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March 27, 2005
Islam around the world...part 2

by Bint Abdul Khaliq

35 million gallons of water ,per minute, roars over the edge of the one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world.This water then flows down a River into a Lake,and then into another River, finally entering into the Atlantic Ocean.This ocean is known to be one of the five main oceans of the world ,but in reality there is really only One Big ocean.One can sail a boat in every known 'ocean' or 'sea',which means that they are all connected.

Similarly,no matter where the Muslims are scattered across the world,we are One Ummah -we are connected.We should look out for each other,support each other.Allah Ta'ala tells us in the Holy Qur'aan:

"Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other). "(21:92)

SubhanAllah..our Creator is telling us this.May Allah Ta'ala strengthen our Islamic brotherhood for His pleasure alone.Ameen Ya Rabbal 'Aalameen.

So where are we travelling to next? Here are a few hints..

We're off....

It is the second-largest country in the world (Russia is the first) .It has a population of around 31.4 million people,of which approximately 2 % are Muslim...and growing.This huge country borders the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, and the United States of America.And of course,it is home to one of the forgotten natural Wonders of the World,The famous Niagara Falls...

Yes brothers and sisters,we have just entered the beautiful country of Canada.

A brief history

The first recorded Islamic presence in Canada was the 1871 census which found 13 Muslims among the population. The first Canadian Musjid was constructed in Edmonton in 1938 when there were only about 700 Muslims in the country,making it the first Musjid in North America.The years after World War II saw a swift increase in the Muslim population, but in the 1981 census the population was still below a hundred thousand.

Most Canadian Muslims are either recent immigrants to Canada, or the children of recent immigrants. There are two distinct streams of Muslim immigration to Canada. For decades many skilled professionals have emigrated to the country to pursue a higher standard of living. There have also been large numbers of refugees. The Canadian Muslim population is very diverse,being drawn from across Africa and Asia.

A Canadian speaks...

What's it like living as a Muslim in Canada? I'll let Brother Ziad fill you in on that.Masha Allah,he is an aspiring journalist and though he had his hands full,he happily agreed to fit in this interview into his busy schedule for our benefit.May Allah Ta'ala reward him abundantly.Ameen.

A big 'As Salaamu Alaikum!' to him from all at Hidaya.Let's hear what had to say...

Hidaya: Where exactly do you reside in the Canada?


I live in Montreal, which is Canada's 2nd largest city and is located in the province of Quebec.

Hidaya: How long have you lived here?

All my life...almost 23 years now.

Hidaya: Describe Canada to us in a few words.The place,people etc

The country in which you can see, hear and taste elements of almost every single country in the world - and where you can experience what - 40 C and 40 C feel like (depending where you are in the country and at what time of the year).

Hidaya: What do like best about your country?

I like the people, the freedom to practice our faith (the way we want to), the opportunities, the embracing of diversity, the hockey, and the weather (when it's good).

Hidaya: What dont you like?

The weather (when it's not good), especially when I have to walk about a kilometer to the train station in the morning with my nose freezing over in what feels like - 40 C, and our Canadian laissez-faire attitude that can be bad sometimes.

Hidaya: Is Islam strong in your country?

Sort of.

Hidaya: Why would you say so?

The 2001 census found that those who identified themselves as Muslim recorded the biggest increase, more than doubling from 253,300 in 1991 to 579,600 in 2001. The current population of the country is over 32 million. Islam saw the biggest increase in followers and is now second only to Christianity. That being said, the Muslim community is relatively small and only Allah knows how many Muslims are at good terms with their religion.

Hidaya: Is there freedom to practice Islam in your country?

Yes alhamdulillah. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to freedom of religion and the courts have been proactive in protecting the right. As well, most schools and employers are accommodating towards the religious needs of students and employees.

Hidaya:Is Dawah work active in the Canada?

Yes, Dawah work is on-going in various ways, alhamdulillah. Most Muslim Students Associations (MSA) at colleges and universities are fairly active in giving Dawah. The work of tableegh is on-going as well, and there are advocacy groups who work towards presenting the correct Islamic viewpoint, politically and in the media.

Hidaya: Is there a great number of people reverting to Islam in Canada?

I can't offer any statistics but there seems to be an increased interest in Islam and more diversity is apparent in Masajid, Musallahs, and Islamic schools.

Hidaya:What is the condition of the Muslim Youth in the Canada?

