Growing up Muslim

September 8, 2007

Author: Douglas Todd

Source: Vancouver Sun

Just before Mustafa Abousaleh jumped into his school team's dragon boat to paddle in a race on False Creek, the teenage Muslim prostrated himself on the grass in prayer.

Passersby stared.

But his multi-ethnic dragon boat teammates took it in stride.

"When strangers look at me praying, it doesn't matter; my teammates respect what I do," says the young Surrey Muslim.

Abousaleh doesn't even mind when people take photos as he supplicates himself outdoors during his five-times daily prayers, known as salah. That's what happened when he and his family once performed the prayers, which are required of Muslims, at White Rock beach.

B.C. teenagers who are devoted members of their Muslim faith are on the front lines of unpredictable change in multicultural Canada, blending their families' 1,400-year-old religion with West Coast popular culture, with secular lifestyle possibilities they often find fun, but sometimes trivial and distasteful.