8879Islam and Muslims in Canada: Islam Revival in Canada
- Jan 10 3:25 PMIslam Revival in Canada
By Muneeb Nasir, IOL Correspondent
Tue. Dec. 23, 2008
TORONTO — Canadian Muslims are charging their batteries for the "Reviving the Islamic Spirit," a landmark annual convention that draws distinguished Muslim speakers from across the world.
"With an average annual attendance of 15,000 participants, the convention draws a very diverse group of attendees," Nadir Shirazi, the convention's press secretary, told IslamOnline.net.
Thousands of people from all over North America will flock to Toronto on Friday, December 26, for the opening of the three-day annual conference.
The event is organized by a group of young, active Canadian Muslims and is considered the largest Muslim gathering in Canada, echoing the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in the US.
This year's convention, the seventh, is themed "Answering the Call of God’s Messenger – Setting Prophetic Priorities for Muslims in the West."
The event will also feature a grand Souk (bazaar), with vendors from all across North America selling and promoting their products and services.
"[It] generates a great deal of economic activity within the city," says Shirazi.
A concert will be held at the end of the conference, featuring international nasheed performers, including famed Pakistani artist Junaid Jamshed and British singer Mesut Kurtis.
The organizers expect a larger turn-out this year as the convention falls during the Christmas holiday in Canada.
Since first held in 2003, the convention has become one of North America's high-profile Muslim conferences.
It has grown from 3,500 attendees in its first year to over 15,000 in 2007, making it the largest Muslim conference in Canada.
A galaxy of Muslim scholars from different parts of the world will address the attendees.
They include American Hamza Yusuf, Swiss Tariq Ramadan, Canadian Jamal Badawi, Kuwaiti Tareq Suwaidan, and American Yahya Rhodus.
Ramadan, one of the most renowned Western Muslim scholars, will be launching his new book, Radical Reform – Islamic Ethics and Liberation, during the conference.
Egypt's charismatic speaker and popular televangelist Amr Khaled will tackle in his message to the meeting living "a purpose-driven Islamic life."
"By bringing a diverse range of speakers to Toronto, the world’s most diverse city, we hope to build real and meaningful institutions to live together with others and contribute to Canada," Fouzan Khan, the convention's founder and director, told IOL.
Over the years, the convention drew notable Muslim and non-Muslim figures, including famed British journalist Robert Fisk, American rabbi and political activist Michael Lerner and Pakistani politician and cricket legend Imran Khan.
Organizers believe the diversity of the distinguished speakers projects the true image of Muslims, who make up around 1.9 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population.
"Muslims in Canada are global citizens and are more interconnected than ever to humanity around the world," maintains Khan.
A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.