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Author: iqradotca

Will Islamic opposition movements seize the day?

By Amr Hamzawy and Jeffrey Christiansen (July 30, 2009) – When it comes to democratic development in the Arab world, the ball is now squarely in the court of Islamic opposition movements. US President Barack Obama has spoken. Defying expectations that he would downplay domestic affairs and democracy promotion in favour of a more realist outlook, Obama used his platform at Cairo University to enunciate fresh policy. The United States, he stated, will respect “all law-abiding voices… even if we disagree with them” and will “welcome all elected, peaceful governments”. Obama was targeting a specific audience: Islamic opposition movements across the Arab world that have renounced violence, accepted the political process and currently represent a popular and potential force for pluralism in the region. Now that the United States is willing to engage them, what will it take for them to come to the table? Islamic opposition movements need the United States more than they are ready to admit. They seek international recognition as a serious political force. And they want the United States to define its commitment to democracy in the Arab world to mean applying pressure on Arab regimes for greater political pluralism. But they will have to send Obama consistent signs of their intentions. Their responses to Obama’s speech were hardly an example of bold outreach. In Morocco, the Justice and Development Party said Obama’s speech...

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Olive Tree Foundation ‘distinguishes itself in a quiet and unassuming way’

(July 29, 2009) – “The Olive Tree Foundation has distinguished itself, in a quiet and unassuming way, for being one of the most important and forward thinking organisations established in Canada,” Dr. Kathy Bullock told the audience at the Annual Appreciation Brunch of the Olive Tree Foundation held on Sunday, July 26 in Markham. Dr. Bullock is the Director of the recently formed policy institute and think tank, the Tessellate Institute (TTI), and she delivered the keynote address at the Appreciation event on TTI’s inaugural project, ‘Mosque One: Oral Histories of Toronto’s First Mosque’ “Since its founding in 2004, the Olive Tree Foundation has served our community with excellence. They have supported projects that address real needs in our community, of women and girls, of children and education, and of disabled Muslims,” she said. Dr. Bullock, in her address, elaborated on the Tessellate Institute’s first project that will document Muslims’ narratives as part of the Canadian social fabric. The information will be promoted and made available through a multimedia website that will provide open access to this research. The Olive Tree Foundation, earlier this year, provided a grant to the Tessellate Institute to fund the project. “TTI’s oral history of the first mosque in Toronto, which was established nearly 50 years ago, provides a wealth of data to demonstrate that Muslims aimed to live their lives here as good...

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All-new children’s TV series features Baba Ali

(July 27, 2009) – Muslim comedian, Baba Ali, widely known for reaching millions of viewers through You Tube appears in an all-new children’s TV series entitled HURRAY FOR BABA ALI. Likely the Internet’s most widely viewed Muslim, Baba Ali, has entertained over 1 million viewers on You Tube with a quirky and culturally specific humour. With the release of the all-new TV series, HURRAY FOR BABA ALI, Ali Ardekani hopes to capitalize on his wide popularity and branch out to a much younger audience. Canadian production company Milo Productions Inc has teamed up with Ardekani to create the television program. 13 episodes of season one are complete and 13 episodes for a second season have already been shot. In these short and highly entertaining vignettes, a child-like Baba Ali is taught basic manners and good behaviour by a group of children. This all new TV program for Muslim Children has already had many great reviews and has been seen in many Muslim countries on the English language satellite TV channel – Huda TV (Nilesat, Atlanticbird 2 and Eurobird 2). The series has also been release on DVD in Australia by One4Kids productions. HURRAY FOR BABA ALI will have its North American release in front of thousands of viewers on August 1-2, 2009 at Toronto’s 4th Annual MuslimFest for arts and culture. HURRAY FOR BABA ALI is distributed by Milo...

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Obituary: Syed Mumtaz Ali, 1927 – 2009

Syed Mumtaz Ali, one of the first Muslim lawyers in Canada, died July 16, 2009 at age 82. Ali, who was also the president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, notably spearheaded the movement to allow in Ontario the practice of Shariah law. He was educated at several universities. His first university was Osmania in Hyderabad Deccan, India. Back in the days when he attended it, (the 1940s) Osmania was a prestigious University to attend in India. There he studied under such notables as Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani and other prominent scholars such as Beoband and Nadwa as well as Dr. M. Hamidullah. He received a BA in theology and also an LL.B. in Muslim Law from Osmania. He had received various scholarships as well in those studies. Some of the subjects he studied were: the Qur’an (exegesis), Hadith, Usul, Fiqh, Kalam, Logic, Arabic, as well as other Arts subjects. Due to the tumultuous conditions from the unfortunate takeover of Hyderabad by India, and under self-imposed exile, he travelled to Pakistan where he practiced law as an Advocate for five years. Then he travelled to London, England where he studied at the University of London. There he completed the courses for an LL.M. in Muslim Law and also courses as a Chartered Secretary. He immigrated to Toronto in 1960. Upon completing the Bar Admission course at Osgoode Hall, he...

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Muslims don’t give back! Reality or Myth?

By Farheen Khan (July 24, 2009) – While working in the non-profit sector, I have heard more than once that “Muslims don’t give back.” With a large number of new immigrants being Muslims, mainstream organizations are always looking for ways to teach Muslims to give back and engage in the broader community. I disagree with this opinion and would contend that Muslims do give back. Perhaps not in the conventional way of giving, but we do in our own way. Many of us grow up volunteering and fundraising for local mosques and community organizations. We take time out of our busy schedules to run community events and attend community fundraising dinners. We are required to give Zakat, the 2.5% of surplus earning in charity each year, and many Muslims also give Sadaqah (volunteer charity). Charitable giving is emphasized in our religion, so that we are reminded about the importance of sacrifice. It is a way to rid us of selfishness, greed and vanity and it teaches us to live within our means and appreciate what we have. Then, why is it that people in the mainstream feel that we don’t give? In my opinion, there are two reasons that this is the case. The first being that, as Muslims, we are taught to donate money in secrecy to the extent that the ‘that the left hand does not know...

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