Muslims look for mates in D.C. at annual speed-dating event

The swelling crowd, ranging in age from 21 to 50-something, meant the evening of speed dating and socializing known as the Matrimonial Banquet was about to begin.  Kadir, 35, was sitting on a bench outside a ballroom at the Renaissance Washington hotel, surrounded by several hundred single Muslim men and women.

The banquet has been part of the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in some form or another for more than two decades, said the group’s matrimonial assistant, Tabasum Ahmad. But in recent years, the demand for such banquets has increased, and the society plans to hold them more frequently. More Muslims are embracing them as an acceptable alternative to arranged marriages and the vagaries of 21st-century, American-style dating. Online matchmaking is also popular, but some prefer to meet in person. Saturday night’s banquet was sold out, as was a second one scheduled for Sunday.

Andre Carson: Speech to Islamic Circle praised success of all faith-based schools

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, an Indianapolis Democrat who is one of only two Muslims in Congress, is coming under attack for a speech he gave to the Islamic Circle of North America.

André Carson, created controversy when he told an Islamic Circle of North America convention that; American schools should be modeled after Madrassas, or Islamic schools that are built on the foundations of the Quran, WND reports.

The headline on one blog read: “Rep. Andre Carson: American schools won’t excel until the foundation is the Koran.”

Really? Well, no, Carson didn’t say that. What Carson did say was that schools could learn something about innovation from madrassas, the Islamic religious schools. It is about four sentences in a 19-minute speech, given May 26 in Hartford, Conn., as the group held its annual gathering.

The full speech is about being proud to be a Muslim-American and notes that Muslims have been part of the nation from its inception and have much to offer. The conference’s theme was on addressing Islamophobia.

He said he believed faith-based schools, with smaller class sizes, are able to be more experimental and address different kinds of learners.

“They’re given a different kind of freedom to tap into these young American minds,” Carson said.

Asked if he was saying that the Koran should be in the public school classroom, Carson said: “No, no, no.”

Carson said that whether a religious school teaches the Bible, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita or the Koran, “there’s something to be said about the success rates of faith-based learning institutions that we might be able to extract some principles or some methodology from.”

Toronto’s Largest Muslim School Tournament

OnIslam – March 8, 2012

The Annual Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST Toronto) is set to open on Saturday, March 10 on the York University campus for an annual Muslim interscholastic tournament. Launched in 2001 by a freshman at the University of Houston, MIST is a fun, educational, interactive program of competitions and workshops. It aims at bringing high school students together from around the country to develop leadership, communication, and other creative skills, all while gaining a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslims.

MIST Toronto was the first MIST region to be established outside of the United States back in 2008. In just four years, MIST Toronto not only became the largest MIST region, but also it became the biggest Muslim high school event in North America.

Protest at Mississauga, Ontario mosque

Mississauga.com – October 23, 2011

Protesters were on the sidewalk in front of the Islamic Society of North America Canadian headquarters demonstrating their opposition to a Calling the World Back to Allah conference featuring speakers who have been previously linked to allegations of anti-Semitic and anti-gay remarks.

The full-day conference is part of the Canada launch tour of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), a British organization seeking to establish a presence in Toronto and Montreal. They say the conference was held to build bridges amongst Muslim communities in Canada.

Young Somali Muslims in Toronto drawn to activism

The Globe and Mail – September 23, 2011

 

Famine in their homeland has brought 20 young Canadian-Somalis together to walk 350 kilometres to reach the nation’s capital. They’re bonded by a common goal: to raise money and awareness for a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations estimates has killed tens of thousands of people and threatens, over the next four months, to starve to death 750,000 Somalis.

Walk for Somalia is one of several youth-driven groups that has formed in Toronto in response to the drought, violence and famine ravaging the African country. Long-time community leaders say they’re seeing an unprecedented level of engagement among young Canadian-Somalis, a spirit they hope will eventually be channelled into challenges facing other Somali youth in Toronto.

The UN has declared famine in six regions of south Somalia, which is mainly controlled by Islamist militants known as al-Shabaab. Toronto houses one of the largest Somali populations in North America and Europe. Canada’s official census pegs the Somali population at nearly 38,000, but the Canadian Somali Congress believes the figure actually stands around 200,000, with the majority residing in Toronto.

ISNA-Canada accused of money mismanagement

Devout Muslims donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of Canada’s largest Islamic organizations on the promise that the cash would be used to help the poor. But only one in four dollars donated to a special pool of money at the Islamic Society of North America Canada (ISNA Canada) actually reached the needy. ISNA Canada draws in close to $1 million in charity donations a year. The audit looked closely at one portion of those donations, an obligatory alms giving called Zakat and Fitrah meant to aid the needy. The audit found that of about $810,777 collected over four years, only $196,460 went to aid the poor.

ISNA Canada is embroiled in controversy, with the audit revealing the practice of giving free perks to family members of a top official; the improper issuing of charitable tax receipts; and the diversion of charity money to private businesses. At the centre of it all is long-time secretary general Mohammad Ashraf, who has recently announced he is stepping down.

The ISNA Canada headquarters houses the city of Mississauga’s most visible mosque and provides a variety of services, including a Muslim high school and a halal meat certification agency.

Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference takes place in Toronto

Muslims from around the world gathered from December 23-26th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to attend an annual conference. More than 17,000 Canadian Muslims will gather at the ninth annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention, a meeting that offers Muslims a renewal of their faith just before the new year through sharing meals, group prayers and listening to lectures from prominent speakers.