It's tough to make a generalized comment because one tends to see things according to the groups of people one associates with. I guess, just like anywhere, there are those who are practicing and others who are not. Most colleges and universities have strong MSAs and that has an obvious effect. But then there are many who choose not to associate with the MSA. Youth in their teens may be on more shaky ground as the environment and surroundings have a profound effect on one's behaviour - which is compounded by the inexperience and naivety that comes with young age - and this may be the area where there may be more negatives then positives, as it is very easy to get 'lost'. Some regain their footing later on; others do not. There's no way to properly find out how many go either way. As one youth worker put it: all kids screw up; the ones who find their way are those who have been taught well by their parents and that's what helps them find their way back; those who are lacking don't
know their way back. However, as they grow older, it has been noticed that groups like MSAs play a big role for many in helping them find their way back.

Hidaya: Post September 11,do you find that the Muslim Youth in general are afraid of expressing their Islamic identity or has this strengthened their faith and encouraged them to critically view their position as Muslims in society?

Again, there's no way to make a case for one or the either. Many were probably led to suppressing their Muslim identities while others, I'm sure, found the fallout from 9-11 (i.e. the mostly negative spotlight on Muslims) to be a source of strength and an opportunity to discover the true meaning of Islam and to tell others about it.

Hidaya: What is the general relationship between The Muslims and Non-Muslims Of the Canada?Is there an awareness of Islam among the non-Muslims?

It seems awareness has sky-rocketed since 9-11. Muslims have received extensive coverage in the media and more people probably know more about Islam now than ever before. As well, Muslims have started taking active roles in politics and other public affairs. The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is generally a good and peaceful one.

Hidaya: Do you think that many of the Muslims of Canada are well informed about the state of the Muslim Ummah around our troubled globe?

Yes, I think most Muslims are well connected with events around the world, especially since the general sentiment seems to be that our media is more objective and fair than that of some other countries.

Hidaya: Are the Muslims of Canada are active enough in taking a stance against the injustices committed against our brothers and sisters ?

It probably depends on the city but in general, many Muslims as well as non-Muslims are fairly active in activism and doing their part in making sure that their voices are heard with regards to problems at home and around the world .

Hidaya: How objective is the Canadian media when it comes to reporting on Muslims?

There have been rumblings about media bias in reporting, but I think most media outlets do try to offer a balanced perspective. There are some known outlets who often seem to shortchange Muslims and these media outlets are often a topic of discussion. But overall, I think the media does try to be objective though some will argue that it needs to try harder. I think we need to realize though that objectivity as we see it (with the biased viewpoint of a Muslim) may not always be objectivity in the eyes of reporters and editors. We all have biases (though good reporters and editors try to disregard them) and I think our biases sometimes prevent us from seeing editorial objectivity from the unbiased viewpoint of a reporter or editor, because we naturally try to make the reporting to be as favourable for us as possible, which is not the objective of the reporters and the editors.

Hidaya: What do you think the Muslims of Canada can change to contribute towards a progressing Ummah inshAllah?

I think with Canada's diversity, Muslims here can become a model for peaceful co-existence with people of different races and nationalities, while at the same time, practicing their religion, working towards safeguarding their community from negative outside influences and informing others about Islam. It's quite a challenge but I believe it can be done, Insha-Allah.

Hidaya: Last but not least-there are many people from all over the globe who are reading this insha Allah,what are your parting words to them as a fellow muslim brother?

The Muslim ummah is not a huge monster with life of its own - its made up individuals like me and you. So before I go about complaining about the state of the ummah worldwide, I must try to bring change to myself first (Insha-Allah). If we all stop merely discussing the problems of the ummah (without any action to go with it) and instead start applying true Islam into our lives, the ummah's problems will disappear automatically , Insha-Allah.

---

Jazakallahu Khairan to Brother Ziad for his time and effort.May Allah keep him steadfast on Deen and guide him to success in both worlds.Ameen.

As another edition of 'Islam around the world' comes to a close,I hope this series is achieving it's objective and informing,uniting and enlightening the Ummah.Insha Allah.

till we meet again

Bint Abdul Khaliq

Hidayaonline.com


of and relating to...
asif said

Salaam Ukhti:

Jazakum Allah Khair, yet another informative and engaging article, Masha'Allah!

I agree, the coldest morning I have ever felt, thus far, was in Toronto...when I had to step out and fill up the car with Gas. Man it was so cold that I dont even remember the day and occasion why I was there, all I remember is how chilly it was!

