2014 October, Canadian Pride and Symbol of Democracy: the Parliament on the Hill’Dr. Emdad Khan, emdadkhan@sympatico.ca

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Canadian Pride and Symbol of Democracy: the Parliament on the Hill

By: Dr. Emdad Khan, emdadkhan@sympatico.ca


The recent attacks in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu have shocked and horrified Canadians; considered an attack on the Canadian pride and symbol of democracy, the parliament on the hill.

The deliberate act was committed by a single misguided, homeless Canadian Citizen, with no identity or purpose of life, born and brought up in Canada by a dysfunctional family, who lived on & off in an Ottawa shelter for the last two months. He was lonely, mentally depressed and perhaps as a copycat, to get instant attention, wrongly inspired by the other incident in Quebec, started the atrocity, an innocent solder on duty got killed, and committed an unprecedented attach on the parliament.

Some considered, this October (10/22) incident of shooting in Ottawa as Canada’s 9/11. In fact, it is a wake-up call for new Canadians as well as main stream Canadians; to plan and develop an integrated family with identify and purpose of life where kids, youths, adults men, women and seniors all feel welcome and has a part to play in the society.

If we go deep down and do analysis, these two incidents in Ottawa and Quebec including many other past killings incidents in different cities of Canada indicate, the cowardly violence is carried out primarily by isolated single persons who have no family or community support while growing as kids, youths or adults. They lost their sense of identity & belonging and they feel society as a whole not care for them or they have no role to play in the society.

We all know, Canada is a just society with human rights, practices multiculturalism. As new Canadians, we migrated here as we enjoy rights to vote, equal opportunity in jobs, and better education and universal health care, rights to practice our faith under the charter of rights.

We are also proud, Canada as a welfare state has child benefits, unemployment benefits, housing support, etc. Still, if we read and review reports as published time to time in media, a section of population, specially kids and youths, suffer because of breakdown of families and some crack in the system. We need to do more works to bring back family values and reduce poverty for homeless, marginalized and poor including the aboriginal community.

We are also in urgent need to plan and work to engage our youths in constructive activities within the school and after the school, in sports, and other healthy recreational activities. Also we are in need to create an environment though community support groups where dysfunctional and broken family kids and youths get support and feel welcome.

As new Canadians, a different set of work items are cut for us by this wake-up call. We as new Canadians, need to work on to develop a plan and implement an integrated family with an identity and purpose of life; where, kids, youths, adults women, men and seniors, everyone feels welcome and has a role to play and contribute to the society. This will allow us as new Canadians, to be integrated with main stream Canadian society and work hand in hand to enhance family values and the development of the community and society.

Muslim masjids, need to be re-structured as prophet Muhammed’s masjid in Medina as service-based Community centres where the kids, youths, sisters and seniors, everyone feel welcomed and accepted irrespective of ethnicity and school of thoughts. Also we, as individual, family and community, should meet and welcome our Canadian neighbours into our home and masjids. As new Canadians, we need to be active in all spheres of social activities, work place, be active in volunteering as well as in politics. We as Canadian citizens have obligations, and responsibilities to the society as we have rights. Our faith, dictates us, O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations, (Al-Quran, 5.1). The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “The Muslim is one who does not harm others with his hands or tongue and the emigrant is the one who shuns all that God has forbidden.”

Our faith dictates, if we have wronged someone else, we must settle it and face justice, otherwise, in the life hereafter, our good deeds will be transferred to the other person. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Whoever has committed wrong against someone else’s honor or with respect to something else, then let him resolve the matter with him today before it will not be resolved with gold and silver coins – but if he had good deeds to his credit, they will be taken from him to the degree of his wrong, and if he has no good deeds to his credit, then he will be made to assume some of the bad deeds of the one who was wronged.”

Most of us have come to this country as immigrants, seeking education or prosperity which are legitimate reasons. But our mission in this country is not to only to gain the material prosperity but also to be ambassador of our faith in action by showing honesty, integrity and good behaviour inculcating Muslim family values. When our Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Medina – people were divided and he had the task of building a community out of a divided people. The local residents (known as Al-Ansar) were divided into two tribes, Awush and Khajaras, (who have been fighting for many years), as well three Jewish tribes. The Prophet (PBUH) developed a strong community, united in diversity out of these three components.

We, as new Canadian Muslims, came from diverse South Asian, Arab, African, South American, Caribbean, European and native Canadian background. We need ourselves to get integrated with our own diverse background and varied understanding and practices of our faith. Side by side, we need to work to get integrated with the main stream Canadian society keeping our faith based identity. As Muslims, we are building masjids but we need to work to provide services and welcome Muslims as a family unit, brothers, sisters, and kids of all the diverse ethnicity.

Prophet’s masjid in Medina, provided social and educational services for the whole community – young and adults, men and women, rich and poor, African and European, black and white. People used to gather to hold educational and spiritual sessions in the Prophet’s masjid. Social celebrations and gatherings—such as weddings—took place in the masjid. People discussed various concerns of the city in the Prophet’s masjid, which was not confined to the performance of Prayers only.

Our Prophet (PBUH) also developed the brotherhood between the migrants from Makkah and the residents of Medina. This development of brotherhood was a key element of integrated development of the city – the migrants were in desperate need of material help and the Medina residents needed a new identity instead of the tribal frictions. Prophet (PBUH) also made a treaty with the three Jewish tribes and guaranteed freedom of worship, allowing them a school and synagogue.

Let us think of what legacy we are leaving behind. Once we die, this world is over for us. But as prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated, “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: a) an ongoing charity, b) knowledge from which others benefit, and c) a righteous child who prays for him.”

For us, as new Canadians, following footsteps of our prophet, we need to take steps to develop a strong local community with healthy and normal relations with our neighbours, whatever the faith or ethnicity.

So let the recent incidents of shooting in Ottawa, October 20 (10/20), make us, all new Canadians, to embrace our faith strongly like early Muslim migrants in Medina. Let us continue engaging our Muslim youth in understanding the true meaning and spirit of our faith, so they can continue to pass the torch of our faith to future generations.

Also we should strive with a meaning and purpose for our life, to integrate with main stream Canadian society in every aspect of daily life and contribute to those around us and the community – to make our community and new adopted country, Canada, a better place and get the reward from our creator, God, the Al-mighty.

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