There was a recent example of some Canadian Muslim university students who insisted on identifying the sect of a renowned scholar who was invited to speak, and then proceeded to make the unilateral decision to cancel the event because of her beliefs. The event was being co-sponsored by CCMW and the student organization and this decision raised a number of issues.
One of the issues is the discrimination towards a believing Muslim by another Muslim at a university event.
We also heard that some students objected to an open discussion because they believe we should not air our problems. It is true that the first step in addressing such attitudes and actions could be an internal discussion, and this was tried. But it is equally important to have an open discussion which allows us as Canadian Muslims to think on these issues, and hope such incidents do not occur in the future.
We support those students who stood up against this discrimination as they demonstrated leadership and a true understanding of Islam.
It is vital for CCMW to make a statement about our organization’s guiding principles so that we are not silent.
The Canadian Council of Muslim Women has unwaveringly upheld one of our guiding principles that we not only acknowledge the diversity amongst Muslims, but we celebrate it.
This means we do not separate ourselves by differences but proclaim our belief in Islam as a universal faith. All sects are welcomed as signs of the diversity amongst Muslims, and not as signs of discrimination against each other. We stand up to safeguard the right of all Muslims to practice their faith of Islam as they understand and interpret it.
This is the opposite of demanding a monolithic or homogenous understanding of Islam by all Muslims. We do not see this as weakening the communities of believers but as a source of strength and beyond tolerance.
As Muslims we accept that only God knows what is in our hearts, so that no person can judge another’s beliefs. We uphold the teachings of the Quran which states that kindness be shown whether they be kin or strangers. [4:36]