Keep your globe trotting articles coming!

on March 28, 2005 3:25 AM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu Alaikum

Canada in pictures:

Map of Canada:

http://www.mapquest.com/atlas/main.adp?region=canada

Al Rashid Musjid-first Musjid in North America:

http://www.edmontonmuslims.com/islamEd_001.htm


Niagra falls:

http://www.trailcanada.com/photos/photos-on-09-02.asp

Bridge over the Ottowa river:

http://www.trailcanada.com/photos/photos-on-03-04.asp


The cleanest city of the world and Canada's number two business city:

http://www.trailcanada.com/photos/calgary-city.asp

Toronto:

http://www.trailcanada.com/photos/toronto.asp

Montreal:

http://www.trailcanada.com/photos/photos-qc-03-01.asp


Jamiyatul 'Ulama Canada:

http://www.jucanada.org/

on March 28, 2005 4:40 AM
asif said

Salaam Ukhti:

Masha'Allah, You are really defining the role of a reporter on Hidayaonline. I appreciate the added information about Canada as it builds upon the informative article that you have posted earlier.

Jazakum Allah Khair!

on March 28, 2005 9:02 AM
Ibtisam said

Jazakullaahu khair,
I think Canadians speak real english, they have the best accent, ma shaa Allaah. I wish I had that accent.

on March 28, 2005 12:00 PM
Saleem said

Jazakallah Khair for that insightful piece.

Alhamdolillah, Canadian Muslims are an example of what a community can accomplish when they put their minds to it, with unity. Earlier this year I was surprised to find out that the Muslim community was granted its wish of having an Islamic Sharia Court, whose jurisdiction would be over matters ranging from family law to business law (as arbiters). If anyone is interested there here is a link http://muslim-canada.org/DARLQADAMSHAH1.html which has some good articles on the phenomenon.

There are a few groups who are against it - as usual... one of whose website is www.nosharia.com in case if anyone wants to read it.

salam and congrats to the brother for surviving that -40 degree weather.

on March 29, 2005 1:05 AM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu alaikum

'I was surprised to find out that the Muslim community was granted its wish of having an Islamic Sharia Court'

Masha Allah that's great to hear.Alhamdulillah

was Salaam

on March 29, 2005 5:08 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

I really really hope insha Allah that you could have an interview with chinese Muslims. Not only do they practice the most authentic Kung-fu in existence but they are just mad cool. I saw many them in Mecca...they were by far the most organized and orderly of people. I just wanted to give them a hug.

Anyway, incase anyone thought american or european Muslims had it bad check out this article on a new report on Chinese government supression of Muslims .

http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/04/11/china10447.htm

And if any of you have ever seen the supression that goes on in North Korea you would be flabergasted. (There was a documentary a few months ago on PBS documenting the lives of two North Korean families.) Also, my cousin while in Libya made friend with many North Koreans (Libya and NK are buddy buddy...Libya uses skilled workers from NK such as doctors and nurses). Anyway, from what he told me the people he was friends with were just too scared to even THINK of religion, or of Allah. I believe it is called doublethink in george Orwell's 1984. Even though you know deep down that the brainwashing they;ve been feeding you is wrong (that your God does not exist, that we eveolved from monkeys, that your leader Kim Jung Il is the one who will protect you and guide you and always watching over you) you just believe it for the sake of believeing it because the alternative would get you killed.

It is actually quite sad because my cousin knew that deep down inside some of those he was talking to really did know that what he was telling them of the deen is true but would just supress or expel everyhting because they just didn;t want to have to think otherwise.


Doublethink
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Doublethink means, according to George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four:

the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. ... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. (pages 176-177)

Waslaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on April 12, 2005 2:06 AM
Justoju said

Interesting. But I would think that the practice of doublethinking would create a great deal of cognitive dissonance in the subject and ultimately lead to psychological distress and instability in the long run...its a risky habit...

"Cognitive Dissonance" is a theory proposed by the psychologist Leon Festinger in 1957. It is a state of imbalance between cognitions. For the purpose of this theory, cognitions are defined as being an attitude, emotion, belief or value, or even a mixture of these cognitions. In brief, the theory of cognitive dissonance holds that the human mind tends to adopt thoughts or beliefs so as to minimise the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions.

More on http://psychcentral.com/psypsych/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

on April 12, 2005 5:20 AM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu Alaikum

Br Rami,I would love to interview a Chinese Muslim,insha Allah if the opportunity does come along.You wouldn't happen to know of any contact details for a good,practising Chinese Muslim,would you?

"and if any of you have ever seen the supression that goes on in North Korea you would be flabergasted."

It's so sad.May Allah help them and guide them to the truth.Ameen.Hidaya lies in HIS hands alone.

This doublethinking and cognitive dissonance stuff is quite intruiging.Great link you posted up sis Justojo.

Btw if anyone does know of(practising) Muslims from anywhere around the world who wouldn't mind being interviewed,please e-mail them to me insha Allah and I'll see where I can take it from there.Jazakallah.

Was Salaam

on April 12, 2005 11:58 AM
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