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selected stories from the Qur'an
guide to islam
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To help make a mosque
in Cold Lake a reality
contact Ajaz Quraishi

1102 - 15th AVE

ajaz quraishi, Cold Lake Islamic Society president

Welcome to the official home of the Cold Lake Islamic Society. It is my hope that this website serves as a portal to a mutual understanding between ALL faiths and to educate non-Muslims of the gentle teachings of Islam.

Peace be upon you.

Ajaz Quraishi

“This a tragedy that started with the mistreatment of the women themselves, continued through the lack of an appropriate response from those charged with providing assistance and, ultimately, resulted in their tragic deaths and no verdict will change that sad fact. Our thoughts today are with the victims of this shocking crime and with the remaining children who must be protected and provided with a safe and secure upbringing” said Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN).

“By all accounts those convicted have been afforded due process and must now face the consequences of their actions. This case sends a clear message to would-be perpetrators that these kinds of abhorrent actions will not go unpunished.

In November 2011, CAIR-CAN and over 70 other Muslim and non-Muslim organizations, as well as dozens of Imams, scholars and community leaders issued a Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence. The Call to Action reiterates in no uncertain terms that Canadian Muslims unequivocally condemn the notion of 'honour killing' or other gender-based violence as un-Islamic and un-Canadian.

“CAIR-CAN and its partners are intent on continuing the critical work of educating families and communities about the unacceptability of violence on every level, and alternative ways to resolve conflicts and prevent future tragedies.  Ongoing and new projects and initiatives aimed at establishing and supporting existing social services providers with the necessary resources to address gender-based violence must be supported and promoted.  These include white ribbon campaigns, workshops and community round tables and, most recently, the Family Honour Project launched by the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration in , which is modeled on the based anti-gang violence Ceasefire program.

“Despite this case being about people who identified themselves as Muslim, the statistics about gender-based violence tells us that no one religion, culture or ethnicity holds the exclusive franchise on this scourge and we are confident that our fellow citizens will recognize this and support the efforts being made by Canadian Muslims to tackle this important issue.” CAIR-CAN is a national, non-profit, grassroots organization striving to be a leading voice that enriches Canadian society through Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

Ramadan is that time of year when Muslim recharge their spiritual batteries. For one whole month they fast from dawn to sunset, and offer additional prayers at night. After the end of Ramadan comes one of the two Muslim festivals, a day of Eid. On this day Muslims thank God for his guidance and grace in helping them to control their baser desires and fulfill their spiritual needs. Muslims agree on all fundamentals of the fast. This makes the fasting a worldwide phenomenon observed by the devoted among the world's 1.5 billion Muslims as one international community.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year which follows the lunar calendar. Each month begins with a sighting of the next month's crescent. Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was revealed as a guidance for all mankind. It is a criterion by which to distinguish truth from falsehood. The Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, said that on each day of Ramadan God frees many souls from fire of Hell. He told Muslims to introduce the Qur'an's teachings to others so that they too can have the opportunity to be free.

Fasting is a major feature of Ramadan. Many religions recognize the benefits of fasting, but Islam institutes a month of it to secure its benefits for all adherents. All able-bodied Muslims must fast. This will develop in them a consciousness that will help them towards right conduct and prevent them from wrongdoing. To obtain this result, a Muslim must stick to both the formal and informal aspects of the fast. The formal aspects include abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse.

The informal aspects of the fast are just important. The fasting person must abstain from lying, cheating, argumentation, fighting, foul language and every sort of evil. In this month one has to cultivate a lasting awareness of God, and keen sense to observe his commandments throughout the year.

The prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, said that if someone does not give up falsehood in speech and actions, God has no need for such one to give up his food and drink.

click here for photo of members of the Cold Lake Islamic Society celebrating this most festive of occasions

I was honoured to be present at the United Church in Cold Lake on March 13, where I was asked by Reverand Crombie to attend our first Inter-Faith presentation. This is not the first time I've been asked to participate in such services. In 2003, I was asked to perform a 'Peace Vigil' at the Catholic church on the Air Force Base. I have also been asked in the past to explain the basics of Islam to Boy Scouts, other youth groups and Victim Services. It is my hope that these meetings have been as informative and educational for others as they have been for me. These joint-services have been well-received by all, and I look forward to future such joint prayers between our different faiths.
click here for photo

article regarding Pope John Paul, reprinted from Aftab Sabir of the Winnipeg Free Press, April 10, 2005.
(Aftab Sabir is a board member of CAIR-CAN)

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
John Paul 'nearest in love' to Muslims

The passing of Pope John Paul II has led to an enormous outpouring of love and grief from people around the world. Many are also reflecting on the legacy of the Pope's life and his accomplishments. Others are assessing the challenges now facing the Vatican.

It is interesting to note that some of the Pope's conservative positions that many Catholics, especially in the West, find difficult to agree with are supported by Muslims. These include such things as abstinence outside of marriage and opposition to same-sex unions and the practice of homosexuality, although Islam does allow for family planning and divorce.

The Pope's legacy of speaking out on political and social issues from a purely religious perspective has brought empowerment to many in our religious communities and encouraged what some secularists may see as blurring the separation lines between church and state.

A number of elements of Catholicism are significantly different from Islam, and it is no surprise that John Paul II disagreed with Islamic theology. Still, in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he said: "Nevertheless, the religiosity of Muslims deserves respect. It is impossible not, for example, to admire their fidelity to prayer..."

Muslims also appreciate the fact that John Paul II was the first pope to visit a mosque, and to kiss the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book. Through this gesture, an unprecedented sign of respect, he won the hearts of Muslims around the world.

