August 25, 2006
The Muslim Canadian Congress has a new President and a new Board of Directors. The new President, Farzana Hassan, is a novelist, writer, musician, women's rights activist who earned an MBA from the University of Massachusetts and is working towards her Ph.D. [http://www.farzanahassan.com]
In a message to members of the MCC and the Muslim community, Farzana Hassan issued the following statement.
Dear members of the MCC and the broader Muslim Communities of Canada,
After being in business for five years and changing the way how Canadians see their Muslim citizens, we are now ready to embark on new initiatives which would enhance and expand our existing mission and objectives.
For the Muslim Canadian Congress, the interests of Canadian Muslims are paramount. Members of the MCC are first and foremost Canadians, and this acknowledgment of our common citizenship with other Canadians is above any other identity that we hold dear to our hearts.
During our short history, we have as a small organization, achieved a lot. We were able to stop the introduction of Shariah in Canada and were part of the movement to stop funding of private religious schools. We have been able to break every stereotype that exists about Muslims, specially the notion that Muslims are a single monolith community.
Our stand on human rights has been admired. Despite the fact that we all recognize that our religion does not permit homosexuality, we still stood up to defend the rights of gays and lesbians, not from a religious perspective, but on the basis of universal human rights.
We recognize that there is a growing hunger within the larger Canadian family to see a genuine liberal and moderate Muslim group to emerge; a group that respects freedom of religion, but also recognizes the separation of religion and politics. As a home for secular, liberal, progressive and spiritual Muslims, the MCC is responding to that need by being just such a voice
We are unequivocally opposed to fundamentalism and extremism in our midst and in order to state our policy and goals effectively, we take positions that denounce terrorism quite forcefully, without providing justifications or sounding apologetic or defensive about murder being committed in the name of religion. We are also fighting gender apartheid in our communities where women are being sent to the back of the mosque or being shut out in balconies or behind curtains or burqas. We also recognize the issues of social justice standing up for the rights of the down-trodden in society.
We firmly believe that fighting Islamic extremism and opposing terrorism is a crucial way of countering the rising tide of Islamophobia. As is, Canadian Muslims must deal with the backlash from terrorist activity abroad. Not responding effectively to the terrorist threat here and abroad, further exacerbates Islamophobia.
The MCC by denouncing terror unequivocally continues to stand up for truth and justice and in so doing, is attempting to be that authentic moderate voice which projects the correct image of Islam and Muslims to non-Muslims.
I feel that even though Muslims are clearly the victims in wars and conflicts abroad, we are losing the moral war as well, since many among the traditional leadership continually find justification for the actions of overseas terrorism or home grown terror in Canada. This is unacceptable to me as a Muslim who feels compassion towards her coreligionists.
I hope you will all join me in surmounting the many challenges ahead. I am sure together we can be a formidable force to counter the damage done by the Islamists and fundamentalists who continually project Islam as an intolerant and misogynist faith both through their words and deeds.
MCC grieves the loss of our sons and daughters in Afghanistan, who died serving Canada in the line of duty. We offer our condolences to the families of the dead soldiers and hope to see all our troops back home safely.
The MCC asks that you give till it hurts to organizations like the IDRF
Views and opinions on who, if anyone, is the real voice for Canada's Muslims
The MCC campaign against religious tribunals for family law
The MCC takes a stand for justice, equality and human rights
War on Terror
The MCC condemns both terrorism and the "war on terror"
The MCC does more than just talk the talk. Read about walking the walk in Hebron
Speaking for Muslims: A new group stirs the pot with its progressive ideas
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