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Author: iqradotca

Vatican calls on Muslims and Christians to tackle poverty

(September 15, 2009) – The Vatican says that Muslims and Christians share a common concern for the poor and can come together to overcome poverty. In its message to Muslims for the end of Ramadan, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue extended best wishes for peace and joy to Muslims and proposed the following theme for its message of reflection – Christians and Muslims: Together in overcoming poverty. “The attention, the compassion and the help that we, brothers and sisters in humanity, can offer to those who are poor, helping them to establish their place in the fabric of society, is a living proof of the Love of the Almighty, because it is man as such whom He calls us to love and help, without distinction of affiliation,” the letter said. The letter, published Sept. 11, was signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the pontifical council, and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, council secretary. The message said that the consequences of poverty on society are dire and require the attention of all people of faith. “We all know that poverty has the power to humiliate and to engender intolerable sufferings; it is often a source of isolation, anger, even hatred and the desire for revenge. It can provoke hostile actions using any available means, even seeking to justify them on religious grounds, or seizing another man’s wealth, together with his...

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Ramadan: a time to give

By Naif Al Mutawa A friend in New York recently asked me what Ramadan was like. Borrowing a chapter from my 3-year-old son’s playbook, I tried to explain it in constructs that would be familiar to her. I asked her to imagine a traditional American Thanksgiving with all her extended family present, where they fasted from dawn until dusk (while experiencing caffeine withdrawal and nicotine fits), before breaking the fast with the evening iftar meal. Then I told her to imagine that Thanksgiving went on for an entire month. “You poor thing!” she gasped. “Why do you think we celebrate when it’s over?” I replied with a grin. In fact, Ramadan is about more than just fasting. It is the ninth month of the Arab lunar calendar, and the most holy month of the year for Muslims because the Archangel Gabriel revealed the holy Qur’an—the ultimate gift—to the Prophet Muhammad on its 27th day. As such, I explained to my friend that Ramadan is a season of giving and one of the five pillars of Islam is almsgiving, or zakat. The holy Qur’an speaks repeatedly of zakat, commanding in one instance that “for every 40 camels, one is to be given to the poor.” My friend laughed, saying, “In this economy, who has an extra camel to give?” I replied that zakat was spoken of in metaphorical terms and...

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Calgary’s Muslims upset with MP’s brochure

(September 13, 2009) – Conservative Member of Parliament, Rob Anders, has upset Calgary’s Muslims with a political brochure that the community feels is inflammatory. The mail-out from the Calgary West MP said: “It is now illegal to hold opinions that offend radical Muslim activists…under Section 13 of the so-called Human Rights Code Canadians have been prosecuted for holding personal beliefs which offend radical Muslims, Imams and Liberal activists.” Anders listed human rights complaints against Ezra Levant, a former publisher of the Western Standard magazine, and Maclean’s magazine. The Muslim Council of Calgary’s spokesperson, David Liepert, said that Anders is spreading misinformation. “He’s basically spread misinformation among his constituents about a large proportion of his constituency because there are many Muslims living in his area,” Liepert told the Calgary Herald on Tuesday. “Any time you have a politician who, for political gain, targets a minority group with disinformation, it’s something that I think needs to be addressed.” The MP is attempting to gather support to scrap Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which deals with complaints about hate messages disseminated over telephone or the Internet. The Muslim Council of Calgary, which represents 10 of the city’s mosques, invited the MP to attend the Calgary Islamic Centre last Friday for an Iftar dinner and to discuss the issue. The MP showed up but he did not apologize for the...

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A day I will never forget

By Abubakar N. Kasim I will never forget the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I was heading for work. Although it was a bright day, you could feel a sense of darkness as if the lights had gone off and you were left to rumble in a dark room. I was glued to the radio in the car. Things were rapidly changing. I was trying to make sense of what was occurring. An airplane was reported to have struck the World Trade Center in New York. While I was still on the road to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport where I worked as a ticket agent, I heard another plane hit the towers. All the radio programming was disrupted by the sudden breaking news. I was stunned and could not speak. These feelings reminded me of the horrific atmosphere of war, instability and confusion that was in the air in Somalia during the civil war. I lived in a small town on the southern seaboard of Somalia called Barawa where armed bandits sprayed the town with bullets and heavy gun power one afternoon. The city was filled with fear as armed bandits of the Hawiye clan started violating the sanctity of the town. They shot at innocent people, killing anyone who did not listen to their orders. They raped women in front of their families and started looting. They were...

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What I Believe

Tariq Ramadan is very much a public figure, named one of Time magazine’s most important innovators of the twenty-first century. He is among the leading Islamic thinkers in the West, with a large following around the world. But he has also been a lightning rod for controversy. Indeed, in 2004, Ramadan was prevented from entering the U.S. by the Bush administration and despite two appeals, supported by organizations like the American Academy of Religion and the ACLU, he is still barred from the U.S. at this time. In What I Believe, Ramadan attempts to set the record straight, laying out the basic ideas he stands for in clear and accessible prose. He describes the book as a work of clarification, directed at ordinary citizens, politicians, journalist and others who are curious (or skeptical) about his positions. Aware that that he is dealing with emotional issues, Ramadan tries to get past the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding to speak directly, from the heart, to his Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike. In particular, he calls on Western Muslims to escape the mental, social, cultural, and religious ghettos they have created for themselves and become full partners in the democratic societies in which they live. At the same time, he calls for the rest of us to recognize our Muslim neighbors as citizens with rights and responsibilities the same as ours. His...

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