News Agencies – October 11, 2012
A Florida pastor made famous by his strident anti-Islam views and widely publicized Koran immolation was barred entry into Canada because border officials had qualms about legal tussles in his past. Terry Jones was supposed to attend a multifaith debate on the film Innocence of Muslims outside Ontario’s legislature. Mr. Jones and Wayne Sapp, associate director of Stand Up America Now, said they were stopped at the Michigan-Ontario border and searched before being turned away.
At issue is a breach of peace charge against Mr. Sapp that he said was overturned, and a fine Mr. Jones had to pay in Germany for using the title “Doctor” from an unrecognized institution, a complaint Mr. Sapp said was successfully appealed. The debate was to go forward Thursday evening with a substitute in Mr. Jones’s place. Allan Einstoss, one of the debate’s organizers, said the event is meant to be a statement about the importance of freedom of speech. Imam Steve Rockwell of Toronto’s Sheikh Deedat mosque, who was to debate Mr. Jones Thursday, argues that the pastor goes too far.
News Agencies – August 17, 2012
Jewish groups are expressing disappointment and alarm over a decision today by Ontario’s speaker of the house and sergeant-at-arms to permit a controversial Muslim rally at Queen’s Park. International Day of Al-Quds, which bills itself as a protest against Palestinian oppression, but which others call an anti-Zionist hate rally, will go ahead on legislative grounds. Last year’s event drew criticism and concern after demonstrators were seen waving Hezbollah flags, carrying pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini and the head of York Region’s Islamic society was videotaped criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama, “this black man in the White House” who can’t say no to “Zionist parasites”.
Dave Levac, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, said in a statement released today that he has spoken with a number of groups and individuals about the demonstration and, because rally organizers have indicated their willingness to conform to guidelines, he will allow the event to proceed.
Chris Yaccato, executive assistant to the Speaker of the House, said he understands Queen’s Park security services won’t permit Hezbollah flags “or any signs promoting known terrorist organizations” during this year’s rally. “If they do, we’ll have to shut it down.”
News Agencies – July 24, 2012
A 14-year-old boy was able to buy liquor at three LCBO [Liquor Control Board of Ontario] outlets without having to show identification. A stunt orchestrated by the Sun News Network has shed light on how easy it can be for minors to buy alcohol in the Greater Toronto Area — provided they dress the part. As the Toronto Sun reports, controversial broadcaster and writer David Menzies sent a 14-year-old boy clad in a full-length burka and face veil to buy liquor at three LCBOs north of the city.
His goal, he said, was to expose deficiencies in the province’s Liquor Licence Act, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 19, and to challenge their claims of social responsibility. The three unopened bottles, he said, were later taken from the teen after he left the store. Critics of the host’s undercover crackdown flipped the legal accountability finger back at Menzies, calling for his arrest over “coercing” a young boy to purchase alcohol and for “corrupting the morals of a minor.”
On Islam – June 24, 2012
Rabia Khedr and her younger sister Uzma Khan were awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals for their efforts in advocating for disabled people. The blind Muslim sisters were among more than 600 Canadian receiving the medals at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall last week.
Khedr is a well-known Canadian Muslim who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness around disability issues. At university, she became actively involved with the Muslim Students Association (MSA) where she played a leadership role within the association but never stepped into the limelight. Her activism increased after university. Within days of graduation, Khedr started wearing a hijab.
Khedr, who is married and has four children, runs her own consultancy company and she has consulted for the Canadian Association for Community Living and Providence Health Care. She sits on the board of the Ontario Women’s Health Network and is a member of the City of Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Khedr’s younger sister, Uzma Khan, has also been active in disability issues. Khan works in information technology with a Canadian bank and was vice-chair of the former Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario. In keeping with the tradition of honoring Queen Elizabeth II milestone years of service, the commemorative medal has been created to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen’s accession to the Throne.
When the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice announced it would begin offering Sharia-based services in Ontario, a subsequent provincial government review gave qualified support for religious arbitration. However, the ensuing debate inflamed the passions of a wide range of Muslim and non-Muslim groups, garnered worldwide attention, and led to a ban on religiously based family law arbitration in the province. Debating Sharia sheds light on how Ontario’s Sharia debate of 2003-2006 exemplified contemporary concerns regarding religiosity in the public sphere and the place of Islam in Western nation states.
