With Diversity Comes Strength

Daood Butt


Channel: Daood Butt

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So just to start off the discussion, when I'm in the MSA, and one of the questions we got, which goal was to that, like you mentioned in your talk, that when someone comes to my your daughter or your son, and they're not from the same culture, then you know, we've had that kind of racism. Some of us have it within us. So how would someone go about talking about this with their parents? And how would they address this at home? Like what would you give us steps for them?

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This means I have found that a human hamdu Lillah wa Salatu, Salam ala rasulillah. Asahi Rahman, what am I bad? So the topic of

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marriage tends to come up all the time when we talk about different cultures, people of different backgrounds, or different ethnic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, etc.

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And a lot of the time the youth ask this question, how do I approach my parents and inform them that I'm interested in marrying someone outside of our culture. So the first problem that we see there is that

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we usually wait too long before we start that communication. So a lot of the time we haven't expressed, the younger generation, those that are looking to get married, you know, they haven't expressed what their interests are with their parents. And that's the very first thing the prophets and longlining the sun encourages us to communicate with our parents to let them know what you know what type of person we are looking to marry. But at the same time, when we talk about marrying into different cultures, we also have to understand that at times, our parents might be looking out for our own good, right, they might be, you know, saying, Listen, your culture that you were brought up

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upon, doesn't mean that you have to stick to your culture, but the culture that you know of, is this type of culture, someone of another background might have a completely different culture than you. Now, if a younger person who's looking to get married, has never first of all expressed their interests, nor have they shown confidence to their parents that I'm capable of getting married, and I'm old enough to make certain decisions for myself, then how do we expect to tackle this topic but when we look at it from an Islamic perspective, Allah Subhana, Allah to Allah created various different people from different lens. In fact, in the creation of Adam, Allah has sent them Allah

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subhana wa Taala took different types of the earth, different components of Earth. So some of it was thick, hard clay, other parts was soil. Others was like, you know, just dirt that would just crumble like send some kind of law. And that's how Adam Allah has sent him was was molded, he was made up of these components of the earth, indicating to us that as human beings, we have different places that we will come from different cultures, different understanding, some people will be a little more rigid, other people will be a lot more lenient. What we need to learn something a lot is always go back to what Allah subhanho wa Taala has permitted for us. And this is a suggestion and kind of a

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request for our parents, those that are out there. I mean, I've been married that humbler for 15 years, very soon, right, almost 16 years.

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It's interesting to see how some people are in their 30s yet have never opened that door of communication with their parents. And the parents have never allowed their children to do that because they always told their children, you're Kashmiri. You're only marrying a Kashmiri. You're Punjabi, you're only marrying a Punjabi. You're Moroccan you're only marrying a Moroccan is like Why? Some have a low when we look at it. The Prophet sent along there and he was lm as we saw in some of the examples that were given by sister Razia. There were some of the Sahaba that came from different lands and the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam accepted them. I've been taunted was

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raised in Abyssinia when she came to Medina and met with the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasallam. She didn't know Arabic.

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Yet she was from amongst the companions of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, she was born in a different land. Her parents were from there, but she wasn't. So the very first thing is to open those doors of communication. I'm sure some of these other questions are going to come in very soon in sha Allah, but always make sure that whatever we do is according to the deen according to what Allah has permitted, and what the prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has shown to us, when we stick to that we will find that even in marriages where two people come from two different cultures, they will put their differences aside for the sake of pleasing a lot.

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And that has to also be implemented. When those two people the couple, the newlywed couple, for example, are interacting with their parents, whether from the men's demand side or the woman side, and the parents need to also implement what is taught to us

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By the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam in dealing with their children.

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What do you like to? Do we have questions from the floor.

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Okay, so going around. So another question i guess i got from the MSA is sometimes parents try to emotionally blackmail you like, I won't be happy with you if you marry so and so. And you got to know like, it's because they're from a different culture. So what would you like, tell the parents hear the crowd?

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I feel like the last dancer and kind of sums that up too, right? Like I wouldn't. Kind of but one thing that I would like to mention, I just came back from Pakistan for the very first time in my life. And I went there to speak at a marriage conference. Okay, so the whole conference was about marriage. Now, for those who hears from Pakistan just say zindabad

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No, no, don't laugh, just say zindabad.

