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Author: iqradotca

Planting the Seeds – History of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto Part 2

BY MUNEEB NASIR The coming together of the early immigrant Muslims in Toronto to build an organization and establish a centre for their religious, cultural and social activities had an air of excitement among members of the newly formed Muslim Foundation in 1968. While there were established mosques in other parts of Canada, such as in London, Ontario, as well as, in Edmonton, Alberta,  the community in Toronto in the early 1960s had one fledgling centre, established by Albanian immigrants. Early in the 20th century, a sizeable number of Albanian immigrants settled in the city and through the activism of these early Muslim Torontonians the Albanian Muslim Society was formed in 1952 by Regep Assim, Neim Sali and Sami Karim. This pioneering organization was re-launched as the Muslim Society of Toronto in 1957 as the small community now included Muslims from other parts of the world. In 1961, the Muslim Society of Toronto established the first mosque in the city when they purchased a store-front property at 3047 Dundas Street W. As the population of Muslims increased, the Society sold this property and purchased a Presbyterian church at 56 Boustead Avenue. On February 26, 1969 the building was opened as the Jami Mosque. This pioneering work led to the establishment of the Albanian Mosque in 1954 in the Keele and Dundas area of the city and it served the...

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Tear Down These Walls

BY MUNEEB NASIR It takes specific circumstances to highlight absurdities in the practices of certain Muslim groups. I attended a fund raiser this past weekend that was held to assist the victims in Gaza. The event was organized by a few mosques that are culturally orthodox in dealing with their membership. On arrival at the reasonably elegant banquet hall where the program was held, men and women were being directed past ‘checkpoints’ through separate entrances. The banquet hall was divided by a ‘separation wall’ – men into the ‘neighborhood’ and women and children into the ‘camp.’ ‘Diplomats’, including female politicians and politicians’ wives, were ushered into the friendly ‘neighborhood’ with female attendants providing services. The women and children could not engage in the proceedings and were not to be heard, ‘sisters, keep quiet and listen!’, very much like their Gazan sisters whose images were being projected onto the video screens. Someone looking in from the outside would have thought that the organizers were brilliant in putting on an enactment to highlight the oppression and injustices that Palestinians have been enduring for sixty years. Publicly held relief events should be much more than fund raisers for collecting monetary contributions. They are to be a remembrance (dhikr) to honor the dignity of the oppressed, a supplication (dua) for the victims of injustice and an opportunity for us to attain goodness by...

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A Great Loss to the Muslim Art Community

BY TAHA GHAYYUR I write this message with a heavy heart. I can recall his beautiful smile and extraordinary energy in lifting people’s spirits. He was a performing artist of remarkable calibre. He was the leader of the Fletcher Valve Drummers, who were first introduced to the Muslim community at MuslimFest 2004. Dale (Jamaluddin) Marcell, who embraced Islam about 3 years ago, has passed away at his home in Kitchener, ON, last night (Dec. 10, 2008). He was in his mid-50’s. The meaning of his Muslim name, Jamaluddin (“Beauty of the Deen”), did not only reflect in the beauty of his personality, but also in the beautiful art he so passionately shared with the world. Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon (To God we belong and to Him we return). May Allah erase his past mistakes and give him the glad tidings of Paradise, Ameen. Many of us could recall his public declaration of Shahada (acceptance of Islam) at MuslimFest 2005 as he shared the stage with his drumming companions and Br. Dawud Wharnsby: “I love Islam and I love Muslims!”. Born and raised on a farm on the St. Lawrence in Iroquois, ON., Dale Marcell, who was of Metis descent, had always been drawn to the use of drumming in Aboriginal cultures for emotional and spiritual healing. The layers of rhythm and energetic percussions of the Fletcher Valve...

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Transition and Transformation

By  Muna Ali, Muslim Presence Living rushed lives juggling demands and deadlines, we are always thinking of the next moment; neither living in the present one, nor reflecting on the one that just passed. Few among us are those who lead a life of self-conscious purpose; the rest of us sleepwalk through the trance that is our unexamined lives. As we busy ourselves with climbing career ladders, obtaining the latest gadget we “need,” or complaining of ills of the world and waiting for others to cure them, the days of our lives pass by. We are left often dissatisfied and in search for something we cannot even name. It is no wonder that depression and loneliness are pandemic. Our relationships with family, friends, self, and God are often not what we hope them to be.  Try as we might, we can’t seem to have them work. Family members try our patience and the limits of love…the many friends we think we have disappear in difficult times…we fall short of the self-improvement plans and goals we set for ourselves. (READ...

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