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Author: iqradotca

Toronto Maple Leaf’s Muslim Draft Pick

(June 28, 2009) – The Toronto Maple Leafs has drafted its first Muslim player. Nazem Kadri, a centre with the London Knights. is of Lebanese origin and will probably remain with the Knights for another season before joining the Maple Leafs. “A lot of Muslim kids are going to start playing hockey because they see someone like them be successful in that area,” Kadri told the Toronto Star. Kadri was the president of the Muslim Students Association in his local high school. “If this has a ripple effect on the young players in the Muslim community to take up hockey, then that’s a wonderful side effect. If that increases our player pool in a part of society we’re not touching right now, that’s great,” Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke told the...

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Shock Dead, Everybody’s Gone Mad: Reflections on the Death of Michael Jackson

By Hamza Yusuf (June 28, 2009) On the news Everybody’s dog food Bang bang Shock dead Everybody’s gone mad… – From “They Don’t Care About Us” by Michael Jackson As a little boy, Michael Jackson had an extraordinary charisma — as well as an absolute innocence — that was disarmingly charming. It captivated millions of Americans and eventually people around the world. As the years went by, his career took strange turns and he slowly turned white, transforming his face eerily into a pale and ghastly masque, perhaps to conceal the pain of alienation from his own self and family. He was also rumored to have unsavory predilections that would never have been suggested if one used the rigorous criteria of Islam before hurling an accusation. Despite the rumors, he appeared to have had a genuine concern for children, wanting to provide them with a world that was denied to him as a child due to the abuses he claimed to have suffered. I was very happy for him last year when he reportedly became a Muslim. He had apparently followed the footsteps of his dignified and intelligent brother, Jermaine, who converted to Islam 20 years ago and found peace. It seemed befitting that Michael sought refuge from a society that thrives on putting people on pedestals and then knocking them down. He was accused of many terrible things,...

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Freedom includes freedom to wear a veil

By Shelina Merani (June 26, 2009) – Stocking up on lunch snacks at Costco, I saw a book that immediately grabbed my attention. It had a picture of a woman wearing a niqab, a face covering worn by a minority of Muslim women. Intrigued, I bought the book, mentally congratulating the publisher for having squeezed $20 out of my pocket. They know only too well that the niqab sells, grabs headlines and diverts attention. It is also a lightening rod for emotions and fear. A few months ago, the debate raged among Canadian politicians whether wearing the niqab and voting could jibe, and whether women would be allowed to wear the veil in legal proceedings. It has been discussed in Quebec, England, the Netherlands, Italy and many other parts of the world, usually spun to create false controversy by right-wing politicians. Predictably, this issue is making the rounds again, this time in France, a country in the midst of identity crises. President Nicolas Sarkozy is making the burqa — a full-body covering with a screen over the face — his flavour of the month to deflect attention from his plunging popularity. Amid raucous applause from his fellow parliamentarians, he said: “In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity … it is a sign of...

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Book Review: Gregory Baum on The Theology of Tariq Ramadan

(June 25, 2009) – Tariq Ramadan has emerged as one of the most influential Muslim theologians in the world today. In this important book, Gregory Baum presents for the first time an introduction to several key aspects of Ramadan’s theological enterprise. Baum examines Ramadan’s work historically within an interfaith perspective, drawing several parallels between Islamic and Catholic encounters with modernity. His comparison of the debates in the two traditions suggests that reform and renewal are compatible with the substance of both Catholic and Muslim traditions. After a brief account of the evolution of Catholic theology up to the Second Vatican Council, Baum introduces Ramadan’s published work and theological orientation, examining both within the historical development of Islam. He outlines Ramadan’s theology of God, humanity, and the universe and discusses Ramadan’s interpretation of sharia, the divinely revealed Islamic way of life. The book then addresses what fidelity to Islam means for Western Muslims and contrasts Ramadan’s theology with the theological liberalism advocated by some Muslim authors. Throughout, Baum makes helpful connections between Islam and Vatican II Catholicism; he concludes by examining points of difference between Muslim and Catholic theology that support further interfaith dialogue. Gregory Baum, professor emeritus at McGill University and the founding editor of The Ecumenist, is the author of many books, including Signs of the Times: Religious Pluralism and Economic Injustice and Religion and Alienation. Gregory Baum...

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Let’s talk about faith

By Al-Husein N. Madhany (June 24, 2009) – The day before November’s US presidential election, I was checking my bags in at the San Francisco airport. I handed my driver’s license to the woman behind the counter and told her my name. When she looked at me, I could tell there was confusion and apprehension behind her mask of polite professionalism. I’d seen that look many times before. “I’m sorry”, she said carefully, apparently apologizing for her reaction to my name. “My first name is al-Husein”, I replied, winding up my wicked curveball. “You know, like Saddam Hussein.” She responded with a blank stare and a nervous little laugh. Then I let the moment pass and steered the conversation back on script. That type of exchange had been a fixture in my life from the time of the first Gulf War until Election Day 2008. Muslims were the scary “other” for most Americans, but we existed in the popular imagination as inhabitants of that grey part of the globe beyond, say, France. We were not seen as neighbors who lived, worked and prayed in the same communities as our non-Muslim fellow citizens. The point of my well rehearsed airline agent-customer routine – and of most of my professional work – has been to draw attention to the blind spots in the relationship between Muslim Americans and the rest of...

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