Muslim Convention Boosts Canada Diversity
24 Dec 2012 05:18 GMT
 

TORONTO - Venturing attacks by Islamophobes, a Canadian politician has addressed the annual convention of Reviving the Islamic Spirit on the role of promoting diversity in the country.

“When people come together to create o (more)

TORONTO - Venturing attacks by Islamophobes, a Canadian politician has addressed the annual convention of Reviving the Islamic Spirit on the role of promoting diversity in the country.

“When people come together to create opportunities for one another, the dreams we hold in common will crowd out the fears that would divide us,” Justin Trudeau told the packed hall of over 20,000 people on Saturday, December 22.

“For it is not the political class, but the middle class, that unites this country.

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“Open to all, our broad and diverse middle class is Canada's centre of gravity. Good people. People with common hopes and common challenges, coming together to find common ground.”

Trudeau has come under attacks from Islamophobic groups over his plans to address the annual RIS convention, which opened in Toronto on Friday.

“I want you to know that I will always stand up to the politics of division and fear. It is short-sighted to pit groups of Canadians against one another,” he said.

“It may make some feel good for a little while, or even work politically in the short-term.”

Islamophobic blogs took issue with attacked the RIS convention over one of the event's sponsors, IRFAN-Canada, which had its charitable status revoked in 2011 over allegations of sending funds to Hamas.

IRFAN-Canada, which is a humanitarian relief organization, denies having any ties to Hamas, which is labeled a terrorist group by the Canadian government.

“I want you to know that I will always stand up to the politics of division and fear. It is short-sighted to pit groups of Canadians against one another,” Trudeau said.

“It may make some feel good for a little while, or even work politically in the short-term.”

The relief organization is challenging the ruling that revoked its charitable status but decided last week to pull out of sponsoring the RIS event to avoid creating further controversy.

“It is extremely unfortunate that this issue has threatened to detract from the many accomplishments of RIS in the last ten years.” RIS director Fouzan Khan said.

Themed “Divine Light for Living Right: The Light of Prophetic Guidance in the Midst of Modern Darkness”, the three-day RIS convention closed Sunday, December 23.

It brought a galaxy of prominent Muslim scholars including Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, Karen Armstrong and Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Islamic studies professor at George Washington University

Also attending were the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa Cerić, scholar Habib Ali Al-Jifri, Swiss professor Tariq Ramadan, Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled, Dr. Aisha al-Adawiyya; Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury; Yasmin Mogahed and Edina Lekovic.

Diversity

During his keynote address, Trudeau urged the audience to reflect on the country's diversity and peaceful history.

“We are all blessed to live in the most diverse country in the history of the world. One of the most peaceful and most prosperous,” he said.

The charismatic politician told the convention that Canada is a country that has moved beyond tolerance to understanding among its citizens.

“And while there are many places in the world where tolerance is still just a far-off dream, in Canada, we are beyond that,” he said.

“So let us not use the word tolerance. Let us speak instead of acceptance, understanding, respect, and friendship.”

In the last ten years, RIS has emerged as a major platform for some of the leading thinkers from around the world to address one of the largest assembly of Muslims in the western hemisphere.

“The conference has always been about uniting and joining hands with scholars, journalists, academics, representatives from other faiths, and artists to promote messages of peace and tolerance,” said RIS spokeswoman Farhia Ahmed.

“The message at RIS conferences has helped counter extremism by offering a better understanding of the Islamic tradition in the modern context and this in turn has helped second and third generation Muslims make meaningful contributions as citizens while living a life of faith.”

Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country.

A recent report from the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said that Muslims are expected to make up 6.6% of Canada's total population in 2030.

Toronto, the capital of Ontario, the province that one in three Canadians calls home, has the largest concentration of Muslims in Canada.A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net



-- OnIslam


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