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Author: iqradotca

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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Honoring Aasiya

By Muna Ali (June 8, 2009) – Much has been written about the horrific killing of Aasiya Hassan. The gruesomeness of the murder has become both a feeding frenzy for Islamophobes and a wake up call to Muslims. Aasiya, may God build her a house in paradise as her name sake- the wife of the Pharaoh- prayed, was not the first or last woman to have endured violence or to be murdered by a partner. But the brutality of her murder, the public status and professed mission of the couple, and the new scrutiny of Islam have all positioned this case in a category of its own. There is no need to enumerate the rates of spousal abuse regardless of color or creed, recall the high profile cases of women beaten or murdered by their husband, recite the moral and religious condemnation, or ponder what is going on in the minds of abusers and murderers. We already know the statistics, the theories about the “making of an abuser,” the scripts for declarations exonerating religions from the insane actions of followers. We also know countless women – and some men – mortally wounded in body and spirit by partners who are supposed to be their refuge from the world. They walk amongst us, concealing wounds with stories of running into walls and bedposts and covering their shame with smiling lips...

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Doha Debates: Arranged marriages should end for Muslim women

(June 6, 2009) – The male-dominated Arab world was given a sharp warning by Qatar’s Doha Debates that Muslim women expect greater  freedom in choosing a husband. An audience of more than 350 people who attended the last in the current season of debates voted 62 per cent to 38 in favour of a motion that Muslim women should be free to marry anyone they choose. In an often impassioned debate Asra Nomani, Bombay-born American author and journalist, said she wanted Muslim women to be able to exercise their basic human right to freedom of choice. Speaking from her own experience of a loveless marriage she accepted because she didn’t believe she had choice, she said Muslim women needed to “know the suffering, the loneliness, the lovelessness that often comes out of marriages where women cannot make their own choices…and their spirit is broken”. Ms. Nomani, currently adjunct professor of journalism at Georgetown University, refuted arguments that Muslim families should decide what was in the best interests of young women. She said families should “offer unconditional love and allow people to make free choices. “It is for us to show the compassion that Islam is all about.” Muhammad Habash, a Muslim cleric and member of the Syrian Parliament, who joined her in supporting the motion, said it was wrong to interpret the Koran as advocating the subjugation of women....

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President Barack Obama to the Muslims – just a speech?

by Tariq Ramadan (June 5, 2009) – We are used to nice words and many, in the Muslim majority countries as well as Western Muslims, have ended up not trusting the United States when it comes to political discourse. They want actions and they are right. This is indeed what our world needs. Yet, President Obama, who is very eloquent and good at using symbols, has provided us with his speech in Cairo with something that is more than simple words. It is altogether an attitude, a mindset, a vision. In order to avoid shaping a binary vision of the world, Barack Obama referred to “America”, “Islam”, “the Muslims” and “the Muslim majority countries”: he never fell into the trap of speaking about “us” as different or opposed to “them” and he was quick to refer Islam as being an American reality, and to the American Muslims as being an asset to his own society. Talking about his own life, he went from personal to universal stating that he knows by experience that Islam is a religion whose message is about openness and tolerance. Both the wording and the substance of his speech were important and new: he managed to be humble, self-critical, open and demanding at the same time in a message targeting all of “us”, understood as “partners”. The seven areas he highlighted are critical. One might...

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