Happy weekend everyone, and hello from Kuwait!
My apologies for not posting as frequently this past week — Ivy and I are both suffering from terrible colds and the jet lag took a number on all of us. I’ve also been jettisoned into a Christmas wedding season — so there are about a million and one wedding functions to attend over the next two weeks. But I’ll be posting regularly soon enough insha’Allah. I mean, how can I not blog about the Second Cup, Canadian coffee chain now serving sheesha with their signature caramel corretto?
So to start off, this week’s roundup has a bunch of Muslims celebrating Christmas, a bunch of Muslims not celebrating Christmas, niqab, and some pious sexy eye-candy for your stockings.
UPDATED 1) It’s one of North America’s largest and hottest celebrations of traditional Islamic knowledge — where the meeting of grand religious minds charge the air with their electric personae, where fanbois swoon over “salaaming” their personal sheikh heroes and fangurrls throw their hijabs on stage, hoping for just one raised eyebrow from the magnificent Dr. Tariq Ramadan.
Yes, it’s the return of the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto! And it’s about to get hotter. Justin Trudeau addressed the audience as a part of a little “political outreach” to the Muslim community. *squee!*
Now, you can’t have a high profile Liberal show up at a Muslim conference without having a little controversy. According to the HuffPo, mainstream media picked up complaints about Trudeau’s participation from a few anti-Islamic websites. Complaints concerning allegations that one of the largest conference sponsors has ties to Hamas. *cue dramatic music*
So in response, the sponsor — a previously registered charity now in appeals over alleged fraud — pulled out of the conference. Why the controversy you ask? Conference spokeswoman Fariha Ahmad explains:
Unfortunately, (such criticism) will always exist and I think the idea of a large congregation of Muslims gathering is often attached with speculation over the last decade or so. There’s been wide speculation about whether or not Muslims are all terrorists… That’s also what the media has been portraying.
In his speech Trudeau used the controversy to his advantage, firing back at critics by standing against fear and prejudice like the superhero he is.
Well I truly hope that this year’s conference is beneficial to all in increasing knowledge, deen and imaan. I’ve always enjoyed the RIS experience and would love to live vicariously through anyone who is attending. Let me know!
2) Who says Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas?
In an absolutely lovely display of interfaith celebration, Muslim housing groups in East London held a Christmas party for hundreds of their non-Muslim neighbours.
According to the East London Advisor, the local authority’s housing wing, Tower Hamlets Homes, asked families on housing estates in the east end to help organise parties to improve interfaith understanding.
Earlier this year, groups run by non-Muslims organised three fantastic Eid parties — and this week, Muslim-run groups returned the favour with some Christmas pudding, reindeer games and Santa!
C’mon, with that beard, we all know Santa is really a Muslim.
3) Veils. Who are we to judge indeed?
According to a recent Globe and Mail headline it sounds like veils are on their way out as, “Witness may be required to remove niqab while testifying in court” — or in other words, words that can be found when reading the article, witnesses CAN wear their niqab in court. It just depends. And there hasn’t been an actual case example either way. Yet.
This week, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Muslim witnesses may be required to remove their niqab to testify depending on the seriousness of the case and the sincerity of their religious belief. Answering why the Supreme Court did not rule strictly for or against the niqab for witnesses, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin explained that:
An extreme approach that would always require the witness to remove her niqab while testifying, or one that would never do so, is untenable. The answer lies in a just and proportionate balance between freedom of religion and trial fairness, based on the particular case before the court.
According to the article, this ruling means a halted sexual assault trial can now resume — as soon as the trial judge assesses the complainant’s request to testify against her alleged abuser while wearing her niqab. While I’m happy to hear that niqabi rights to religious expression will hopefully be upheld, this will not be the last we hear about niqab in the courts.
And if the complainant is ordered to remove her veil during the sexual assault trial, I really hope her face isn’t splashed all over the evening news.
4) Must-read rapid-fire:
- A fascinating new ruling illustrates the separate system of “justice” invented for Muslims in the US after 9/11. Check out Glenn Greenwald’s amazing article, New York’s top court highlights the meaninglessness and menace of the term “terrorism.“
- Anthropologist-blogger-academic-extraordinaire, Dr Marranci takes on a ridiculous article attempting to link so-called Islamist fanaticism with neurological damage done to the brain while praying Muslim Style. Fraudulent neurology gets served in his, Prayer bumps, Muslim haters, and the danger of scientific popularization.
- Did you hear the one about the Muslim Tea Party Crasher? Learn all about Libertarian Islam as Tea Partying Muslim work to educate political Conservatives on the real meaning of shari’a and the dangers of the anti-Muslim movement!
- Bah Humbug! An Australian imam issues a “fatwa” against Muslims celebrating Christmas. Read all about it, and how the majority of Australian Muslims don’t agree with this one random religious opinion.
- And across the pond, Muslims joined Christians in organising a Christmas food drive. Together St. John the Divine Catholic Church and the London Muslim Mosque gathered food for over 100 families. As Muslim organizer, Ali D. Chahbar said, “To us, the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of brotherly love, and why wouldn’t we want to be a part of it?”
5) Finally, if you haven’t already heard it, here’s the latest viral video. It’s supposedly this year’s top Christmas tune — and with over 6 million views, they just might be right!
According to the YouTube video write-up, Muhammad Shahid Nazir moved to London’s East End from Pakistan and started working on a market stall selling fish. His trader’s call, “Have-a, have-a look, one pound fish. Very, very good, very, very cheap, one pound fish” has become the stuff of legend.