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Author: iqradotca

Time to convene Canadian Muslims

By Muneeb Nasir (July 10, 2009) – The Canadian Muslim community needs to develop an independent identity from the American Muslim community. Canadian Muslim history is different as are our issues and challenges. One way of nurturing identity is to convene the diverse communities of Muslims in the Canada on an annual basis. This realization became quite evident after the recent Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in Washington DC. One of achievements of the ISNA (US) convention over the years is that it brings together American Muslims who are actively engaged in their communities, and as such, there is a vibrant feel to the gathering. The 46th Annual ISNA convention was recently held in Washington DC and thousands of Muslims from across the United States attended. In contrast, Canadian Muslims have no such gathering as that there has been no sustained effort to gather leaders and activists from across the various provinces and to develop a Canadian Muslim profile that is independent of the US. All the current Muslim conventions in Canada have been far too reliant on external speakers, bypassing Canadian activists, speakers and leaders and they are primarily talk-fests and revival meetings with no serious discussion about vision, strategy and challenges faced by the Canadian Muslim community. ISNA has essentially become a US based national organization, although it nominally states that it is a continental...

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Humans are Contesting Creatures

By Nadine Miville (July 7, 2009) – Humans are contesting creatures. We fight all orders, commands and guidance even if it comes for our benefit. God has given us a mind to choose freely, to think and to question, yet our primary way of response to this blessing is dispute. When we are commanded to submit our beings to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, we ask why? When the answer is given – because He has created you so as to worship Him – we again ask, why? When the response is given – so that we may know Him – we refuse submission and our relationship with Him is suspended. Who in this life is able to live without knowing Him, Allah, the Almighty, Rabbul Alamin? In our superficial understanding of this life, we constantly look for approval from the outside world, we look for acceptance – we are needy creatures by design. But, our neediness is misunderstood in the life of this world. I know this first hand. My life was one of neediness – great neediness – I confess to this. However, it may not need be a confession because it is an innate response to our Creator, Rabbul Alamin, albeit misplaced. Yes, needy for approval from others, needing to be wanted and loved at all moments in life, forgetting love for oneself. The soul...

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White House Senior Official Addresses ISNA convention

(July 6, 2009) – Valerie Jarrett was the keynote speaker on Friday at the inaugural session of the 46th Annual Convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Ms. Jarrett, who serves as a Senior Advisor and Assistant to President Obama for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, was introduced to the Convention’s participants by ISNA President Dr. Ingrid Mattson. Citing President Obama’s Cairo Speech, Ms. Jarrett acknowledged the Contribution of American Muslims to the overall development of American society and the strengthening of American institutions. She commended ISNA for addressing many critical issues in the convention: “increasing civic engagement and interfaith cooperation, protecting the rights of the disabled and elderly, addressing domestic violence, improving education and health care, expanding renewable energy, and protecting the environment.” Ms. Jarrett paid a tribute to the diligent work of Muslim Americans on behalf of the country. “As this Convention demonstrates,” she noted, “ gone are the days of describing distinct sets of ‘Muslim issues’ and American issues.’ Your work here is crucial in confronting the challenges that all Americans are facing. And you help advance the new beginning between the United State and Muslim communities around the world that the President called for in Cairo.” ISNA Convention attracted around 35,000 participants from around the country. The Convention featured 70 sessions, giving the participants the opportunities to address issues of Muslim and national...

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IQRA Blogging from ISNA This Weekend

(July 3, 2009) – The 46th Annual ISNA Convention is set to begin in the US capital this weekend. The theme of this year’s gathering is ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ IQRA will be blogging from this year’s convention – check for regular updates at the Editor’s Blog...

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Courageous people committed to peace

Hussein Hamdani (July 2, 3009) – Two inspirational men visited southern Ontario earlier this year. They came independent of one another, but their message was the same: The importance of peace and building bridges, and lessons for local communities. I was invited to a luncheon to meet and listen to Dr. Faisal Azaiza. Azaiza is the head of the Jewish-Arab Centre at the University of Haifa, and is vice-president of the public council for the Abraham Fund, which supports programs of co-existence between Arabs and Jews. He is an extremely impressive man with a heavy weight on his shoulders. As a Muslim, Arab man working at an Israeli university trying to build bridges between the Arab and Jewish communities in Haifa, he faces many challenges. But his intelligence and commitment to the cause is inspirational. The centre runs many programs and projects, but he chose to speak to me about the Social Leadership workshop. In this workshop 25 Muslim and Christian-Arab students and 25 Jewish students are paired with one another. In this course, the students learned to move from alienation to openness and acknowledgement of the other. This was achieved by the students getting to know each other’s culture, including identity and religion; and learning to cope and deal with conflict. He commented that the more the students interacted with one another, the more they realized that they...

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