Thursday, January 8, 2009

NAMF 8th Annual dinner

Despite the harsh weather and close to EidulAzha the North American Muslim Foundation held its annual gala dinner on Dec 8th 2008 and it was small but successful event.

Having planned it in advance it was not foreseeable how the holidays and weather will play out. However the fundraiser for the new Masjid Qurtaba at 4140 Finch Ave Scarborough coupled by needs of the earthquake victims in Pakistan made the evening dinner a marked success.

The speakers were simply astounding. Dr Lois Wilson of United Church stirred the sugar in the hearts of the varied attendees as she elaborated on bridging the gap among faiths and cultures. She has been a great inspiration at Massey College for bringing faith into the public discourse. The original speaker Perry Pither couldn’t make it.

Dr Ziyad Delic from Ottawa captivated the crowd with his erudite speech on Arafa and the ways of loving one’s partner. He built on this momentum to fundraise, reciting beautiful Islamic sings and verses of the Quran. It was a unique experience.

One outstanding member of the Muslim community was awarded for her stalwart contributions- Dr. Shanaz Dar, wife of the late Dr. Jameel Dar.

Entertainment that cold evening was warmed up with the famous Raptor performer Quincy Mack and the Torontonian nasheed singer Nadir Khan. The cuisine was a smart mixture of Pakistani and West Indian delights.

Canadian Council of Imams held annual dinner as an Eid get together

Members of the public were invited to dinner and presentation at 4140 Finch Ave Scar- Jameel Dar Convention Hall- on December 13th. This is the third annual dinner held by the Imams and this year it coincided with the EidulAzha celebrations.

Dr Mohamed Iqbal Nadvi, vice chair, spoke bravely on the three aspects of the Council, i.e. helping the Imams, reaching out to the governmental agencies and working with the interfaith bodies. He also touched on the Mumbai massacre. The council had condemned this act of violence and attended some interfaith prayers on the same.

Dr (Hon) Abdul Hai Patel, founder of this 18 years old organization, presented some of the achievements of 2008. This included attending a G8 faith leaders’ conference in Japan against poverty, preparing a curriculum to accommodate Muslim students in the school system, preparing chaplains for the armed forces and the prisons and presenting Islam in many interfaith forums. The council has been collaborating with Canadian Council of Muslim theologians on matters of halal and divorces.

The dinner was a sumptuous mix of biryani, thanks to the Qurbani gifts of the Imams’ followers! And entertainment was by the young artistic Kamal IMPACT from Mississauga.

Now tell me how can Imams de deemed scary!

Interfaith Eid dinner

Imagine being invited to a dinner in the name of Eid but the food is not another biryani pot and the attendees are not all desi or brown!

Well luckily we have people who still maintain the diversity of Islam in their works and lives. The Shahid Akhtar family of Mississauga initiated a dinner in the name of EidulAzha and had invited Muslims, Christians and Jews in their lovely home on December 12th 2008.

It was basically to eat and socialize. Well it was more – the food for thought was well relished as we had warm conversations on religion, politics, and cultures plus even what we do to make the society better. That should be the nexus of faith, isn’t?

Entertainment that evening was by the son Kamal and his Sikh friend doing a wave of hip hop and bhangra drumming. Habeeb recited a poem on Abraham’s love- a love that is so accepted that he was not forced to relinquish one for another.

Shahid Akhtar and Barbara Landau are co chairs of the almost two decades old Muslim Jewish Dialogue.

IFFSA Hosts second New Year's gala in Edmonton.

Having a wild time at Christmas and New Years is not what these Muslim professionals had in mind last December 28th in Edmonton. Organised by a youth group, the second new years dinner attracted alomst a hundred singles, mostly professionals. According to chair, Jawad Chaudry, the need is to provide a comfortable halal means of social outing that would facilitate networking.

Being in smaller communities oportunities of meeting a potential spouse is limited. Alisha Aashary helped oraganise this event as part of her social work portfolio at this Islamic Service centre. Brighly dressed to impress, these smart and successful Muslims were treated to a passionate yet informative and well interactive session on relationships by Shaikh Habeeb Alli of Toronto. On site was also a RCMP officer who is working with the Mulsim youths of Edmonton.They too have their issues- so Toronto it's time to help!

Shaikh Bin Bayya deals with Minority fiqh in Toronto

Sitting on the table were Sh Hamza Yusuf, Abdalla bin Bayya, and Abdulla Idris. That was not just for a nice pose at the Royal York last Saturday Jan 3rd. In attendance were both scholars and leaders of the comunity, males and females. The topic was Muslim minotrities and how to deal with issues of Sharia in their contrained settings. Sh Hamza translated while bin Bayya, a notable scholar from Mauritiania explained and answered. His main thesis is the Sharia has rules and those rule accomodate people of all circumstances. Among some instruments that may be employed to guide Muslim minorities is necessities overide prohibition and easing the difficulty oversteps the actual ruling.

Many questions were answered from the floor including calendar usage for Ramadan, Islamic finance and its validity as well as facilitating Muslims in summer during Ramadan in the cold North. The founder of a global network of scholars also emphasised that following law of the land is paramount and only in private laws one can exercise lobbying power to find accomodation of one's tenets reasonably. More sessions like these are definitely needed and it doesn't have be only when a notable scholar visits Toronto

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