Int’l Islamic Conference addresses burning issues
By Manshad Mohamed
Toronto — With the theme, “Islam in Canada: Civilizational Dimensions and Human Relations,” the Organization of the Islamic Conference Symposium held its international conference at Toronto’s Renaissance Hotel on May 29 and 30 to address live issues pertaining to Islam.
The Toronto and Region Islamic Congregation hosted the event that was chaired by Haroon Salamat, its President.
Delegates from Morocco, Jordan, Libyia, Tunisia, Sudan, Senegal, Australia, Singapore, USA and Canada attended.
The gathering was very much concerned about the negative images of Muslims as portrayed in the media. Many speakers looked at this issue as a challenge which must be overcome by peaceful means and by outreach with various communities. Dr. Munir El Kassem saw the need for Muslims everywhere to be active volunteers in their communities particularly in non-religious capacities. Their objectives must be to support the efforts of the community as a whole and “not to turn the world into Islamic States.”
“We cannot use 9th century thinking to solve the problems of today,” Dr Kassem stated.
Dr Kassem also pointed out that some Muslims are restricted in their thinking because of “Islamophobia” which affects a number children and young people faced with questions of same sex marriages, jihad etc.
L to R: Mr. Shaffiqul Rahman Abdullah, addressing delegates, while Haroon Salamat (centre), and Dr. Munir El Kassem listen attentively. Pix by Manshad Mohamed
“We have to provide answers. Get scholars who are specialized in these matters to show us the way,” the speaker urged adding, “we cannot afford historical aberrations.”
Mr. Shaffiqul Rahman Abdullah, Chair of the Australian Islamic Cultural Centre, made it clear that “Islam rejects terrorism and makes the distinction between the protection of your possessions and principles of tolerance.” He also saw the need for unity in the international Muslim community.
Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, Prof. of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion at Temple University spoke on the topic “And call to them with wisdom and understanding: A guide to effective dialogue.” Dr. Aliya Khan, Associate Prof. of Medicine at MacMaster University described the role of women as being invaluable. In both religious and secular affairs Mr. Mohammed Zahid contended that “there is no conflict in evaluating Islam, Democracy and Peace.” Mr. Terry Dunn of the Catholic church advised that it was “better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
As the convention entered its second day, the issues of education, mutual respect, tolerance and values were emphasized.
Presentations were made by Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary’s University, Halifax; Mr. Jim Kibbin of United Church; Mr. Shabbir Mansuri who looked at textbooks used in North American schools; Mr. Haroon Siddiqi, Editor Emeritus, Toronto Star; Wahida Valiente of the Canadian Islamic Congress; Dr. Ibrahim Hayani of Seneca College. A stimulating paper was presented by Mr. Ebrahim Dhooma, Principal, Taric Islamic School on the subject: “Educating the Muslim Youth while preserving the Islamic identity in 21st century North America.”
to the help of Jade
Jade Destiny Lawrence
One-year old Jade Destiny Lawrence of Trinidad is the latest child that the The Caribbean Children's Foundation (TCCF) has undertaken to help. Little Jade will have to undergo surgery at Sick Kids Hospital for repair of “Total Anomolous Pulmonary Venous” (Congenital Heart Defect) to be done by Dr. Lee Benson.
Total cost of the procedure is $63,000 U.S. The Herbie Fund is assisting but the Hospital requires TCCF to pay $25,000.
This is an urgent case that calls for immediate attention. TCCF is appealing for donations to assist this child who deserves to have a chance in life. Donations are tax deductible and can be deposited directly to TD Bank, Acct. # Branch 1550, #0305003.
For information, contact Vidyia at 416-463-7306 or Jay at 905-840-5369.
Awards for local Guyanese
The Honoreds: Above are Guyanese nationals who received the 2004 Guyana Awards from the Hon Consul General Danny Doobay (3rd from right). From left: Harry Harakh, Ovid Jackson, M.P., Basil Punit, Hyacinth Hinds, Dr. Budhendra Doobay, Eric Rodrigues, Danny Doobay, Laura Creavalle and Ned Blair. Picture by Shiva Narine
Toronto — Six prominent Guyanese Canadians and two Toronto-based Guyanese organizations received the 2004 Guyana Awards on Saturday May 22, 2004 at the Travelodge Hotel in Toronto. The Awards form part of this year’s Guyana Independence festivities and the recipients are pioneers or achievers in eight different categories.
“The annual awards recognize the contributions of Guyanese nationals toward the promotion of Guyana, Guyana's heritage and culture, the building of a strong and dynamic Guyanese community in Canada as well as the achievement of excellence,” a release from the Consulate General stated.
At the presentation ceremony, Guyana's Honorary Consul General Danny Doobay called on his audience of about 400 Guyanese to “make a statement about ourselves, as Guyanese, a statement that is positive and powerful.” Mr Doobay declared that through the Awards, Guyanese are seeking to make a statement “about the standards and expectations we set and hold for our community and for individual members."
The Consul General urged that businesses should form partnerships with the wider community's efforts to build a strong and dynamic community.
This year, the fourth since the Awards programme started, the following persons/organizations were honoured in the category given:
• Dr. Budhendra Doobay - Leadership
• Ovid Jackson - Special Achievement
• Laura Creavalle - Lifetime Achievement
• Basil Punit - Academic Excellence
• Ned Blair - Community Service
• Eric Rodrigues - Outstanding Business
• Guyana Burn Care Unit - Outstanding
• Senior Guyana Friendship Association-
Heritage and Culture
The planning Committee responsible for the annual Guyana Independence Festival has developed a month-long program which commenced with the Guyana Awards and which would conclude on the weekend of June 18 -20, 2004 (see advertisement on page 4 for details of activities).