Islamic media is reporting on what was once again described as record-breaking attendance at this years “Reviving The Islamic Spirit Conference ” (RIS) in Toronto featuring, as always, well-known leaders of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. According to a report by the OnIslam portal:
27 December 2011 TORONTO – Inspiring thousands of attendees, the largest Muslim convention in Canada has concluded this weekend after luring record breaking attendance from around the world.“Attendees joined us from across the globe and are sure to leave motivated and inspired,” Farhia Ahmed, Media Relations Directors of the “Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention” told OnIslam.net. Over 20,000 people showed up at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre this past weekend to listen to leading Muslim scholars, personalities and artists.Ticket sales to the convention were closed on Saturday evening as the facilities reached its capacity.Overflow rooms with TV screens were set up to handle the large crowd that showed up for the annual gathering, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary.“From lectures to performances, the bazaar to the food court, there was a lot for family and friends to do,” added Ahmed.Organized by a group of young, active Canadian Muslims, the three-day convention opened on Friday, December 23.The theme of the convention, “Control, Chaos or Community: Three Ways, One World, Our Choice”, was chosen to address the many challenges plaguing humanity today beyond the confines of cultural, religious or intellectual divides, according to the organizers.“Over the years, convention themes have made an effort to address issues over extremism and encourage young Muslims to become engaged in their communities,” Fouzan Khan, the convention’s founder and director, told OnIslam.net.An impressive galaxy of distinguished scholars and Muslim personalities from around the world addressed the convention.Leading among attendees were prominent scholar Dr Jamal Badawi and Sheikh Abdallah Idris from Canada, Prof. Tariq Ramadan from Switzerland and Dr. John Esposito from the United States.Also attending were Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah from Mauritania, Habib Ali Al-Jifri from Yemen and Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury from Australia.This year’s gathering also featured some leading artists such as world renowned artist Sami Yusuf, Sheikh Mishary Al-Afasy, a world renowned Qur’an reciter from Kuwait and Danish hip-hop group Outlandish.Inculcating FaithSpeakers addressed the gathering on topics ranging from faith, spiritual and family issues to the environmental crisis, the Arab Spring and Occupy movements.Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury, a well-known Australian scholar, urged attendees to renew their connection with God.“If you truly love Allah, Allah will love you,” said Chowdhury. “Prefer Allah and what He loves over what you love.”“Always think about Allah’s mercy and forgiveness,” he added.Prof. Tariq Ramadan urged attendees toward personal reformation.”Allah is asking for you to change yourself – be a part of those who are reforming the world,” he said.“Don’t shape your life by what they say but by what He expects.
Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.” Ramadan is currently professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and at the Lokahi Foundation (London). Previous posts discussed his dismissal from his positions as an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam and from a Dutch University over his role as a talk show host on Iranian TV. A ban on Ramadan traveling to the US was lifted in January 2010 and several posts have discussed his recent visits to the US where he appeared at various US Muslim Brotherhood venues including giving the keynote at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago annual banquet in April 2010. He was scheduled to give the keynote address at the 16th annual CAIR banquet in October.
Dr.Jamal Badawi is a leader in many of the most important organizations of the U.S. and Global Muslim Brotherhood including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Canada), the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR). He recently retired from an academic position at St. Mary’s University in Halifax and continues to be one of the most widely traveled North American Muslim Brotherhood leaders. An earlier post discussed his role in the top leadership structures of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
Abdallah Bin Bayyah of Saudi Arabia is also a leading member of the ECFR.