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Author: iqradotca

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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Legally blind Muslim student delivers commencement address at prestigious US College

(June 29, 2009) – On June 5, Mona Minkara stood before 600 fellow members of the class of 2009 at graduation from Wellesley College and delivered the commencement address. Mona Minkara is legally blind. “It’s an honor,” said Minkara. “I hope disabled students around the country can realize you can make it even though you might be blind, or deaf, or whatever your story might be.” A devoted Muslim who has worn the hijab head cover since sixth grade, she sometimes felt different and isolated from other schoolmates due to her blindness and minority status. But that didn’t crush her drive to succeed. “It’s made me stronger and taught me to be who I am,” said Minkara. At Wellesley, Minkara has served as president of Al-Muslimat, Wellesley’s Muslim student group, where she has focused on interfaith outreach. “It gave me a chance to be a liaison with other religious groups,” Minkara said. “It’s important to learn about each other, considering the 9/11 backlash and the awful things other Muslims have done around the world. It’s good to show that’s not what (Muslims) are all about.” A chemistry and Middle Eastern studies double major, Monkara will continue this summer at Wellesley as a researcher with assistant professor of chemistry Mala Radhakrishnan through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The daughter of Lebanese immigrants Fida El-Jamal and Samer Minkara...

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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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