The Thaqalayn Muslim Association are holding their first annual poetry slam this Friday. The association has selected the themes of justice and oppression for the slam because, as club executive Sumaira Ahmed says, the issues affect everyone.
The diverse global issues that will be covered include abusive relationships, racial discrimination and civil unrest.
The idea for the poetry slam came from a similar event that was run by the Toronto branch of the association.
“Theirs was competitive,” Ahmed says, “we wanted ours to be more inclusive.”
Therefore, although the association represents the Muslim community, they are encouraging everyone to submit and perform their poetry at the event. Members of all religious and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to share their stories.
Ahmed says the club has contacted other groups on campus for submissions, including the Women’s Resource Centre and the Native Centre.
The open call for submissions has encouraged a variety of student performers to speak.
“Oppression is a big thing,” performer Aishah Ananse says, “it’s happening in many different ways.”
Each speaker cites different reasons for wanting to use poetry to explore instances of injustice and oppression.
For Umer Tahir it was important to deal with the stigmas around abusive relationships.
“In our culture there’s a lot of stigma around partners, male partners, who are abusive to their female counterparts,” Tahir says. “It’s not really talked about. They’re more worried about keeping the relationship intact.”
Kirby Karoubi, whose poem deals with countries destroyed by war and dictatorship, says that poetry is a good medium of expression because of the freedom of choice and speech it offers.
“You’re not limited to anything else,” Karoubi says. “You have a paper and pen and you’re free to write whatever you want.”
The poetry slam takes place Friday, Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. in ICT 122
The event is free to attend.