Mississauga, Ontario mosque offers free hot meals

Toronto Star – September 28, 2011

Heeding the Qur’anic instruction to assist the needy, Jamia Riyadhul Jannah mosque in Mississauga, Ontario will start offering free meals, seven days a week from noon to 7 p.m., starting Friday. The Sunni/Sufi mosque, located in an industrial park near Credit View and Argentia Rds., is the first North American mosque to provide hot meals to all regardless of faith, organizers claim. The halal menu will vary daily, with the entrees ranging from burgers to pasta and other items.

Community outreach was a founding principle of the mosque when it opened last August, Sohawardy said. Future plans include providing temporary shelter for recent immigrants. The mosque has been putting the word out with flyers distributed through food banks and other community services. Initially, the food will be brought in, kept warm on site and be served in a small 18-square-metre dining room. But the mosque is equipped with a kitchen and additional dining space, leaving room for expansion.

Muslim NHL Toronto Leafs Player Under Pressure to Build Bridges

Toronto Star – September 26, 2010
Nazem Kadri survived Sunday’s round of cuts that chopped the Maple Leafs’ pre-season roster to 30 players — 23 will open the season. But whether he is on the roster on opening night or has to spend time with the AHL Marlies, it’s virtually assured Kadri will be with the Leafs for a significant portion of the season and in his career to come. There’s more pressure on him than on most other 19-year-olds because he’s a visible minority in a mostly white pursuit and a Muslim in a mostly Christian arena. He noted: “Hockey is going to become more multicultural. People from all different backgrounds and religions are going to be coming into the game of hockey. That’s good for the sport, that’s good for all communities.” Kadri certainly isn’t the first prominent Muslim athlete — Muhammad Ali and Hakeem Olajuwan long ago broke those barriers. But he could become the first prominent Muslim hockey player.

Ringleader of the “Toronto 18” is not Dangerous, Trial told in Toronto

Toronto Star – September 28, 2010
The ringleader of the so-called Toronto 18 should be given a 10- to 12-year sentence because he was merely a “wannabe” with “grandiose ideas,” whose talk of storming Parliament Hill and acquiring weapons “amounted to fantasy,” a court was told on September 28th. “He is not that jihadi serial killer,” defence lawyer Dennis Edney said at the sentencing hearing of Fahim Ahmad, 25, who was arrested in June 2006 for participating in a cell that plotted to attack Canadian targets. He and co-counsel Bella Petrouchinova suggested Ahmad receive two-for-one credit for time already served in pre-trial custody. They also requested Ahmad be sent to a prison nearby so his family, which includes a wife and two children, can visit often.
While incarcerated, Ahmad has abandoned the flawed interpretations of Islam he learned as a teen when frequenting theologically conservative mosques in Mississauga and Scarborough, said Edney. “He now favours a broader interpretation of the Qu’ran. That is essential in my view,” said the lawyer, adding his client is “well on the road to rehabilitation.” Ahmad pleaded guilty in May to participating in a terrorist group, importing firearms and instructing co-accused to carry out an activity for a terrorist group.

Five years since the Ontario Sharia Debate

The Toronto Star – September 11, 2010
Harvey Simmons, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Political Science at York University, has written this short piece reflecting on the Sharia debate which transpired five years ago in the province of Ontario. He claims that it is still not clear why Premier McGuinty dumped religious arbitration. Some felt the premier foresaw his whole legislative agenda being derailed by endless fighting over religious arbitration. Others felt he agreed with the anti-tribunal forces over the putative threat to women’s rights.
Once taken, the decision was greeted by anti-tribunal groups as an example of how multicultural societies draw lines around the illiberal activities and beliefs of minority communities and say, “this far and no farther.” The pro-tribunal groups, however, saw it as proof of Islamophobia and as a violation of religious freedom. He concludes that five years on, there is simply no way to pass judgment on the premier’s fateful decision.

Canadian Prime Minister Condemns Qur’an Burning

The Toronto Star – September 8, 2010
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to his Christian faith to “unequivocally condemn” a Florida church that plans to burn 200 copies of the Qur’an. “I don’t speak very often about my own religion but let me be very clear: My God and my Christ is a tolerant God, and that’s what we want to see in this world,” he said.
Harper was adding his voice to the global outcry against a Florida preacher who plans to burn copies of the Qur’an in a bonfire Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Rev. Terry Jones has since rescinded his protest. Defence Minister Peter MacKay added, “This initiative is insulting to Muslims and Canadians of all faiths who understand that freedom of thought and freedom of religion are fundamental to our way of living.”