An interesting Toronto Star editorial on “Our appalling ignorance of matters Muslim”:
Recent events in Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Germany and France challenge some well-entrenched notions.
Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim nation, at 235 million, and the third largest democracy, after India and the U.S. – held a free and fair presidential election. It featured three secular-minded candidates, including a woman who does not wear the hijab. […]
Neighbouring Malaysia has begun rolling back a decades-long quota system for the majority Malays, which discriminates against Chinese, Indians and others. Prime Minister Najib Razak is pre-empting the resurgent opposition leader, former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, whose pledge to end the quotas was gaining traction.
Democracy is also working well in Turkey. The government has just proclaimed a law limiting the power of military courts. Civilian courts will try military personnel in peacetime and military courts will be barred from prosecuting civilians. […]
If you include the elected governments in Pakistan and Bangladesh (populations 176 million and 158 million, respectively) and add the Muslims of India (155 million), you realize that about 800 million Muslims enjoy varying degrees of democracy.
The Western view of Muslims living under military or monarchical despots is true mostly of the Middle East. And the worst among them (Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states) are the closest allies of the U.S. – and Canada.
So the idea of America as the harbinger of democracy for Muslims is humbug. (Read more)
Uyghur Muslims in Canada are reacting to recent violence in China…
Uyghur-Canadians are banding together to protest the recent crackdown by Chinese authorities on demonstrations in their homeland, and some say last weekend’s riots have been an “awakening” for the tiny community.
“Usually when we had protests before, it was hard to get 20 or 30 people to show up,” said Mehmet Tohti, an Uyghur-Canadian living in Mississauga, Ont. “But today, everyone stopped working and came together to express their anger.”
Nearly all of the Toronto 120 Uyghurs demonstrated outside the Chinese consulate in Toronto Wednesday while another 30 of Alberta’s Uyghurs gathered at the Chinese consulate in Calgary. The Toronto group was joined by a few dozen supporters, mostly from the region’s Turkish community. The Uyghurs are a Muslim people of Turkic descent who have a long history in a part of northwestern China bordered by Mongolia and Kazakhstan in the north and India in the south. (Read more)
… and worry about family members who remain in the region:
A haunting beep-beep-beep is all that Turan Zayit has heard when she tries to phone her three sons after violent ethnic clashes erupted Sunday in northwest China.
The 59-year-old Uighur mother of four has tried calling her sons, ages 36, 38 and 40, every few minutes since riots broke out between Muslim Uighurs and the country’s dominant group, the Han Chinese, in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province.
“There’s no connection whatsoever. I’m very anxious … worried to death,” Zayit said yesterday through an interpreter. (Read more)
A prayer service is held for a Canadian woman who died in the Yemini Airbus plane crash in early July (may she rest in peace):
Mourners came from as far as Ethiopia to pray for the soul of Ensumata Abdoulghani, the Ottawa woman who died when the Yemeni Airbus she was aboard crashed into the Indian Ocean Tuesday.
Abdoulghani, married to Muslim teacher Youssouf Mahamoud, was on her way to visit her ailing mother in Comoros when the flight went down. Of the 153 people on board, only a 12-year-old girl survived.
Abdoulghani and Mahamoud have a five-year-old daughter and two sons, aged two and six months.
Her husband, who teaches at Ecole Ibn Batouta, a French Islamic school where the prayer service was held Saturday evening, is currently in Comoros, waiting for updates. On Saturday, the Yemeni transport ministry reported a large piece of debris had been found by a U.S. search crew.
Mourners at the traditional Muslim service said a prayer of absence since Abdoulghani’s body had not been found. Typically, the prayer service is held on the day of burial. (Read more)