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Staff member starts educational radio campaign for Ramadan

Mohsin Jeelani, a U of T Scarborough alum and Project Coordinator for TCARD+, helped organize commercials educating the public about Ramadan that will air on 680News. (Photo by Ken Jones)

Starting May 25, the GTA’s leading all-news radio station will broadcast commercials educating the public about Ramadan, all courtesy of a U of T Scarborough alum and current staff member.

Mohsin Jeelani (BA, 2011), Project Coordinator for TCARD+, was first inspired to do the commercials while watching a U of T professor speak on CBC. Shafique Virani, an associate professor with the Department for the Study of Religion at U of T St. George, had said, “The best way to fight Islamophobia is through education with weapons of mass instruction.”

“I just sat there and thought, ‘Oh my god, this is amazing, what he’s saying is so true,” Jeelani says. “Our project aims to proactively educate the general population on the basic practices of a Muslim during Ramadan. We believe that such a campaign will be a conversation starter in workplaces, schools, homes, community events and so on.” 

Twenty informational commercials will be aired on 680News near both the beginning and end of Ramadan, which starts on May 27. Jeelani says the ad campaign is less about directly addressing Islamophobia and more about starting informed conversations.

“I’m not sure if this is going to address Islamophobia, but I know for sure that when people are empowered with information, those folks are able to make better decisions and come to better conclusions,” he says.

The ads give basic information about what a Muslim does during Ramadan, and some of the reasons behind those practices. Jeelani says the ads can also help remind Muslims of the purpose of Ramadan. 

“Ramadan is a lot more than just not eating and drinking,” Jeelani says. “A major part of it is helping those in need, giving charity, and spending time to reflect on everything that one has.”

Jeelani says that because Ramadan is such a visible act, he felt it would be a good time to inspire more conversations.

“There are people who are not Islamophobic, who love all people and enjoy multiculturalism and are open to all these sorts of things, but they may not know about Ramadan,” Jeelani says.

“Our hope for this project is that now that you’ve heard the radio ad, now you can go out and start those conversations.”

Jeelani says he will be examining how the idea can become annual and expand to more platforms.

“I hope this is the start of something really great,” he says.



© University of Toronto Scarborough