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Creative Algorithms: From Islamic Art to Digital Mediaby Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies

We are pleased to have Dr. Laura U. Marks for a conversation on her latest work

Pixels, algorithms, and artificial life all trace back to classical Islamic art from 10th-century Iraq, 16th-century Iran, and other creative centres. This entertaining talk traces the Islamic genealogy of digital media. Followed by a conversation with artist-scholar Azadeh Emadi.

We would like to respectfully acknowledge that the land this event takes place on is the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations.

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The Shi’a Ismaili Centre Vancouver (ICV) in Burnaby designed by Bruno Freschi, is a synthesis of traditional Islamic architectural principles and modern construction techniques.

The Centre, inaugurated in 1985, is one of BC’s best kept architectural secrets.

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Meet Mohamed-Mamon Alhomsi.

Who ?

The “Baclava Man!”

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I have arrived early at MAC Islamic Centre Vancouver on this Long Victoria Day Weekend Sunday Evening.

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Zawiyah Foundation at 6945 Victoria Drive in South Vancouver.

This is one of the Islamic Centres I missed breaking fast in during 30 Masjids in 30 Days in Metro Vancouver during Ramadan 2017.

Like breaking fast inside the White Rock Musallah on Day 1, in a sense, I am tying up loose ends here from Last Ramadan.

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Inside The Islamic Centre of Nanaimo.

I eventually learned that 2018 is the first Full Ramadan at this new address, 897 Harbour View Street.

In time for Ramadan 2017, they BCMA had purchased this property and, perhaps like brother Ahmet and Muhammad in White Rock the other night with their carpet installing, the Nanaimo BCMA chapter were rushing to make 897 Harbour View usable.

For a brief period of time, Both the older address in the north end of the city was owned, and that mailing address was still being listed.

But that’s since been sold. This is the only correct Masjid address in Nanaimo.

So that answers for me why I found two different addresses online that had me confused a little bit earlier in the day.

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I’m boarding BC Ferry Queen of Cowichan en route to the Islamic Centre of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.

My intention is to join Jumah Prayers there on this First Friday of Ramadan 2018.

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Home from White Rock Muslim Association and Day 1 of 30Masjids 2018… I haven’t slept yet.

But I am repeatedly grateful to God-Alone that I am not homeless. That I have shelter.

I feed myself dates, coffee, water, a lot of water, plus a Nutrition Drink.

That does it for Sahoor, the pre-dawn meal Muslim take before beginning the Day’s Fast.

On days that I wake up in time to join the congregational Fajr/Dawn prayer at Ajyal Islamic Centre, I often pass by this exact spot in Chinatown.

Recent weeks have seen a gradual increase in the overnight temperatures.

Not this morning though. I’m sporting my winter coat en route to Fajr Prayers.

It’s hovering around 10 degrees Celsius this morning.

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There are a number of Masjids and Islamic Centres within Metro Vancouver that I was unable to visit during Ramadan 2017.

The Musallah in White Rock, British Columbia is one of them.

15531 24th Avenue – Unit 24 – White Rock City / South Surrey – British Columbia.

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On Wednesday evening, May 16 2018, after praying Maghrib at Masjid Al Jamia Vancouver, I walked along the False Creek Seawall while
searching for the new moon.

The new crescent was easily sighted.

The moon was quickly descending behind the city’s skyline, but remained clearly viewable for many minutes.


Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory, British Columbia, Canada

Tuesday evening, I prayed my sunset prayers in the small Musallah behind 888 Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver.

The plan was to walk across the Cambie Bridge, search for the new moon during the walk, as it provided unobstructed view of the horizon.

I searched for the moon, knowing full well it was impossible to see it from Vancouver.

I found free WiFi, courtesy of Canadian Tire on Cambie Street at 7th Ave.

Yep, Canadian Tire helps out 30Masjids, again!

I emailed my report to which is now posted :


Not Seen: MCW member Mr HiMY SYeD from Vancouver, British Columbia reported:

On Tuesday evening May 15 2018, after praying Maghrib in Granville Street Musallah in Downtown, Vancouver, I decided to walk the length of the Cambie Bridge to search for the moon.

It has been cloudless all evening.

There is a slight haze above the horizon.

I searched the sky for about 12 minutes, the length of time to walk the bridge. I did not see the moon.

I also found myself delaying making my intention to fast tomorrow…. Which would be Wednesday May 16 2018.

Jamia Masjid Vancouver was nearby. I fully expected them to not be organizing Taraweeh tonight, but just in case, I walked over and found my Malaysian friend Nasir on his smartphone chatting it up standing out front.

The masjid was quiet. Only one other person was there.

Brother Nasir and I caught each other up how we were personally deciding when Ramadan would begin.

I essentially re-capped what I first wrote about all the way back in Ramadan 2011, Moonsighting not Moonfighting.

Change the month and date and year, and that blog post holds up pretty well for the starting of Ramadan 2018.

I was all set to go pray the first Taraweeh extra night prayers at MAC Vancouver last night, with intention to fast today–Wednesday– yet found myself unable to hop onto the express bus which would begin my public transit journey.

Yeah, I wasn’t feeling it.

I walked back from the bus stop and prayed Isha at Masjid Al Jamia Vancouver.

What followed was both kinda weird and normal. It was “unusual” for me to say the least.

After we had completed the Isha prayer, Brother Badri, a non-Pakistani regular at this masjid run by the Pakistan-Canada Association, asked for shurah, consultation.

Are we starting Ramadan on Wednesday?

Will we begin praying Taraweeh right now, in a few minutes?

I gave my opinion, that I often file reports, that knowing it was impossible to see the moon tonight, from Vancouver, I still looked.

I shared how I almost always follow calculations, even though I personally look for the new moon.

Yet this one time, with only a little bit of South America being the only spot where an optical-aided moonsighting was possible, I was not “feeling” I should go with calculation to determine start of Ramadan.

At Isha Time last night, the vast majority of countries and localities globally as far as I could see online via my blackberry, were starting Ramadan on Thursday.

That, and no one from the Board itself nor the Taraweeh Leader being present at the Jamia Masjid Vancouver, helped seal the deal, as it were.

So in that masjid, with that combination of people, we decided to start fasting on Thursday.

No Taraweeh.

All that to say, I am not fasting today, Wednesday, though the Muslims I usually hang out with at Ajyal Islamic Centre, have started today.

I also wasn’t feeling Ramadan had started last night after Maghrib.

Every year, right at sunset, there is light switch flipped on inside me, and the Ramadan feeling is there.

Not last night.

Brother Badri wrote the following on the Masjid’s Whiteboard:

Beside the manually just updated whiteboard, a printed BCMA Ramadan 2018 Prayer timetable was pinned.

There is an asterisk* beside May 16.

For the better part of my adult life, I have chosen to accept Calculations to determine when I personally begin and end observing Ramadan.

Since starting this annual blogging project, I have always witnessed this Holy Month of Ramadan using Calculated dates.

That was my perspective.

I would write about people I met, and Masjids I broke my fast in, who determined their Ramadan’s Start and End by confirmed Local or Hemispheric or Global visual moonsighting.

This year, I swam across that river and joined them.

Mentally, I was looking forward to this day for weeks, if not months.

I fully expected to be fasting today, Wednesday.

Instead, I went with my heart.

I will begin Fasting on Thursday May 17 2018.

This is a complete surprise to myself.

Perhaps the first of many, this time around.

Ramadan Mubarak Everyone!

~ HiMY SYeD! ~