Listen to our interview with Mohamed Hammound using the link below:
About Our Guest
Mohamed Hammoud has a Master’s in Comparative Literature from the University of Western Ontario, with a focus in Mysticism and Hispano-Arabic Literature, a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish with Honors from the University of Western Ontario, a Diploma of Hispanic Studies from the University of Salamanca, Spain, and various certificates in Adult Education, Learning and Development, and Leadership Development. He is a Lebanese Canadian, a husband, and a father to 3. He speaks regularly on the topic of Muslim identity and has a TEDx feature on “Reclaiming the Islamic Identity”.
(Click on this link to view his TEDx feature https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDd2MxoxuKE)
Mohamed Hammoud’s Professional Background
With over 25 years of diverse work experience, Mohamed serves as a Leadership and Diversity Consultant. He leverages a variety of tools and methodologies to help organizations harness the best in their staff and to inspire them to find creative solutions for the success of their teams and individuals.
Mohamed Hammoud is also a community activist, an engaging and experienced multilingual facilitator, a speaker and a trainer who has worked with the private, public and not-for-profit organizations. He has a wealth of subject matter expertise (Keynote and Pubic Speaking, Leadership Development, Brand and Strategy, Coaching Teams and Individuals through Emotional Intelligence, and Diversity and Inclusion). He is well known for his TEDx Talk on Islamophobia at the Awake and Aware TEDx Conference in Traverse City, Michigan, his work on Desire2Lead.com (Building Strategy and Leadership Training) and PracticalMuslim.org. He is a board member for the Muslim Resource Centre (MRCSSI), President of Toastmasters Inc. Autodata Chapter,a local representative of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, and part of the Muslim Mental Health Committee (MMHW) of London, Ontario. Mohamed is currently seeking the nomination of the Liberal Party of Canada in the riding of London Fanshawe and looks forward to serving others in this capacity.
This is Mohamed’s story…
I am first and foremost a Muslim and it defines how I see the world. But I am also a father, a husband, a son, brother and friend and all these personas help me relate to others and connect with them as they need me. I speak regularly at conferences and gatherings on the topics of Islamic identity, interfaith and authentic leadership, one that believes in leading from the heart through the lens of diversity. I have also spoken at TEDx.
My faith is my fountain of inspiration, from it I drink to replenish my belief in others. Change starts with us, and although we can’t legislate goodness and acceptance in the hearts of others, we have the power to change our mindsets, to reform a culture of bigotry, hatred and terror.
Together, we can build bridges, not walls. I ask Americans to see beyond our labels as Muslim, we are more than a name, we are more than mere labels: what matters is how we choose to lead our lives and what we leave behind. We can leave behind a legacy of good deeds and learn to accept others by building communities on the foundation of love and understanding.
We all come from different backgrounds, but we form one nation—humankind. We can build communities that are accepting of our differences and our contributions, open to embrace others through actions of love, faith and diversity. At 7, I came to Canada and as we tried to settle into our new home, we were told that we’d fit in better with Western names. Our Islamic identities were taken away from us as we tried to integrate and belong in a community that was afraid of the other. I begrudgingly become Mike, but inside I was still Mohamed, the young boy who had escaped war in Lebanon, now desperately struggling to belong in small-town Ontario. A new language, a new culture, and new friends who had no idea Mohamed existed.
By 22, I had fallen in love with Spanish culture, so I followed my heart to Spain to study. In Spain, I discovered an Islamic legacy that had united Christians, Jews and Muslims, a legacy legacy that had awakened Europe from the Dark Ages. It awakened me.
I could feel the history of my people calling out my name.
Suddenly liberated, I shed any shame I’d felt because of my Islamic identity, because of my name. When I returned to Canada, this journey of self-discovery took on a new meaning. The West was at war in the Middle East. The Gulf War sparked a fear of all things Muslim, fears legitimized with 9/11. It was a turning point for all of us, and the birth of a vicious war – a war of names. Terrorists branded themselves with names: Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS. Sound familiar? They hi-jacked my name to kill and to endorse their own perverse interpretation of Islam. Wherever they went, destruction and bloodshed followed.
They desecrated the message of Muhammad, the message of mercy, turning it into one of fear and death. Horrible crimes committed in the name of Islam don’t represent me any more than they do two billion Muslims who share our planet.
I am not guilty of their crimes, just as none of you are responsible for the offenses of others. At 50, living with my name isn’t any easier. The insecurities of a small-town boy still urge me to hide behind a silent mask of shame, but I am neither silenced, nor shamed, with a voice of truth, I awaken others to embrace acceptance, love and peace.
I wanted to do something after my TEDx opportunity, so I started a digital hub to reclaim the Islamic narrative, www.practicalmuslim.org and through it, I work with other Muslims to help address issues we face as Muslims. I welcome others to learn more about our platform and to share their stories, not only of challenges and struggles, but of triumphs and victories.
To learn more or to contact Mohamed Hammoud go to: http://www.practicalmuslim.org/contact/
Iqama Magazine is a quarterly publication dedicated to connecting and empowering the Muslim communities of the United States
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