The Globe and Mail – September 2, 2010
By the time it reaches Inuvik, the prefabricated mosque strapped to Kevin Anderson’s truck will have earned a place in the record books – even before the first worshippers pass through its door. The structure will become the most northerly mosque in North America. The mosque is significant of the aggregate religious ambitions of an Arctic community’s Muslims, the changing spiritual mores of Canada’s North and a major logistical pain in the neck.
Three weeks from now, roughly 100 Muslim worshippers in Inuvik, NWT, are expected to pray at the building, a replacement for the 50-year-old trailer they currently use. The mosque’s journey will take it from Winnipeg to Edmonton, then north to Hay River, where a barge will float it toward the shores of the Mackenzie Delta, home to Inuvik’s 3,600 residents. The country’s Muslims – long seen as an urban population – are migrating to smaller resource towns in search of boomtown riches and a better quality of life. The Muslim population of the Northwest Territories alone is growing at a rate of 300 per cent every decade, according the latest Statistics Canada numbers. And Islamic groups in Timmins, Prince George and Whitehorse are all in various stages of mosque construction.
The foundation researched building a mosque in Inuvik from scratch, but cost estimates ran over $550,000. Dr. Guisti found they could save $200,000 by having a Winnipeg company construct a prefab building and then haul the structure by road and river.
Volunteers from the Minnesota chapter of Islamic Circle of North America took to the “Great Minnesota Get-Together” to repair the image of Muslims in America. A poll released last week showed many Americans have the same mixed feelings about the Muslim faith. The nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that most Americans doubt that Islam is likelier than other faiths to encourage violence and believe Muslims should have equal rights to build houses of worship. But more people have an unfavorable than favorable view of Islam by 38 to 30 percent – nearly a reversal of findings on the same poll question in 2005, when 41 percent had favorable views compared with 36 percent unfavorable.
Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has been named on a ‘hitlist’ in an online magazine attributed to Al-Qaeda. Inspire magazine appears to be published by the AQAP, al-Qaeda’s branch in the Arabian Peninsula. The English language magazine also names Islam critic Ayaan HIrsi Ali. It appears to be targeting an audience of radical Muslims in North America.
A new interest-free credit card, the first of its kind in North America, aims to reconcile Islamic canonical law and Western consumer culture. Until now, observant Muslims have been precluded from owning credit cards on which they pay interest, a violation of shariah law.
The iFreedom Plus Master-Card, set to be available in the coming days, promises no bills, no interest and no credit card debt. With the iFreedom Plus MasterCard, holders load up their card with cash in advance, up to $6,000. Each purchase draws down on the account without accruing interest.
Because the new product doesn’t actually involve credit, applicants are approved without a credit check. The card, which is primarily aimed at younger newcomers, was launched at the inaugural conference of the Usury-Free Association of North America in Toronto.
The interchange between Muslims and Europe has a long and complicated history, dating back to before the idea of ‘Europe’ was born, and the earliest years of Islam. There has been a Muslim presence on the European continent before, but never has it been so significant, particularly in Western Europe. With more Muslims in Europe than in many countries of the Muslim world, they have found themselves in the position of challenging what it means to be a European in a secular society of the 21st century. At the same time, the European context has caused many Muslims to re-think what is essential to them in religious terms in their new reality.
In this work, H.A. Hellyer analyses the prospects for a European future where pluralism is accepted within unified societies, and the presence of a Muslim community that is of Europe, not simply in it. He draws upon his academic expertise in a variety of disciplines, including sociology, politics and religious studies, in order to give the reader a thorough theoretical backdrop. Uniquely, he combines this knowledge with his background as an independent scholar engaged in policy networks and institutions. The result is a work that has drawn critical acclaim from some of the most noted scholars in the West on a very important topic.
This is the first of a series of events that will be held on the themes of Dr. Hellyer’s book in 2009/10 in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Pluralism is certainly one of the key issues facing us today, and Dr. Hellyer’s book is a fresh perspective on an age-old topic.
The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) has congratulated President-elect Barack Obama, saying the organization looks forward to an improved and more compassionate health care system under the new administration. IMANA shares Obama’s plan for an inclusive health care system as a right of all Americans, and concern for uninsured Americans in a deteriorating American economy. IMANA has issued a statement saying that the organization asks “President-elect Obama to consider a robust partnership between government, health care industry and community based organizations to reform the health care system.” The Islamic Medical Association of North America was founded over 40 years ago, in 1967.
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U.K. prosecutors will retry seven British Muslims who they claim conspired to blow up several passenger planes bound for North America from London after a jury days ago failed to reach a verdict.
The men will be retried for conspiring to kill passengers by detonating homemade liquid-based bombs on trans-Atlantic flights, Ken Macdonald, the U.K.’s head prosecutor said today in an e- mailed statement. The arrests in 2006 caused airport chaos with about 2,400 flights canceled in London alone. The investigation led to airport restrictions on more than small amounts of fluids in hand luggage that remain in effect around the world. The London jury on Sept. 8, after a five-month trial, was unable to decide whether the men were guilty of plotting to blow up aircraft. The panel convicted Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain on charges of conspiracy to murder not specifically related to the plot to bomb jets bound for the U.S. and Canada. The three men convicted, along with Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam, will again face charges of trying to bomb flights. Savant, Khan, Zaman and Islam will also be retried on the same general conspiracy to the murder charges of which Ali, Sarwar and Hussain were found guilty. The panel cleared an eighth defendant in the case of all charges. Defense lawyers at Tuckers and Arani & Co, who have been acting on the case, didn’t return messages seeking comment. James Lumley reports.
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The annual Islamic Circle of North America convention drew thousands at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, bringing Muslims from a wide variety of backgrounds, mixing “tradition” with the “modern.” Women with headscarves holding Starbucks coffee cups, American converts, and Muslim Americans from states including Texas and the Carolinas came to the convention, drawing more than 15,000 people. Themes of the convention included family, educating young people on the “true meaning” of Islam, and helping overcome misperceptions of Muslims to non-Muslims.
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The annual Islamic Circle of North America convention drew thousands at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, bringing Muslims from a wide variety of backgrounds, mixing tradition with the modern. Women with headscarves holding Starbucks coffee cups, American converts, and Muslim Americans from states including Texas and the Carolinas came to the convention, drawing more than 15,000 people. Themes of the convention included family, educating young people on the true meaning of Islam, and helping overcome misperceptions of Muslims to non-Muslims.
A coalition of American Muslim groups is demanding that US presidential candidate and current Senator John McCain stop using the adjective Islamic when describing terrorist and radical enemies of the United States. Muneer Fareed, the head of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), told the Washington Times that his group is commencing a campaign to ask Mr. McCain to rephrase his descriptions. “We’ve tried to contact his office, contact his spokesperson to have them rethink word usage that is more acceptable to the Muslim community […] If it’s not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are” said Fareed. An aide to Mr. McCain said that the senator would not drop the word. McCain often uses the term “Islamic” to describe terrorist enemies; however, the two remaining Democratic hopefuls, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, generally avoid usage of the word.