Unbranded and home on the range.

Spread the word, Big Bird!

Spent all day today at Dundas Square down at the Yonge St. and Dundas intersection. Basically, it’s Toronto’s equivalent of NYC’s Times Square.

I felt like one of those newspaper kids of the 1920s standing on the street yelling “EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!!”

It was at the Islam da’wah booth, which has basically two long tables end to end, with a large patio umbrella standing upright in between, with black and white text saying Free Info on Islam” plus the phone number to call. Its right out on the sidewalk in front of the Eaton’s Centre and right across Dundas Square, on Yonge St. itself, just a few steps from the corner. Its always busy, with dozens of people going by every minute when its slow, and hundreds passing by during the busier times. Most of the day it was just me and Br. Abdul-Rahman. We had lots of free literature, ranging from English-only copies of the Qur’an, pamphlets covering specific issues like womens’ rights and hijab, to various informational books about Islam for those unfamiliar with it.

It was my first time doing something like that but I’d have to say I was prepared for it – it was so much like a sales job – me presenting a service or product to potential customers which I believe will be of benefit to them. Many people curiously approaching the booth, some simply took the books or pamphlets and walked away, some politely declined with a slight wave of the hand, while others stayed and asked a few questions. Some voiced their appreciation at our efforts, saying they were indeed aware of the massive amount of stereotype and misrepresentation that exists in the media about Islam and Muslims. And some stayed even longer, to talk. These three Spanish Catholic chicks up for a visit from Mexico spent nearly two hours sitting and talking to Abdul-Rahman about Islam. They were definitely interested, in fact he even set up an appointment the next day [tomorrow] to have them come back to the booth at 12pm so that he and his wife could take them to a restaurant so they could talk more about Islam while eating, in a casual setting as opposed to out on the street.

The experience was made all the more amusing by the fact that today was an international day of protests against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, in major cities around North America and in Europe. The folks protesting in Toronto numbered less than 2,000 as I estimated. They were at the US consulate in downtown Toronto and then they marched south along Yonge St. towards the lake-shore, with the cops totally blocking the southbound lanes and intersecting traffic to let the protesters pass. Me and Abdul-Rahman grabbed as many copies of the About Islam books as we could and ran right out into the street, moving through the crowd like fish through water, passing out the booklets to the protesters who snapped them up like hotcakes. After I ran out of copies to hand out, I stood back and gave the marching protesters two big thumbs up while cheering them on.

And then of course you had the weirdos of Toronto, the poor hobos and the buskers and the street performers, all near us on the same sidewalk. This one really tall guy was dressed up like a witch with white long hair and a pointy hat, and some oriental-looking lady was 1walking around in a brightly-colored kimono, with her hair done up all Japanese style with some chopsticks through her hair. Yeah. I guess Halloween comes early in this part of town.



Filed under: Ghetto, Miscellany

4 Responses

  1. anony says:

    you know when oriental is used as a noun it’s considered a derogatory term

  2. maverick007 says:

    Hmm, I didn’t know that … up here its just used to refer to anyone who appears to be of Chinese / Japanese / Korean origin.

  3. ilanaislam2e says:

    -I live in Cali for 10 years with the largest population of *Orientals* in the US [and some apart of their native countries] I never heard someone against the use of that word.
    Yonge St. and Dundas intersection eh? Is this when they had the demonstration against animal abuse and people were in cages with signs: THIS IS HOW ANIMALS FEEL

  4. Naseem says:

    Yes I sooo want to do that. can you set it up for me? i have a friend that wants to do it too but we were told it was a boy’s only club. e-mail me at Thanks so much! Salam

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