Archive for the ‘Canada’ tag
by John Cotter
from The Star
Churches across Canada say they have a religious duty to speak out on the proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline.
Next week, delegates at the United Church of Canada general council meeting in Ottawa will debate a resolution that calls on the church to reject construction of the $6-billion Enbridge project that would take diluted bitumen from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.
The resolution was drafted in support of aboriginals in B.C., who worry a spill would poison the land and water, and directs the church to send the results of its vote to the federal, B.C. and Alberta governments and the media.
Mardi Tindal, moderator of the United Church, said care of the Earth is an important part of the faith and the church can’t shy away from the pipeline just because it is controversial and politically divisive.
“People care so much about this. People understand that you cannot separate economic health from ecological health,” she said from Toronto.
“The church has a responsibility to contribute to the conversations that make for the best public policy for the common good.”
The United Church of Canada is not alone.
WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama on Tuesday heaped praise on Punjab-born Dalip Singh Saund, the country’s first Indian-American member of the Congress. In his address at the annual gala of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, the US President described the late Saund as a “trailblazer”.
“They were trailblazers like Dalip Singh Saund, a young man from India who came to study agriculture in 1920, stayed to become a farmer, and took on the cause of citizenship for all people of South Asian descent,” the President said to applause.
“And once Dalip earned his own citizenship, he stepped up to serve the country he loved-and became the first Asian-American elected to the Congress,” he added.
Saund was born in 1899 in Chhajalwadi village of Punjab. He came to the US in 1920 to study food preservation at the University of California at Berkeley. He eventually switched to mathematics and earned a master degree and a PhD in the subject.
Despite his educational qualifications, Saund took a job as a lettuce farmer since farm labour was the only work South Asians were permitted to do in the US in the 1920s. Indians were also not eligible for US citizenship at that time.
Following an amendment to the law, Saund became a citizen in 1949 and in 1956 was elected as a lawmaker representing California in the Congress, where he served three terms.
The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada is planning to hold a national interfaith dialogue with Christian and Jewish leaders in Canada.
Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy said the council wants to hold a series of interfaith dialogues in all major cities, including Montreal, Toronto, Mississauga, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Surrey and Vancouver.
He said the purpose is to discuss: religious and secular fundamentalism and extremism in Canada; the role of religion in Canadian society; the impact of international events on faith communities and their relationships in Canada; the perceived threat of sharia law; Canadian values versus religious values; Jewish-Christian values versus Islamic values; freedom of speech and the freedom of religion in Canada and around the world; and improvements in interfaith relationships in Canada.
Soharwardy said more topics can be added for the discussion and other religious groups, including atheists and agnostics, can also participate in these dialogues.
“We are in communication with several Christian and Jewish organizations across the country and finalizing the dates of these meetings,” he said.
The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada is seeking assistance from all religious leaders and organizations to help and participate in this national dialogue.
by Douglas Todd
from the Vancouver Sun
Canada is welcoming more than the global average of immigrants who are Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and non-religious.
The country, however, is taking in less than the global average of immigrants who are Muslim, Hindu and Jewish.
Those are some of the surprising findings of a sweeping global survey on immigration and religion conducted by the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The report, titled Faith on the Move, provides an enormous amount of data on the religious loyalties of the world’s 214-million immigrants, a group larger than the population of Brazil.
Canada, which has 7.2 million permanent residents who were not born in the country, is the fifth most popular destination for the world’s immigrants. This country of 34 million accepts twice as many immigrants per capita as the U.S.
The Pew Forum report, which describes migration patterns in every country of the world, makes clear that immigration is changing the religious face of Canada in unexpected ways.
by Brenda Suderman
from Winnipeg Free Press
For 11-year-old Camryn Kangas, compassion is as simple as being friendly to her classmates, and as involved as caring about people who are completely different from her.
“It’s a really big part of life, and you really need compassion in the world for people to be equal and get along with each other,” explains the Grade 6 student at St. John Brebeuf School.
In addition to that eloquent explanation, Camryn and her classmates at the Roman Catholic elementary school in River Heights are dancing, singing, chanting and even rapping their feelings and thoughts about compassion.