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Oh, see you only one of them's like, zindabad. Right. So some handle on marriage in itself in Pakistan is a culture is really interesting, right? The poor will spend loads of money just to make their marriage looked like someone who's rich is getting married. But what we noticed there some kind of law is

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sometimes parents will force their children into something. And the children who are no longer children to be honest their children to the parents, but they're not children in society. They're adults. I say this with every single ounce of honesty in my heart. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has taught us and showed the women at his time. If you do not want to marry the person that is being proposed to you, say it.

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Don't just remain silent. I know people will say, well, your silence is your acceptance, yes. But Express, if you don't accept it, express it. Don't think oh, you know, I'm going against my parents, you are not going against your parents according to a law. You might be going against your parents, according to your parents will and desire. But according to a law, you are entitled to say no. So if you don't want to marry someone, like your cousin, then just say it, just say just express yourself, and don't feel obliged to marry the person your parents forced you into marrying, because that is not according to the son of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu wasallam.

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I think we have a question from the floor. Yes. Can you hear me? Good?

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How do you

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overcome the challenge of parents, enforcing their

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wisdom, enforcing the idea that they should have their children marry whoever they want, we live in a country that we have males and females interacting with each other. And most of the time, you will find that they will come back and say, I have already engaged this girl, or the girl will say I have agreed to matter this.

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It's It's not an easy thing, when we talk about what happens back home is different from what we are living here in Canada. Now the challenge of trying to convince your parents that this is the person I want to marry, whether it's a male or a female there, I'm talking about a male, a male setting for a female and a female setting for a male.

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It's difficult because you have to make a choice between the fact that your parents will adopt you for the rest of their lives. Or they will say you marry this person, they're gone for my life. So how do you answer that?

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I can say a few things. So I feel like that's a multi layered problem. There's so many things to touch on. What shape though we've mentioned earlier, right? It's a conversation that starts earlier. But I think what's also important, what you just said is the communication between the parent and child or adult in this case, that needs to occur way before marriage, having that healthy relationship. So that and working towards that so that you know your child doesn't surprise you with a fiance or a husband one day, but I think it's also like we can't forget the values in that the Prophet Solomon Lockwood and call us to write having that mutual respect and understanding. So I

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think if in the case that your, as a parent, your child comes to you and this is someone that they're very interested in, for there to be an honest and open question.

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conversation between both and an openness to respect and really listen with your heart to why your child wants to marry this person as and for the youth in here and the adults who are at that age to get married to also respectfully and with an open heart, listen to your parents and and really try to understand why they're objecting to this person or what, you know what basis that's on. And you know that at the end of the day, they're your parents and know better than you do in certain situations. They have foresight through their experience. So I think mutual respect is really important to understand, especially in this conversations, some of us get overly emotional. And

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we're not always making necessarily a rational or logical decision because we can be infatuated in that state. Not to say that the person is wrong, but I think it's really important to have open communication with an open heart and open mind on both parties. Getting intervention, having a third neutral party to also listen, I think these are all avenues that we can use. And and I have to say this disclaimer like this is these are very specific and unique situations. So when we're speaking, apparently, you can't just paint brush everyone and go home and tell your parents Well, I can marry who I want because x y Zed these are very specific, but in these I think are tools to create an

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environment for that healthy dialogue, inshallah, and by just implementing the values that we should have as Muslims anyways, and that relationship between parents and and our children, I think inshallah you can work towards navigating through difficult situations or conversations like this where you don't see eye to eye.

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Two things I want to point out the first thing with regards to that question,

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the parents need to understand just as the children also need to understand that. So let's say the children need to understand the parents came from a completely different culture, most likely, that's the case. So the children need to not only just say, Yeah, I know my parents came from abroad, but they need to understand where they actually came from. So for me, for example, just as a very, very simple example, when I went back to Pakistan is my first time in my life, my dad is from there. He's from the Finns, like from the village. And when I went to the village to Panama, I was like, Whoa, my dad has come a long way, a long, long, long way from where he is from, right.

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And I don't want to explain it to you. But just so that you understand, we don't really fully grasp the tradition of our parents until we actually go and witness it ourselves. That's the first thing for the for the parents. Now the parents need to understand, you came to this country. If that's the case, and you came to this country.

