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Author: iqradotca

How global citizens can “do unto others”

By Susan Koscis (June 14, 2009) – My mother, who immigrated to America from Poland, often told me to follow the Golden Rule, to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”   This fundamental principle, which transcends nations, peoples and time, was echoed in US President Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University last Thursday. While his words focused on improving US-Muslim relations, it was also about the fundamental values that speak to who we, as global citizens, want to be in the world.   Obama noted that “the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart”, and added that “there must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another and to seek common ground.” The principles of seeking common ground are the foundation upon which the conflict resolution field was founded. In this approach, individuals, groups or nations seek solutions to problems based on shared values and mutual interests.   Having spent the past 12 years working in an international conflict prevention and resolution organisation, I have seen first-hand illustrations of these principles in action. It was unthinkable, for instance, that Hutus and Tutsis could live together peacefully after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, yet 15 years later and after the implementation of peace-building programmes, this is the remarkable...

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Religious Leaders to President Obama- Create a “Commission of Inquiry” on U.S.-Sponsored Torture

(June 12, 2009) – The President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Dr. Ingrid Mattson joined on Thursday with heads of eight faith groups in standing at a public rally in front of the White House (in Lafayette Square).  They issued a strong plea to President Obama to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate U.S.-sponsored torture that occurred post-9/11.  Following the public rally they met with senior White House officials and delivered a letter to President Obama. “Muslim Americans, in the spirit of the Qur’anic injunction to exhort one another to truth and constancy, believe that we must join together to confront the pain that was inflicted in the name of our country’s security,” Dr. Ingrid Mattson affirmed. She further stated that “Only by knowing the truth will the American people have the opportunity to develop a strong conviction that torture must never be justified.  By honestly confronting our transgressions, we demonstrate the sincerity of our regret and our recommitment to the rule of law and the dignity of humanity.” The event was sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) of which ISNA is a constituting member. NRCAT is committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The text of the letter reads: Dear Mr. President: As senior religious leaders in the United States, we write to give voice to the...

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Mosquers Awards Recognize Edmonton Youths

  (June 12, 2009) – Muslims in Edmonton recently recognized young film and video artists at the 3rd Annual Mosquers Awards held on May 30. The Mosquers is a video contest that encourages young Muslims in Edmonton to grab a camera and tell their story about life in Canada. The Larry Shaben Award, given in memory of one of province’s pioneer Muslim community leaders, went to Rosso et Aluz, produced by Saraa Mahfouz and Amir Chang, who won in the drama category. The Best-comedy award went to Sameer’s 30 Days produced by Fahad Shaikh and Shawn Kanungo. This year’s event was hosted by popular comedian, Azhar Usman. Two years ago, The Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations approached a few Muslim youth to work together and develop a creative tool to help decrease common misunderstandings and stereotypes about Muslims. The result was the creation of the The Mosquers which allows young Muslims to showcase their creative skills and dispel stereotypes about themselves and their religion. Go to youtube to view most submissions. They are also viewable on the mosquers website:                  ...

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Olive Tree Foundation Announces Grant to Tessellate Institute

(June 10, 2009) – Olive Tree Foundation has announced that it will provide a grant to support the Tessellate Institute in developing oral histories of the first mosque in Toronto.  “The Olive Tree Foundation is very pleased to be able fund this inaugural project of the Tessellate Institute,” said Muneeb Nasir, President of the Foundation, in announcing the grant. “Muslims are often depicted in mainstream Canadian media as outsiders and this project will show the early contributions of the community.” The Tessellate Institute’s project, ‘Mosque One: Oral Histories of Toronto’s First Mosque’, which is co-sponsored by the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF), will conduct interviews with Muslims connected to the founding of the first mosque in Toronto, which was established in 1961 at a site on Dundas St.  The project will also compile photographic, textual, newspaper or court documents that relate to the mosque.  ”This project will foster better understanding, relations and even integration between Canadian Muslims and other communities,” said Dr. Katherine Bullock, Director of the Tessellate Institute. “There is a need to anchor and document the civic history of Muslims in the Canadian mosaic.” The project is the first in a proposed series 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 Tessellate...

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We Need Al-Jazeera English in Canada

By Hussein Hamdani (June 9, 2009) – Enough is enough, we need Al- Jazeera English (AJE) in Canada. After only two years on the air, the channel has become an award-winning leader in the coverage of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Although it is available in more than 100 countries and broadcasts to more than 130 million households, shamefully it is not available in Canada. In fact, Canada is the only country in the English-speaking world that doesn’t get AJE. Hopefully, this will change soon. AJE, the 24-hour international news and current affairs channel, announced in February it would formally seek cable and satellite carriage in Canada. If authorized for distribution in Canada, AJE has committed to opening its first Canadian news bureau to bring Canadian news to a worldwide audience. This would make it the only international news channel to have a news bureau in Canada. This means the world will be showcased in Canada, and Canada will be showcased to the world. About time! AJE has more than 1,200 employees worldwide, representing more than 45 nationalities, including many Canadians — the channel’s managing director, Tony Burman, is a Canadian and former editor-in-chief of the CBC. AJE constitutes the most diverse news service in the world. Combined with the Al Jazeera Arabic service, it has 69 international news bureaus — more than the BBC...

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