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Author: iqradotca

Lessons from a treasured grandfather

  One year ago, someone special died, and I am still coming to grips with the loss. After battling cancer, my grandfather, Hussein Abdulla Hamdani (my namesake), passed away on July 10, 2008. In Arabic, the word for treasure is the same root word for grandparent. In other words, there is an understanding in the Arabic culture that a grandparent should be seen and treated as a priceless treasure: a source of wisdom, insight and good judgment. I would like to dedicate the next two columns to my grandfather, share what some of his wisdom and teachings were to me, and hopefully, this will benefit readers. I cannot possibly capture in these short columns all or even most of my grandfather’s profound accomplishments, but I will try to highlight a few life lessons for the reader’s benefit. Even though this story is unique, it is not that far off from the stories of countless immigrants and refugees who come to Canada looking for a better life. My grandfather’s life story is quite inspiring. His father left the small Yemeni village of Toudan in the province of Hamdan to settle in Kampala, Uganda, in East Africa. In September 1922, my grandfather was born in Uganda (my father and I were also born in Uganda). Both his parents died when my grandfather was a young man. He was forced to take...

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Concern at Anti-Muslim Attacks in Ottawa and Vancouver

(August 1, 2009) The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today expressed concern regarding the recent round of unprovoked attacks in Vancouver and Ottawa targeting Canadian Muslims. In Ottawa two Muslim women who wear the hijab were attacked by the same assailant while walking in the street—one was punched in the shoulder and the other was kicked in the leg. In Vancouver, a Muslim journalist seated in a bus after leaving prayer and dressed in traditional attire was called “Bin Laden” repeatedly by another passenger who subsequently punched him in the head for which he required hospital care. “All Canadians, including Muslims and their fellow citizens of conscience, are disgusted by these types of cowardly and hateful acts and law enforcement officials are urged to investigate these as potential hate crimes and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” said CAIR-CAN Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee. “We encourage Canadian Muslims to report any acts of violence or vandalism against their persons or property to the appropriate authorities and to CAIR-CAN so that a clear record can be kept of these incidents,” said...

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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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