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You can't expect your children that are born or maybe raised in this country to still live on a foreign culture because that culture is exactly that it's foreign to them. So for example, someone who speaks fluent English and French, you can't expect them to marry someone who speaks only Mandarin. Right? Or who speaks only Russian or who only speaks you know, Cantonese or Malay, or what to do or Punjabi or Arabic, you can't expect that, while at the same time, you can't expect them to want to marry someone, or to now switch their life to only wear traditional clothing to eat only traditional foods. They like burgers and protein and maple syrup, right? It's a different land a

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different place. Now, the second thing I want to point out, aside from understanding where each person is coming from, is how Allah subhana wa Adana made our Deen. So comprehensive, yet so simple, that other aspects of our religion point out simple things that clarify confusion in the minds of the Muslims. Sister Razia pointed out the cookbook or the sermon of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam the final sermon when did that take place? Not yet what year but where?

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Where did that take place?

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Mashallah our entire Muslim Ummah doesn't know anything about the final sermon of the prophets little Walmart exam. Where did it take place?

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What do you see people wearing in hedge?

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a uniform with a tie right.

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And a suit jacket. It looks like Justin Trudeau with a beard right now. You see them wearing

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two pieces of cloth that look like beach towels, one wrapped on the bottom, the other one wrapped on top of course the sisters they get to wear some simple type of clothing as well. So the sisters have their hair on the brothers have their head on but when you zoom out and you look at a picture, an aerial picture of hedge, what do you notice? Everyone looks the same.

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So one thing that we should learn is that when we go for Hajj we are also learning how to live the rest of our life in various different ways. Or you didn't go for Hajj, but you see Hajj on YouTube live every single year. What do you notice there? You notice unity, you notice even the profits of the longer How do you sell them, humbled himself and wore exactly what everyone else wore. The poorest of person, the richest person all wore the same thing. Now I'm going for hedge later this year in sha Allah, Who Tada.

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And a lot of people have been asking, Well, what does your group offer and handle now this group is one of the more simpler heads groups, it teaches you

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this Simplicity's of what had really is I'm not talking about the group or promoting it or any it actually is a little promotion. But what I'm pointing out there is when we go for Hajj from Canada, from the United States, from the UK, from Australia, from these countries, we go for Hajj with a certain standard in mind. We're wearing a home, but I'm staying in a five star tent. And I have three buffet meals all day and I have Wi Fi and I have Xbox and I had had and you need Xbox heads and you need to have buffet meals, heads and you need to have a water bed. You know, somehow Allah had you supposed to humble us to make us understand the essence of diversity, we are all the same.

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So when you go with certain hedge packages, sometimes you you come back and you're like hedge was super easy. And you don't feel that you came back as a different person.

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Now my point in mentioning this is when you go for Hajj, or you see people going for Hajj, you realize everyone is the same.

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That's where parents and children and everyone alike understands. Yes, I might have a certain preference in interest. But what's more important is the preference in interest of my child who is looking to get married, regardless of color, regardless of food, regardless of clothing, we are all the same. And we all go to the same grave as well. And that helps out a lot.

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I just want to add something to that, you know, we have the Islamic ideal which you've highlighted. And I think as Muslims, we need to come to the understanding and awareness that we need to make it a reality. How many converts a new Muslims do we know that came to Islam by reading Malcolm X's biography and especially the part about Hush, and soprano, they come into the mosque and it's a completely different reality. Oh, this is the Dacey mosque, that's the Somali mosque. And that's where we go, right. So it's making this a reality and inshallah, taking ownership of that. And showing that Islam is the best of messages is a complete way of life in message. And we have to

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exemplify that every slice and aspect of our life.

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can take one more question from the audience. That is, okay, there is another problem that I see is bigger problem with the youth. I see many of them, they don't want to get married. Like they are not interested among the males and female. So like, how do you convince somebody to that is very essential to get married and settle down. And it's not healthy and all that, like I see it becoming a fashionable right now. Not to get married and just live as a single.

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I don't know, take out what we call it dunda.

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The Arabs don't need to know. Don't let them know. It's a dunda. No, I'm just joking.

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So that's a good question. Parents are frustrated. And you know, it's really interesting when we initially were talking about this sister, Rosie was like, no questions about marriage, because it's only going to be about marriage. And I told brother Omar, he's like, yeah, you know, people are just gonna ask marriage questions. And I said, Well, the fact that everyone's gonna be asking about marriage means there's a problem. We need to fix this with labor law, because it's very specific and unique to every situation. That's why I tried away from it. It is your right. But what's really interesting in his question, though, somehow He's like, how do you convince someone they need to get

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First of all, how many? How many people here are not married? Just raise your hand if you're not married?

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Okay, how many of you know the answer to this question? How do you know when you're ready to get married? Does anyone know the answer to that?