With the help of their teachers, the dozen grade 5 and 6 girls created a five-minute mini-musical about compassion, based on a poem by Winnipeg artist Manju Lodha.
“It reaches the soul of the listener,” Lodha says of the mini-musical, which includes a rap about human rights.
“I only put the words to it, and the students invoked the life in my words through their talents and the directions of their teachers.”
Lodha and fellow Winnipeg artists Isam Aboud and Ray Dirks spent the last two months leading workshops on compassion in eight Winnipeg public and independent schools for a project sponsored by the Manitoba Multifaith Council.
Called the Art of Compassion, the project culminates with a week-long student art exhibit, which opens 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Canadian Mennonite University, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., and features the St. John Brebeuf students and Hindu dancers.
Since 2007, the three artists, representing three different faith traditions — Hinduism, Islam and Christianity — have led workshops for schoolchildren and adults on topics such as multiculturalism, respect and more recently, compassion.
By Daood Hamdani
From Common Ground News Service
Ottawa – This May, as Muslims mark the twentieth anniversary of the induction of Al-Rashid mosque in Fort Edmonton Park, the country’s largest living history museum, the spotlight will be on the leadership role of Muslim women in this historic event.
Fifty years after they burst onto the front line to help complete the construction of Canada’s first mosque in 1938, Muslim women took over a floundering campaign to save it from demolition. They surprised many by not only preserving this irreplaceable piece of Canadian heritage but enshrining it in the history museum. Al-Rashid, once a bustling hub of community life, started drifting into disrepair after the congregation outgrew it and moved to a new Islamic centre in 1982. Numerous efforts to raise money and find a new location for the old structure failed. Al-Rashid was set for demolition in 1988. Out of options, the Muslim community could only hope for a miracle.
To many, including Canadians of other faiths, the loss of the country’s oldest mosque and a Canadian heritage building was unthinkable. Al-Rashid was more than a place of worship. It was also the story of the struggle, adjustment and integration of early Muslim settlers.
While the community braced itself for the inevitable, the Terrific Twelve, a group of twelve women who belonged to a relatively new and untested organisation, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW), which was founded in 1982 to speak for Muslim women, defiantly dug in to save the mosque. Led by Lila Fahlman and Razia Jaffer, founder and president of CCMW respectively, these young, highly educated women of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds included second-generation Canadians and new immigrants, working moms, full-time homemakers and single professional women.
The Dalai Lama returns to Montreal later this year on September 7, to address the Second Global Conference On World’s Religions after September 11, which will meet at the Palais des Congrès, almost after a decade following the events of 9/11.
Other renowned speakers include Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, world-famous author Deepak Chopra, Professor Tariq Ramadan, and Professor Robert Thurman. Professor Gregory Baum, recipient of the Order of Canada and Swami Dayananda Saraswati will also participate in the conference.
Under the theme of “Peace Through Religion”, the one-day event will include the unveiling of the latest version of a proposed Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World’s Religions, which has been on the anvil since 1996 and which is designed as a complement to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
“The aim of the conference is to bring together the various religions of the world in an ecumenical spirit to address the many issues facing the world today, in the hope that this will help all of us become better human beings”, emphasized the convenor of the event, Arvind Sharma, Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at the Faculty of Religious Studies of McGill University.
Panel discussions with the speakers will seek to generate consensus around two fundamental social and religious issues:
- Should a course on world religions also be taught whenever the confessional study or religion is carried out?
- Should violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion be considered tantamount to violating the sanctity of the scriptures of all religions?
The Conference is co-sponsored by McGill University and Université de Montréal.
Vancouver, British Columbia will be hosting a Pre-Parliament Event this upcoming Saturday, September 12th at the St. Michael Anglican Church. Keynote speakers will be The Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham DD, Bishop, Diocese of New Westminster and Hon. Mr Ujjal Dosanjh M.P. The event will also include presentations, discussions, choral music, dance, a time for prayer and a vegetarian lunch. To learn more about this Pre-Parliament event, click here.