I believe that the most important legacy of this pope will be his affection for all people of the world -- particularly those struggling to survive against all odds -- and the neglected populace of the developing world. He was instrumental in bringing attention to the plight of Palestinians while consistently preaching against violence. He also was an open advocate for peace and spoke against the war in Iraq. Courageously, in 2003, he said: "No to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity."

John Paul's openness to dialogue with different faith groups has inspired many Roman Catholic churches around the world, and especially in North America, to follow his lead and enter into ecumenical bridge-building. He truly actualized the lesson: "If someone is digging a well, grab a shovel."

There are three main lessons that the ecumenical community can take away from the Pope's life. The first is forgiveness, which is an attribute with immense potential to heal wounds and promote solidarity between people. In May of 1981, an assassination attempt left the Pope with wounds to his abdomen, left hand and right arm. More than two years later, in December, 1983, after having already forgiven him, the pope went to visit his attacker in prison. This spirit of forgiveness has tremendous potential in bringing the world's differing populations together.

Secondly, raising one's voice to bring attention to the plight of the poor and marginalized of society, advancing their cause to the world stage. This is absolutely critical given the rapidly increasing divide between rich and poor. John Paul spoke of the obligation the rich have to share their wealth with the poor, a concept shared by Islam's call for a mandatory poor-due called Zakah, payable by all Muslims.

Thirdly, remaining true to one's principles and beliefs, while at the same time pursuing dialogue and communication with others and treating each human being with dignity in spite of their socio-economic status or ethnic, religious and cultural differences. This is why Pope John Paul's efforts at outreach are so important for all of us to appreciate. He understood that solving the world's problems requires that people have mutual respect and honour the dignity of all people.

What better way for a Muslim to describe the Pope than in the words of the Qur'an (5:82): "... And you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: 'We are Christians.' That is because amongst them are men devoted to learning and men who renounced the world and they are not arrogant."

Inspiring within us the desire to work together with humility in the service of humanity is surely the greatest of Pope John Paul II's achievements.

I was priveledged to have hosted some honoured guests from Malaysia. They were here as part of a joint-training exercise at CFB Cold Lake, and took time to join prayer services with members of the Cold Lake Islamic Society. As you may know, the local Air Force Base regularly hold these joint-training exercises. Many people from many cultured backgrounds come together during what is called "Maple Flag". In 2005 alone there were 5,000 people over the six weeks from 11 countries took part.
click here for photo

I was honoured to join the United Church's Reverand David Crosbie recently, as we were invited by the local Scouts club to talk briefly about our respective faiths. This is part of the Scouts' training, and I was thrilled to learn this is actually only one of over 200 badges the boys can earn during their Scouts career. I also learned many other interesting things about this world group, that instills many beneficial, practical, and spiritual virtues into the boys. Reverand Crombie and I discussed many similar components of our beliefs, and we agree that promoting understanding and tolerance to children is the key to a harmonious community. I look forward to the opportunity to take part in similar activities in the future.
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By Chris Miller, Cold Lake Sun

Keeping an open mind to other faiths, students at Assumption School — a Catholic school — have been studying Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahai, Islam and other world religions.

Grade 11 student Laura Baker contacted Ajaz Quraishi, president of the Cold Lake Islamic Society, to give a presentation about Islam to her classmates on March 23. Accepting the invitation, Quraishi fielded students' questions about everything from the Qu'ran and the sunnah to Mecca and almsgiving. Bishops at the Vatican wrote, "Although in the course of the centuries many quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Muslims, this sacred Synod urges all to forget the past and to strive sincerely for mutual understanding."

Islam, a 1,400-year-old religion, literally means "peace". Quraishi said it is the fastest growing religion in North America. When he came to Canada to 1967, about 2,000 Canadians were Muslims. Today, Christians are rubbing shoulders more and more with Muslims, as an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide are Muslims, about 600,000 of them Canadians. About 50 Lakeland area residents are Muslims.

Contrary to popular belief, only about 15 per cent of all Muslims are Arabs. Quraishi explained to students the background of the prophet Muhammad and his mission to ending the vicious cycle of murder and warfare among pre-Islamic tribes. Muslims worship one God, whom they call Allah. Quraishi said that Muslims believe that Allah has sent messengers throughout history, but over time people have misunderstood or misinterpreted those messages. This includes the teachings of Adam, Abraham, Ishmael, Noah, Solomon, David, Jesus, et al. Quraishi also explained the five pillars of the Muslim faith: 1) declaration of faith, 2) prayer, 3) fasting (during Ramadan) 4) almsgiving, and 5) pilgrimage to Mecca.
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Letter to the editor of Cold Lake Sun, by Norman McRae

I HAVE JUST heard on CNN that the terror plot in Great Britain was tipped off to the authorities by moderate Muslims in Britain. All I can say to this is a huge THANK YOU to all moderate Muslims in the world. Deep down, the rest of us also know that the vast majority of Muslims in the world just want peace and respect for all, and this act should be proof of that fact to all non-Muslims.

I hope that this large, important, even vital bit of information is broadcast to everyone who mistrusts those of the Islamic faith. Islam had given the Western world a huge amount of knowledge, and also preserved much Greek and Roman knowledge that would have been lost during the Dark and Middle Ages in Europe, and for that, we should thank them.

Unfortunately, extremists have surfaced everywhere, and not just in the Islam world. David Koresh, Skinheads, Neo-Nazis and other Christian extremists have tarnished the Christian world just as bad as those extremists who claim to be Muslim, and they are all just as shunned by the real mainstream majority of both of these religions.

Remember that Adam and Noah, Abraham and Jacob are all the same people, whether they be in the Qu'oran, the Torah, or the Bible. We all worship the same God, whether you call Him Allah or Jehovah. Islam even accepts Jesus as one of God's prophets. Now why can't the rest of us learn to accept each other?

Norman McRae,
Cold Lake, AB

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN)