Sharia-compliant mortgage lender in receivership

The Toronto Star – October 18, 2011

UM Financial Inc., a Toronto-based firm that offered sharia-compliant mortgages to Muslims, has gone into receivership leaving more than 173 people fearful they may lose their homes. UM Financial was one of the first companies in Canada to offer so-called Islamic financing to Muslims who believe that sharia, or Islamic law, prohibitions against usury include interest on things such as mortgages. UM would buy a property then lease it to a client so they were paying rent instead of interest. Some homeowners complained that the firm would also charge extra fees. The company had $50 million in financial backing from Central 1 Credit Union of which almost $29 million is outstanding.

Muslim Conference Removed from Toronto Hotel

The Toronto Star – October 14, 2011

 

The Sheraton Centre hotel will not host a Muslim religious conference that was to feature speakers who have expressed anti-gay and anti-Semitic views. The Star informed a Sheraton convention services manager about the speakers. A hotel spokesperson then said it had been “cancelled due to the organization’s failure to satisfy a contractual requirement.”

The conference, which had been scheduled for Oct. 23, was organized by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), a British organization seeking to establish a Canadian presence. “The aim of the upcoming conference, far from promoting hatred, will focus on getting Muslims to pro-actively engage with the wider society by sharing the true essence of the Islamic faith in both word and deed,” the IERA said. Jewish and gay organizations had criticized the IERA for inviting four speakers who had disparaged gays, Jews and Christians.

“Toronto 18” Leader Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison

The Toronto Star – October 25, 2010

Fahim Ahmad, the convicted leader of the so-called Toronto 18, was sentenced October 25th to 16 years in prison for his role in a plot to launch a campaign of terrorist attacks in Canada. In imposing the sentence, Justice Fletcher Dawson granted him a time served credit of eight years and nine months. The 26-year-old Toronto man, a married father of two young children, won’t be eligible to seek parole for 3 1/2 years. Under his direction, plans were made to attack nuclear stations and storm Parliament, taking politicians hostage until Canada gave into his demands to pull troops from Afghanistan. He and seventeen other young men were arrested on June 2, 2006.

Ismaili Leader Aga Khan Celebrates Canadian Pluralism

The Toronto Star – October 15, 2010

In a world where technology and human migration push people of differing backgrounds increasingly “in each other’s face,” spiritual leader the Aga Khan hailed Canada as a country that has got pluralism right.The religious leader — imam — of the world’s 14 million Shia Ismaili Muslims praised this country for allowing citizens to keep their identity as they become Canadian.“What the Canadian experience suggests to me is that honouring one’s own identity need not mean rejecting others,” he said Friday in the keynote address to the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s prestigious annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium.

The concept of people of different backgrounds living in harmony is the focus of a think tank he is creating in Ottawa in a building once home to the Canadian War Museum. In Toronto, he also announced earlier this year he will build a new Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum and Gardens at Eglinton Ave. and Wynford Dr. Both centres – in Toronto and Ottawa – reflect the ties the Aga Khan said he has felt with Canada for nearly 40 years, since this country welcomed thousands of Asian refugees from Uganda, including many Ismailis.