Opinion: ‘Oh, no, I hope it’s not a Muslim’ (Kingston Whig-Standard & London Free Press)

By Sikander Hashmi

The moment I saw my Twitter feed light up with breaking news alerts about a terror bust last Monday, my heart sank. I was worried not because I wanted a potential terror plot to go ahead, but because April had already been a difficult month, and the last thing I needed to hear was that there had been another potential terror threat.

First there was the revelation that two young Muslim men from London, Ont. had allegedly travelled to Algeria and taken part in an attack on an oil refinery in mid-January. Both were reportedly killed. There was the expected barrage of questions, concerns and criticisms regarding our communities that I was still dealing with.

The Boston Marathon bombings were particularly difficult. To watch fellow human beings go through such a sudden and terrifying event was heart-wrenching. It reminded me of the many civilian deaths and injuries occurring almost daily in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and many other parts of the world. Except this time, it hit a lot closer to home. I was born in Montreal, have lived in Toronto and have relatives in New York, so Boston is a city I can identify with.

The “oh no, I hope it’s not a Muslim” moment came and went quickly, as the suspects were soon identified as Muslims. Only a few days had passed since the terrible bombings, and the overall sadness, concern about violent radicalism and fear of backlash hadn’t dissipated. The latter was so strong that last Friday, as I prepared to leave home to lead our weekly prayer service, I actually considered saying proper goodbyes to my wife and two young children in case something terrible happened and I never returned.

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Also: Authorities must work to build Muslims’ trust

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Dealing with hate and mistrust (Friday Khutbah)

Friday Khutbah, May 10, 2013 at the Islamic Centre of Kingston (Ontario)

New statistics indicate the Canadian Muslim population has grown to 1 million. Some are alarmed while others continue to spread hatred against us and our faith. How should we respond? What do we learn from past incidents and teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?

Dealing with hate and mistrust (Runs 34:49 ~ 15.9 MB)

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Opinion: Path to fame, road to infamy (Kingston Whig-Standard & London Free Press)

By Sikander Hashmi

This is the tale of two young athletes living in the same city and belonging to the same faith community. Both have made headlines recently. How they got into the headlines is what sets them apart.

In 2006, 16 year-old Nazem Kadri was attending A.B. Lucas Secondary School in London, Ont. On the other side of town, Ali Medlej was close to graduating from London South Secondary School. Both were Muslim teens of Arab descent. Kadri was a practising Muslim who served as president of his school’s Muslim Students Association and was into hockey; Medlej was on his school’s football team.

Kadri, now a star forward with the Toronto Maple Leafs, made headlines early this week after scoring his second career hat trick and subsequently being kissed by Don Cherry on national television. A few days later, Medlej was leading national newscasts for allegedly being part of a deadly terrorist attack on an Algerian refinery in mid-January. According to news reports, Medlej, 24, was killed along with high school friend Xristos Katsiroubas, 22, also a London student.

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Also: Pick a life path – stardom or infamy?

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Serious reflections about our future (Friday Khutbah)

Friday Khutbah, March 29, 2013 at the Islamic Centre of Kingston (Ontario)

Prayer halls may be packed for Friday and Eid prayers, but what’s the true state of our community? What indications do we get from statistics about the direction we’re headed in? How can we best prepare for what is to come?

Serious reflections about our future (Runs 33:35 ~ 11.5 MB)

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Muslim Community’s Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence

For the first time, over 80 Canadian Muslim organizations, imams and community leaders have signed on to a call for action against domestic violence. Read it here.

This is much more than a statement. This is a commitment to work towards eradicating domestic violence and “honour” killings.

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