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What's the answer? When you ask that question?

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Get it. When you ask that question. She asked, How do I know when I'm ready to get married? You're ready.

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You're asking that question. You're ready.

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Okay, so this brothers asking how do you convince someone? How do you encourage them to get married? Look, everyone gets married at their own pace, some people don't get married, some people do get married. What I suggest to families, I'm not going to get into this because it is kind of specific. Okay? What I am going to suggest is, as parents, those of you that are parents to children, don't expect the eldest child to get married first and force the younger ones to wait until the older sibling gets married, don't do that. If you have three children, and the youngest one is ready to get married and found the person and everything is set, marry them, if the oldest one is then ready

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to get married, marry them. And if the middle one doesn't want to get married, just wait. They're making their decisions, understand as parents that you raise your children as best as you can, according to the dean, once they are adults, they will make decisions for themselves. Some people don't want to get married, because they have goals in life that they want to achieve. Some of the greatest scholars of the past did not get married, because they, they knew they could not achieve the things they wanted to achieve. Having said that, I am not encouraging people in our society not to get married. Because we know that we live in a society that

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stuff to do with marriage, if I could put it in good terms, is around us everywhere. So things to do with marriage are on the minds of the younger generation. They're just not acting upon it. And this is where I say step up to the plate.

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One last question from the audience. Is that color hair? And luckily, my question is not about marriage. So

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the question is towards sister Reza, but I guess the Imam can answer as well. You mentioned the issue about racism.

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Our Muslim youth are facing multiple systematic racism, whether it's about religions, whether it's about, you know, the choices of their life, not to drink or not to do what you know, the mainstream is doing, or whether it's about the color of their skin. And it looks like the Muslim community is somewhat turning a block, you know, turning on the other side, and instead of standing for the challenge, so I wanted to know, what you would recommend and what can our mosques and community do. Just to give you an example, there was a young man who had a mental illness that was killed in Ottawa two years ago, and his court cases coming soon, very innocent and never committed a crime.

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But yet He died for police brutality. And a group of us now passed the legislation called Bill 175, which is the safer Ontario act. And now it's been legislated and passed, but 90,000 people supported that bill, and my small minority of them was Muslims. So the question is, why can our Muslim community really talk about the issues that matter? and ended up a lot of our youth in jail or dying every day? And we only talk about like, soft issues? Like I'm sorry, with all due respect, you know, marriage? And how do you know is the one we have a bigger fish to fry? zeca lafaye?

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So that's a really heavy question. And I've been following that case closely, so much. Well, I know the tremendous work that yourself and sister Faria and the others on that coalition have done.

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And I absolutely echo what you're saying, we need to get past the fluff. And that's, you know, in my point earlier, if we're going to tackle homophobia, if we're going to tackle systematic racism, it's got to start with us first addressing those prejudices within ourselves and as our community, we definitely as a Muslim community, and I was at the youth panel earlier, so you have to ignore me, we need to get woke, right? We need to be aware and address this. So how can our mosques do it? It comes from us and congregation. So I am not Somali, Canadian, I am not dark skinned. I don't know the racism that you deal with. But we're aware that it's happening. We need to hold our mosques

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accountable and talk about these issues. Or we need to have workshops and to have panels, we need to invite speakers who are doing that work. We can't just keep showing up when it's our causes. At the end of the day, and I remember, you know, shape has one shirt, this is always stuck with me. On the day of judgment. We're not going to be questioned about Ahmed or Hillel who was persecuted in Syria or Afghanistan. We're going to be asked about the myth right here in our community who suffered and we didn't stand up for because there are fire fighters there. There's fire the communal ferns on us here in the community to stand up for one another. And so the beautiful Hadith of the Prophet

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sallallahu Sallam he said that when the oma is one body where one part hurts the other feels that you know are we really do we unfortunate we're so far away from that but for us to at least

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First, be aware that this racism exists in our community, we have to have that uncomfortable conversation that instead of those 90,000 signatures, you know, the Muslim community here just out numbers that alone in Ottawa, why, you know, why isn't that a conversation that's happening? Why is this coalition specific to just the Somali community? What Where's the rest of us? Right there, pain has to be our pain. And until we can internalize that and work towards it. And that goes for all of the social justice issues that we have, right with our indigenous brothers and sisters, Black Lives Matter on a national scale. I mean, I don't know if you guys know about the stats. But in Toronto,

