Written by Grace
As the Toronto Star makes a brief mention of the Journey of Faith conference in Toronto this weekend, Xtra!, Canada’s gay and lesbian news offers a more in depth look into the organizations promotion of ” the understanding of Islam through the Revelations and the Prophetic Traditions.
While hundreds of thousands will be celebrating Pride this weekend, down the street the Metro Toronto Convention Centre an Ontario Crown Corporation, will play host to the popular, annual religious conference. Last year’s Journey of Faith conference saw over 10,000 Muslims and a scattering of non-muslims in attendance, all eager to take in themany speeches of renowned Islamic scholars from around the world.
If you’re at all confused by Islam, are a non-muslim interested in learning more about the faith or ever wanted to see what Islam truly teaches and what its values and principles are, the organizers at Journey of Faith extend a special invitation just for you! Forget Gay Pride-this is the place to be. Admission is free for non-Muslims and all are welcome to bring the kids, enjoy the crafts bazzar, assorted treats and who knows- maybe you’ll be lucky enough to sheikh hands with some prominent speakers imported from abroad.
So take some diversity time before lunch on Saturday or break away on Sunday to learn more about the most ‘misunderstood religion on earth’. Get to know some scholars and what they preach. Unsure of what to see first? How about taking in Dr. Bilal Philip’s lecture entitled Emman Town. The Journey of Faith site describes it as:
“Imagine a city of Faith, teeming with religious conviction, compassion, and cooperation. Dr. Bilal Philips will impart the blueprint of Madeenatur-Rasool (the city of the Prophet) to help us transform our homes, Mosques, schools and entire societies into powerhouses of Emaan, gleaming with and spreading the light of Islam. Join Dr. Bilal for the communal change of a lifetime”.
This esteemed popular scholar, teacher and author was born Dennis Bradley Philips in Kingston, Jamaica. At age 11 he moved to Canada settling down with his family. Before his conversion to Islam in 1972 he was a Communist Party activist. He graduated from the Islamic University of Medina with a BA and later obtained an MA in Islamic theology from the King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He now lives in Qatar and comes back to Canada to occasionally lecture.
It’s also worth noting that in 2007, Australia barred Dr. (Sheikh) Bilal Philips from entering the country to speak at the Australian Islamic Conference at Melbourne University. As it happens, he has been linked to the 1993 World Trade Centre bombings in New York with the U.S. government naming him an un-indicted co-conspirator in the bombings that killed six and injured 1,000. In response, Philips accused Australian authorities of ” blindly following American allegations and unsubstantiated false accusations”, claiming that investigations in the U.K., Canada and Australia had found no evidence to connect him to terrorism. He further mocked the statement of un-indicted co-conspirator in the ’93 WTC bombings as a ‘joke’. As of April 2011, he has been barred from re-entering Germany considered a persona non grata.
As if this weren’t enough, Philips openly advocates the marriages of pre-pubescent girls, public executions and stonings. But rest assured, “the cutting of hands and heads, stoning of people to death and public lashes are only to be held on Fridays” he asserts on his web site.
If you missed Philips but have some time between lunch and the five o’clock halal snack, you may want to sit and enjoy another enlightened scholar, Abdur Raheem Green born of British parents and another convert to Islam. His 25 minute “Can’t We All Just get Along?” lecture promises to tackle the small differences, to improve race relations within the ummah itself, untie and bring the true believers under one umbrella because- we ALL BELONG!………
Too caught up at the crafts bazzar bartering for a bracelet and missed that one? Not to worry- Green appears again with his “Father of Ignorance” lecture Sunday afternoon- a speech promising to help you find ways to combat the persecution and propaganda against Muslims. With a special emphasis on dealing with Islamophobia in the West, he guides us today in a new, peaceful, promising and a Prophetic Light. Before Sunday dinner you’ll leave bedazzled, educated and equipped to enlighten the enemies of Islam.
Too bad Raheem Green’s can’t we all just get along? ditty doesn’t extend to the people of Pride as he calls for the enactment of sharia law and the death penalty through stoning of homosexuals and adulterers. Of course, that small detail doesn’t matter here any more than other similar small details didn’t matter when he was invited by the Federation of Islamic Societies to lecture at University College, London, England. During his speech to students he proudly claimed that “terrorism works” and in finding a shared understanding with Osama bin Laden, he comfortably declared a “permanent state of war exists between the people of Islam and the people who oppose Islam”.
For the ladies, two exciting lectures by Mohammed Faqih promise to be enlightening. The speaker waxes that women have always enjoyed empowerment and esteem in Islam through his first lecture “The Bent Rib-Woman in Islam”. The second and my personal favourite, ” You can be the Happiest Woman in the World” discusses the lives of six Muslimahs and how we too, can learn from their courage and trust in Allah to become the happiest woman in the world.
But not everyone is happy with this year’s line-up of guest speakers at the Journey Faith Islamist Jubilee Conference. “We asked police to monitor the situation, especially two individuals, because one of them in particular has a history of saying very hateful things,” said Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray, as he walked down Church St. for the Trans Pride March. “Hate is hate is hate is hate and people who try to be bearers of hate are offensive at any time,” he added.
According to Xtra! magazine, Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese is looking to file a complaint with the attorney-general’s office. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on Pride weekend or not,” Marchese told Xtra!. “It’s unbelievable that people could have such feelings. You would think they would hide their views and not express them as if it’s an acceptable point of view.”
Yet these views seem perfectly acceptable for the many thousands of Muslims who have flocked to this conference over the past few years. And if these views are not acceptable, where’s the public denouncement from those within the community? With each passing year we see more controversial speakers attend this conference whose intolerant views are never challenged. So year after year, the Journey of Faith continues with nary a peep of protest. Who goes to this? Seriously. Pimply faced fresh converts who think wearing a knitted cap is cool? Young blushing women with crushes on Islamists who on their way out pick up a niqab and a DVD copy of their favourite lecturer who tells them how to be a virtuous, modest woman? Old timers who seek to protect themselves against the whispers of the shaytan and the tricks of the jinn in a wicked western world?
I don’t know who goes, but I’m willing to bet I know the group that is neither welcome or invited. Good thing the streets of Toronto are wide enough to accommodate this much “diversity”. We’ll have to see exactly how much the pavement narrows with each passing Journey of Faith Conference, an event billed to “introduce humanity through Islam”.
This article was written by Grace for Vladtepesblog. Please feel free to copy to your own site with a link back and proper attribution.