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RE: Four Muslim Canadians, Three Weddings and a Funeral--Opinion piece in The Toronto Star

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  • Uzma Shakir
    Good piece. Enjoyed it. Uzma.
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 31, 2003
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      Good piece. Enjoyed it. Uzma.

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Tarek Fatah [mailto:tarekfatah@...]
      > Sent: July 31, 2003 8:04 AM
      > To: The Muslim Chronicle
      > Subject: Four Muslim Canadians, Three Weddings and a Funeral--Opinion
      > piece in The Toronto Star
      >
      > Jul. 31, 2003
      >
      > Three weddings and a funeral
      >
      > By Raheel Raza, Ariane Madhavi, Natasha Fatah and Atique Azad
      > The Toronto Star
      > http://www.thestar.ca/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Arti
      > cle_Type1&c=Article&cid=1059603009771&call_pageid=968256290204&col=9683501
      > 16795
      >
      > At a Muslim wedding in Markham last week, about 350 guests faced an
      > embarrassing situation. The self-proclaimed Imam (leader) who was invited
      > by the hosts to say a few words got totally carried away and gave a long,
      > offensive monologue.
      >
      > First, he publicly denounced non-Muslims for lacking family values. He
      > then asked the groom thrice if he wanted to escape. Furthermore, he
      > informed the bride, she doesn't have the right to step outside the house
      > or give anything to her family without her husband's permission. He
      > reinforced these "rules" by mentioning hellfire and brimstone.
      >
      > There was no talk of love, respect and consideration between the couple.
      > The guests were stunned, the couple looked shocked and a few people stood
      > up in protest but no one contradicted the speaker. Obviously they had no
      > idea what to do.
      >
      > Upon inquiring how a balanced, educated family could allow someone to spew
      > such vitriol, the hosts confessed that their agreement with the speaker
      > had been for him to repeat the marriage sermon of Prophet Muhammad as done
      > traditionally at Muslim weddings (which is short and simple, highlighting
      > the sanctity and beauty of marriage). They had no clue that he would
      > indulge in histrionics.
      >
      > Muslim marriages do not necessitate a sermon to be recited as part of the
      > religious ceremony. The requirement is for Aqd which is solemnization of
      > the contract through offering and acceptance with full and free consent of
      > the parties concerned, two witnesses and a gift from the groom to the
      > bride.
      >
      > A respected community member may be invited to say a few words, which
      > could range from relevant verses of the Qur'an to Sufi poetry . A public
      > celebration to bless the union is considered to be Sunnah (practice of the
      > Prophet) and this celebration can be as festive as the family wishes it to
      > be. Weddings are not meant to be dark and dreary as some dysfunctional
      > mullahs indicate, when they pose themselves as reformers, exhorting
      > misogynist theories supported by useless traditions and ranting about
      > "Western corruption."
      >
      > It seems that they have taken it upon themselves to use occasions like
      > weddings and funerals, to endorse personal views. Recently at a funeral in
      > Toronto, the Imam who was asked to pray for the soul of the departed
      > blasted the Supreme Court of Canada for 30 minutes, on the issue of
      > same-sex marriages! Wrong time, wrong place.
      >
      > However, misuse of power by religious leaders is not unique to the Muslim
      > community. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a family has filed a lawsuit against
      > their local Catholic church over a funeral mass in which the priest
      > allegedly said their relative was a "lukewarm" Catholic and was going to
      > hell. Religious exploitation seems to have taken the world by storm.
      >
      > At a second wedding in Toronto, the Imam lectured women about their
      > marital duties, interpreted in the most conservative framework, with no
      > mention that Prophet Mohammad's wife Khadija, a successful businesswoman,
      > had sent a proposal of marriage to him. He then informed the guests that
      > they shouldn't befriend Jews and Christians and proceeded to point out the
      > faults of the "infidels" until the young bride burst into tears and told
      > him that most of her friends present at the event were Jews and
      > Christians.
      >
      > So much for joy.
      >
      > Our only hope as a thriving and contributing Canadian Muslim community
      > lies in removing the power of those who distort the faith. Some young
      > Muslims took the initiative of doing just that at a wedding last week.
      >
      > The bride and her brother organized the reception, informing the parents
      > that their only contribution would be one of their credit cards. There was
      > no sermon, and the occasion reflected the best of both worlds. The
      > families of the bride and groom are quite traditional, so a simple
      > religious ceremony had been performed earlier at a mosque with immediate
      > family in attendance.
      >
      > Later, family and friends were invited to a mixed reception where hijab
      > and henna mingled with halters and high heels to the strains of
      > traditional music.
      >
      > Friends and families blessed the couple in an atmosphere filled with joy -
      > finally a Muslim-Canadian wedding with some feeling.
      > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      > ------
      > Raheel Raza, and Natasha Fatah hail from Pakistan; Atique Azad from
      > Bangladesh; and Ariane Mahdavi from Iran. They are members of the Muslim
      > Canadian Congress.
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