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one of the largest population of people in the prison system are Muslims, we have our challenges. And until we can deal with those social ills, we're not going to be able to combat other challenges we have. So we need to be a voice need to provide platforms for such work, we need to give strength and support if you can't volunteer, at least show your support and other ways. It can be through donations, it can be through at least just sharing the word spreading the word, the importance of these things. So we definitely need to hold our communities accountable, first and foremost. And we need to put like, change comes from discomfort, right? If we're all comfortable with status quo, and

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we continue this way, we're not going anywhere. So we need to be informed. First of all, I don't know how many of you folks in Ottawa even knew about this coalition about the great work that they've done. So we need to first inform ourselves and then we need to start pushing our communities to help us in that awareness provide those platforms that provide those understandings.

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If I can just add to that inshallah.

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Change comes from within, and sister Razia was just saying Allah subhanho wa Taala it says, In the La La Johan euro, Maria Coleman had de la Udall mervi and forcing him that Allah Subhana Allah to Allah will not change the situation of the people until they change themselves from within. Now the sister touched upon something that, you know, she was like, and she said it straight because you could feel the emotion. Some things are just basically fluff. It's just topics that you know, we hear all the time, they're not really relevant. We're just going over the same things over and over, which is true, I feel your pain. I hear you and I understand. For you, your passion is in something

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for someone else, they might be suffering from that. So two things I want to point out first of all, we shouldn't go to extremes in anything in our Deen anything, don't go to an extreme. So for example, you know, sometimes brothers are always controlling everything in a community sisters like we're not even part of it. Sisters break away and say we're gonna do our own thing. Forget the men know, we're supposed to try and work together. Don't go to extremes. The second thing is,

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having said that we shouldn't go to extremes, we need to do something. So the sisters saying, Well, wait a second. All right, fine. So what just keep talking about the same things over and over? No. The problem is, and I'll say this with the most respect to all of our imams. This is one of the reasons why I discourage you from being an Imam who only takes money from your Masjid. I am not an Imam at the masjid. In fact, the profile they read before is wrong. I'm not the director of Religious Affairs for iccm anymore. I'm the director of Religious Affairs for Tao net, which is not a Masjid and even when I was director Religious Affairs for iccm, the masjid I was not the Imam

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because he memes are stuck under here.

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Right there under that under the thumb.

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They're stuck. If they say we want to talk about this issue, the Somali community gangs drugs, no, no, no, no Brother, please don't start any problems in our community. Which is why I don't want to be there. I don't want to be under someone's thumb, with the most respect to the management and the board members of our communities. Stop being so scared. If you're a Canadian, and you're following the law in Canada, what are you worried about? And I know for many of us have handle and this is why I say the younger generation I was saying it to Adam before in there. I don't know if Adam is even here. You know, the younger generation there are leaders when we see them as a panel that makes us

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so happy. Because they're born here. They understand the society they understand what their limitations are. They understand what they're allowed to say and what they're not allowed to say. And they know that if something is wrong, well we live in Canada we have the freedom to speak, but in many of our communities in our massage it we don't give our leaders the freedom to speak, which is why those who understand their position are either going to speak and not care what the masjid border management has to say. Or the masjid board and management has come around to understand and support those imams like some of the Imams in the Ottawa.

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Gatineau region somehow I've been to some of the massages. Some of them have supported them and realize we need this change. And this is good. And so my brothers and sisters, those of you that are part of the community where you see what is being addressed in your Masjid is just fluff, become part of that community, Be the change you want to see, don't just sit back and criticize Be the change, you want to see. That's the method of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. That's the method of the Sahaba of the Aloha and home. That's what Allah subhanho wa Taala tells us to do. Don't sit back and do nothing, do something. Sorry if I can just say to that, because that's such a

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valuable point.

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We need to be solution oriented in our complaining. And I think the biggest injustice we do to ourselves and to our growth is to just complain and becomes a negative default. And we know that this affects our brain. This affects the way we look at things where we're just complaining, but no one wants to step up and do something. So solution oriented in our complaining if you've got to vent, but where's that going? What are we doing with it, don't just passively sit there in social circles where we want to criticize the mosque. And a lot of my panels have been about the mosque. We don't want to just sit there and criticize it, but we do nothing step up.

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So I think there's a famous thing that says, Islam is perfect, but Muslims aren't. So in Shaolin, this pursuit of our excellence will try to be the best one. Best puts people off ourselves and like you said, do something about it. So slacking off his sister Razia and she died, but