Responding positively to fear and hate (Friday Khutbah)

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Friday Khutbah, September 19, 2014 at the Kanata Muslim Association

Once again, disturbing and inappropriate actions are unfortunately being linked to Islam.  As citizens of a global village, incidents from around the world have the potential to affect us locally. What should we do? We explore appropriate responses to fear, suspicion and hate.

Responding positively to fear and hate (Runs 32:03 ~ 12.3 MB)

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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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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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