The conference, created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, also offers young Muslims a discussion about Islam and applying its practice in a North American context, event spokesperson Ayman Faris said. The event works on “keeping the threat of extremism and radicalism at bay” as young generations of Muslims grow up in North America and, at times, turn to Internet, which can be a “dangerous” place to retrieve information about their faith, Heer said. She has seen the event grow from 6,000 to last year’s 17,000 attendees. Tariq Ramadan, an Oxford University professor, and Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian convert from Kitchener, Ont., who was also the past president of the Islamic Society of North America, are among the speakers at the 2010 conference.

The mosque at the top of the world

North America’s most northern minaret opens (after an epic 2,800-mile
journey)

The most northern mosque in North America officially opened yesterday in
Inuvik, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, where there is a growing
Muslim population.

The opening marks the end of an arduous journey that saw the building
travel over rivers – atop barges – and bumpy, narrow roads to arrive
at its destination.

After being assembled in the city of Winnipeg, the mosque travelled some
4,500km (2,800 miles) and has been nicknamed ‘the little mosque of tundra’.

The most northern mosque in North America officially opened on Wednesday
in Inuvik, in the Canadian Northern Territories

The most northern mosque in North America officially opened on Wednesday
in Inuvik, in the Canadian Northern Territories

The mosque, nicknamed ‘the little mosque of tundra’, was build in
Winnipeg and travelled 2,800 miles to Inuvik

The mosque, nicknamed ‘the little mosque of tundra’, was build in
Winnipeg and travelled 2,800 miles to Inuvik

The new 1,554-sq-ft (473-sq-m) building is a step up from the
one-bedroom trailer Muslims in the town have used for prayer services
over the past 10 years

The new 1,554-sq-ft (473-sq-m) building is a step up from the
one-bedroom trailer Muslims in the town have used for prayer services
over the past 10 years

The mosque, which doubles as a community centre, is believed to be the
second most-northerly in the world, next to one in Siberia.

‘It’s a very personal achievement for all of us because we were in a
small building… and now we have this one,’ Ahmed al-Khalaf, who helped
organise fundraising efforts for the mosque, said

‘It’s a very personal achievement for all of us because we were in a
small building… and now we have this one,’ Ahmed al-Khalaf, who helped
organize

fundraising efforts for the mosque, said

At one point during the mosque’s journey to the small town in the
Arctic Circle, the building almost tipped over but was saved by a road
construction crew

Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80
Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious
education inside a small trailer.

The new 1,554-sq-ft (473-sq-m) building is a step up from the
one-bedroom trailer Muslims in the town have used for prayer services
over the past 10 years.

‘It’s a very personal achievement for all of us because we were in a
small building, the old one, and now we have this one,’ Ahmed al-Khalaf,
who helped organise fundraising efforts for the mosque, said.

‘For the whole town of Inuvik, it’s another new building in town, and
everybody’s welcome here.’

Hussain Guisti, a member of a Winnipeg-based Muslim charity called The
Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, decided last year he would help design and
build a mosque for the northern community.

The group originally wanted the mosque to be built in Inuvik but soon
realized having a prefabricated building constructed in Winnipeg would
be much less expensive, even with the lengthy shipment factored in.

Inuvik Mayor Denny Rodgers said there is no sign of the type of
animosity encountered by new mosques in some parts of the United States.

‘We’re very much a multicultural town up here,’ he said. ‘Canada itself
is a melting pot, and Inuvik, when you look at all the different
cultures that are represented here, is just like that.’

Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80
Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious
education inside a small trailer

Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80
Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious
education inside a small trailer

There were only a handful of Muslims in the town 20 years ago, according
to Guisti. Like many northern communities, Inuvik has a near-constant
supply of job opportunities that has attracted people from all backgrounds.

They are mainly Sunni Muslims from Lebanon, Egypt and Sudan who were
drawn to northern Canada because of those job opportunities. More are
expected to make the trip now that there is a mosque in the Northern
Territories.

North America’s most northerly mosque officially opens in the Arctic

News Agencies – November 10, 2010

The most northerly mosque in North America officially opened on November 10th, marking an end to an arduous journey that saw the building shipped 4,500 kilometres over narrow, bumpy roads and atop a river barge. Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80 Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious education inside a small trailer. The mosque is believed to be the second most-northerly one in the world, next to one in Siberia.
It is a welcome addition to Inuvik. Mayor Denny Rodgers said there is no sign of the type of animosity encountered by new mosques in some parts of the United States. There were only a handful of Muslims in the town 20 years ago. Like many northern communities, Inuvik has a near-constant supply of job opportunities that has attracted people from all backgrounds.

A Canadian Line of Campbell’s Soups Has Activists Stewing Over Islamic Connection

Campbell Soup Co., the Camden, N.J., food giant, has been fighting a grass-roots boycott of its products after its Canadian subsidiary rolled out a line of soups certified as halal, meaning they’re prepared according to Islamic dietary laws. Campbell Co. of Canada introduced the soups in a few Canadian markets in January, although American bloggers didn’t catch up to the news until earlier this month.

Blogger Pamela Geller began calling for a boycott earlier this month via her widely read site, Atlas Shrugs. Other bloggers soon joined in. “No one is suggesting they refrain from this line,” Geller said. “No one is suggesting they not have halal food. I’m not against halal food any more than I’m against kosher food. My issue is who’s doing the certifying.” Geller opposes Campbell’s decision to have its Canadian products certified by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that government prosecutors alleged had ties to the terrorist group Hamas in a 2007 conspiracy case.

ISNA, an organization based in Plainfield, Ind., was designated an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the prosecution of a charitable organization that funneled money to Hamas, the Islamist organization that rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been named a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.