new Muslim Society of Toronto for years. Also, starting in 1965, he began to earn a doctorate in history from the University of Toronto, graduating in 1973. He then taught at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston and then at le College militaire royal de Saint-Jean, in Quebec. Murray then joined the Kingston Whig-Standard in 1979 as a reporter and columnist until 2000. Meanwhile, he had also become secretary of the Islamic Society of Kingston, a volunteer Muslim chaplain at several prisons, secretary of the Kingston Police race relations advisory committee, and for decades canoeing instructor and arts and crafts director at a camp for Muslim girls and boys. He and Alia live on their hobby farm near Kingston.
Author City: GANANOQUE, ON CAN