Focusing on the legal ramifications of Sharia law in the context of rapidly changing Western liberal democracies, Debating Sharia approaches the issue from a variety of methodological perspectives, including policy and media analysis, fieldwork, feminist examinations of the portrayals of Muslim women, and theoretical examinations of religion, Sharia, and the law. This volume is an important read for those who grapple with ethnic and religio-cultural diversity while remaining committed to religious freedom and women’s equality.
The Toronto Star – April 25, 2012
Mohamad Fakih built Paramount Butcher Shop for his wife Hanan after she complained about the state of halal meat counters and asked him to do something about it. Driven by the urge to unite “halal” and “gourmet,” Mohamad Fakih built himself a beautiful butcher shop in Mississauga. Mohamad visited non-halal competitors, including Pusateri’s Fine Foods, Cumbrae’s, Olliffe and the Healthy Butcher in Toronto, and researched fine butcher shops in London, Paris and Australia before designing his own 3,400-square-foot shop.
He bought the struggling Paramount chain in 2007 and transformed it into a vibrant and growing empire that employs 250 people, many of them young and non-Muslim. The Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurants showcase freshly grilled foods and breads.
For Mohamad, halal is about more than just slaughter. It’s about being conscientious about how animals are raised, a philosophy that dovetails nicely with the local food movement and the fact that consumers are asking more questions about what they eat. Mohamad has lived in Canada for 13 years and got his start at Tim Hortons.
Northumberland Today – April 20, 2012
In 14 months, the Ahmadiyya Muslin Youth Association of Canada has visited 200 communities in Canada, its 2,649 volunteers helping them reach 1.3-million people in a bid to promote peace, condemn terrorism and dispel myths about Islam. An auxiliary wing of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the youth association was established as a non-profit charitable religious organization that has 65 chapters throughout Canada (and chapters in more than 200 countries worldwide).
Following successful events in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the group has been visiting Ontario communities throughout the month of April. For more information, visit www.Quranopenhouse.ca .
The Toronto Star – April 4, 2012
Two ads that have drawn public complaints because of their religious messages will continue to run on the TTC. One ad for the Walk-in Islamic Info-centre has offended some because it states, “There is no god but Allah.” The other is a bus stop ad that counsels prayer as the answer to a child’s abusive domestic circumstance.
“There is nothing that violates any of our policies, and we do have policies around our advertising (based on) the Ontario Human Rights Code, not promoting hate or violence,” said TTC spokesman Brad Ross. “You don’t have to agree with the message, you don’t have to like the message of the advertiser. Our suggestion would be that if somebody takes issue with the ad they take it up with the advertiser,” he said.
The Globe and Mail – April 12, 2012
After two years of increases, Canadians reported fewer hate crimes in 2010, especially in Vancouver and southern Ontario, Statistics Canada said. Most of the decrease was a result of fewer reported violent hate crimes, Statscan said in releasing its latest annual survey for hate-motivated offences.
The most common victims of violent hate crimes were gays (100 incidents) and blacks (75 incidents). Jews were the most targeted religious group, accounting for 55 per cent of religiously-motivated incidents in 2010 while Muslims (14 per cent) and Catholics (14 per cent) were the other faiths most often victimized. Gays were more likely to be victims of violent hate crimes. Two-thirds of incidents targeting gays were violent. A third of racially-motivated offences and 17 per cent religiously-motivated crimes were violence.
Toronto Star – Nov 25, 2011
Inas Kadri was shopping at a Mississauga mall with her two small children when a woman she had never seen before came “out of nowhere” and assaulted her, pulling off her niqab. Kadri is a schoolteacher with a computer engineering degree from University of Ottawa. Her attacker, Rosemarie Creswell, was sentenced by a Brampton judge for the assault, which occurred in August 2010 at the Sheridan Centre. Creswell, 66, pleaded guilty after seeing video evidence captured by a mall surveillance camera.
Justice Ian Cowan gave Creswell, 66, a one-year suspended sentence. He also ruled she must serve 100 hours of community service, and suggested she educate herself about Muslims by attending a mosque.
Dozens of women, some who knew Kadri and some who did not, wearing both the hijab and niqab, appeared in court to support her. “We want our kids to be brought up in an understanding community, so they will be good citizens,” said Sana Mutawi, who also wears the niqab. Kadri’s husband also accompanied her to court but declined requests for comment, saying he preferred to let his wife speak for herself.