Is there a conflict between religious identity and Canadian identity? An Islamic Perspective Mahmoud Haddara November 2011
Two Questions • What do we mean by the Canadian Identity? • What makes a Muslim Canadian?
The Canadian Identity, as it has come to be known, is as elusive as the Sasquatch and Ogopogo. It has animated—and frustrated—generations of statesmen, historians, writers, artists, philosophers, and the National Film Board...Canada resists easy definition. - Andrew Cohen
Canadian Identity is Contested • People disagree on what it means • It has been affected by our history, geography, and environment • It continues to be shaped and reshaped, sometimes organically, sometimes deliberately
Some dimensions are clear Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.
Dimensions (cont.) • Tolerance • Multiculturalism (Diversity?) • Negotiation • Social responsibility
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms • Fundamental Freedoms: • freedom of conscience and religion; • freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; • Freedom of peaceful assembly; and • Freedom of association.
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms • Rights • Democratic rights; • Mobility rights; • Legal rights; • Equality rights.
Types of Citizens • The Personally Responsible Citizen • The Participatory Citizen • The Justice Oriented Citizen
Personally Responsible Citizen • Acts responsibly in his/her community. • Works and pays taxes • Obeys laws • Recycles, gives blood • Volunteers to lend a hand in times of crisis
The Participatory Citizen • Active member of community organizations and/or improvement efforts • Organizes community efforts to care for those in need, promote economic development, or clean up environment • Knows how government agencies work • Knows strategies for accomplishing collective tasks
The Justice Oriented Citizen • Critically assesses social, political, and economic structures to see beyond surface causes • Seeks out and addresses areas of injustice • Knows about social movements and how to effect systemic change
Example • Personally Responsible Contributes food to a food drive • Participatory Citizen Helps to organize a food drive • Justice-oriented Citizen Explores why people are hungry and acts to solve root causes
Becoming Canadian • Sense of belonging and loyalty • Commitment to service • Respect for human dignity • Awareness of the greater human family
Dimensions of Good Citizenship in Islam • Fidelity • Responsibility • Participation • Equality • Justice • Democracy • Diversity
Fidelity • “Believers! Fulfill your contracts (pledges, promises, and obligations).” (5:1) O Canada!Our home and native land!True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise,The True North strong and free! From far and wide,O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free!O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Loyalty and Belonging • The prophet’s own example • The story of Fudayk • The Quranic Narrative
Responsibility • “Remember when your Lord said to the angels, "I will create a vicegerent on earth." (2: 30) • “We offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth, and the mountains, yet they refused to undertake it and were afraid of it; human beings undertook it –they have always been unjust and ignorant.” (33:72)
Participation • “We have made you a well balanced nation that you may be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.”(2:143)
Equality • “You are all children of Adam and Adam was created from dust.” (Prophetic Tradition) • “People, be conscious of your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created, of like nature, its mate and spread from these two, many men and women…”(4:1)
Equality (Cont.) • “We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created.”(17:70)
Establishing Justice • “God commands that you return things entrusted to you to their rightful owners, and, if you judge between people, to do so with justice.” (4:58) • “Believers, be steadfast in your devotion to God and bear witness impartially: do not let the hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, for that is closer to God consciousness.” (5:8)
Democracy • “And those who have responded to their Lord and established prayer and who determine their affairs through consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” (42:38) • Prophet’s Example.
Diversity • “Humankind! We created you from one male and one female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may get to know each other. Truly, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you. God has full knowledge and is intimately aware of all things.” (49:13)
Diversity • “Had your Lord willed He would have made humankind one community; but they will not cease to differ.” (11:118)
Priorities “Serve God, and do not join any partner with Him. Do good to your parents, to your relatives, to the orphans, to the needy, to neighbours who are near, to neighbours who are farther away, to the companion by your side, to the wayfarer, and to what your right hands possess. Verily, God does not love the arrogant, the vainglorious.” (4:36)