Saturday, February 21, 2015

Colossal Mosque Rises in Fort McMurray

There's a humongous new mosque/community hub--150,000 square feet, no less--going up in the oil patch city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and the Globe & Mail has a suitably lengthy piece in its "Focus" section about it. The G&M scribbler, Colin Freeze, seems quite taken with the project, since it is going to be really, really "diverse," embracing Muslim Fort McMurrayites who originally hail from all sorts of different places in the Muslim world. And in case you're one of those "Islamophobes" who frets about what kinds of things might be preached from the pulpit of such a mosque, fear not. According to Freeze, the mosque's imam is one of those, like, totally cool, forward-looking, "moderate" Muslims:

The imam

Fort McMurray’s imam, Abdurrahmann Murad, has come full circle: Born in Surrey, B.C., he left Canada at 19 to study at a university in Riyadh. “It’s one of the most prestigious institutions that teaches sharia,” he explains of the Saudi Arabian school. Then, a few years ago, he came back to Canada to spread the word. 
The imam is also one of 21 global instructors for the AlKauthar Institute, a coterie of mostly young, English-speaking orthodox Sunni scholars who tap into an online audience far greater than any of them could reach at his local mosque. In some of his video lectures, he wears a leather jacket as he holds forth on such topics as whether a beard is religiously mandated. Young Muslims post questions asking him whether they can use skin cream with alcohol in it.  
His goal, he says, is “a sense of unity.” 
On his personal website, the imam has posted links to provocative essays, authored by other Saudi-educated scholars, which he has translated into English. One such essay, The Rules on How to Interact with Non-Muslims, starts out with an analysis of Sura 5, Verse 51 of the Koran – “Take not the Jews and Christians for Friends.” It goes on to explore how Muslims are to deal with a kafir (infidel), a munafiq (hypocrite) or an apostate in times of peace and war. Another is titled Every Religious Innovation is a Means of Misguidance. 
Er, mightn't that be cause for some concern, Colin? Definitely not, says Mr. Freeze:
Asked about such essays, the imam says he should be judged by his own words and actions, and not what he has translated in the past. He says that “you go through phases in life” and adds that he wouldn’t do such translations now. These days, he uses Facebook and Twitter to broadcast more mainstream Islamic messaging. And he points out that in Fort McMurray he took his congregation through a detailed debunking of propaganda of the so-called Islamic State movement after a prayer session.
Quel relief! I bet that's gone over particularly well with the local--now, what was that word the imam translated long ago during a "phase" he was going through? oh, yeah--kafirs. You bet your sweet sharia it has! In fact,
[s]ince arriving in Fort McMurray just over a year ago, the imam has also given every Mountie in town a crash course in Islam – outreach that the RCMP unit commander later told me was very much appreciated. 
But back to that "diversity" that Colin touted at the outset of his rah-rah piece:
The imam says he has changed a lot since moving back to Canada. In Fort McMurray, he explains, everyone overlooks small doctrinal differences in the broader interests of the community. “The Shiites will pray with their hands by their sides; we pray with our hands at our chests,” he says, by way of example. But no one is apt to point out Sunni-Shia schisms at prayers. “It’s not the time or the place. We’re all living in Fort McMurray. We don’t touch any buttons.”
Well, thank God for that. 'Cuz, as we know, when buttons are touched in the Muslim world--Sunnis touching Shias', and vice versa--all hell is apt to break loose. It's nice to know that such antics are strictly out of bounds in chilly Fort McM.

Update: One group of Muslims who likely won't be welcome at the massive mosque: the Ahmadiyyas.  So much for the much-bruited "diversity"

1 comment:

crackers said...

Sure would like to know where the funding is coming from. I'm sure it isn't Saudi Arabia, right? Cause that would mean wahabbi teachings of strict Sharia, and we know that imams would never intentionally mislead us...kafirs, right?