Taha Ghayyur, a Toronto Muslim activist and a board member of DawaNet, believes that the Islamic Law can be gradually implemented in North America.
Ghayyur introduces himself as follows:
“I am a writer, public speaker, community organizer, and marketing consultant. I work as Development Manager with Sound Vision and volunteer my time with DawaNet projects in various capacities. I got involved with MuslimFest in its early years.”
Dawanet is a grass roots organization striving among other things:
- “to create effective networks of communication and media to keep the Muslim community informed and connected”
- “to share and relate the message of Islam with beauty, wisdom, and respect using both traditional and modern means of communication”
- “to offer courses, workshops, and study circles on Islamic sciences and disciplines in the light of Islamic sources (text) and our environment (context), to develop a healthy Muslim identity and citizenship
- “to influence public opinion about social justice issues through artistic expression and media participation”
DawaNet has applied for registered charity status and our application is still being processed. Some of DawaNet’s other community projects include:
- TorontoMuslims.com: A web portal for the GTA’s Muslims.
- Sharing Islam: Regular booths at major malls across GTA, such as SquareOne.
- Understanding Islam Academy: Originating in 2012, Understanding Islam Academy (UIA), a flagship project of DawaNet, is dedicated to making Islamic education accessible, affordable and relevant.
- Canada Zakat – The welfare arm of DawaNet
- MYSpirit – Muslim Youth (MY) Spirit is a movement to engage, educate, and empower young Muslims of Canada through education, art, media, recreation, and civic engagement.
- MuslimFest – Launched in 2004, MuslimFest is a joint initiative of DawaNet, Young Muslims Canada, and Sound Vision, which organizes in Mississauga, Ont. an annual festival to celebrates Muslim arts, education, entrepreneurship and entertainment.
Sound Vision Canada presents itself as “a pioneer in quality Islamic education and entertainment products and programs for North American Muslims.”
Young Muslims (YM) presents itself as “an organization dedicated to addressing the vital roles the Muslim youth should play in North America” and counteracting the modern “temptations” by “challenging the youth to take the best of all paths in both this world and in the Hereafter” and encouraging Muslim youths to feel “comfortable with their Islamic identity, spirituality, and heritage.”
In an article originally published by Young Muslims website and entitled “Understanding Punishment in Shariah [Islamic Law], Taha Ghayyur explained the rationale behind the harsh punishments in Islam (execution, stoning, cutting off thieves’ hands etc.) and argued that the Islamic Law (Shariah) can be implemented in North America.
“Abdur-Rahman Doi, in his encyclopedic work Shari’ah: The Islamic Law, suggests that only a total of seven scenarios exist in which Hud [fixed] penalties are awarded in the Islamic law; among the Hud crimes are intentional murder, theft, adultery, and highway robbery.
“Not surprisingly, it is this portion of the Islamic law that often makes headlines in the media.
“According to the Muslim jurists, the purpose of Hud [fixed] punishments is educative, preventive, and, mainly deterrent.
“Punishments are thus designed to keep the sense of justice alive in the community by a public repudiation of the acts violating the limits set by God.
“They are expected to build up in the society a deep feeling of abhorrence for transgression against fellow human beings, and therefore against God – a transgression which, according to the Quran, is the root cause of all disorders and corruption in human life…
“The Hud [fixed] punishment prescribed by the Quran for a theft is to cut off the thief’s hand [under certain and strict conditions]…
“Moreover, one wonders if Shariah can be practically implemented in our contemporary North American context…
“The principles of Shariah are universal and are not bound by the limitations of time and culture.
“It is certainly possible to apply Shariah in the North American society only if three conditions are fulfilled:
One, when an environment is developed, provisioned with preventative measures, that is conductive to a just and productive lifestyle, which is often not compatible with a consumer lifestyle.
Two, if the Shariah laws are implemented gradually, accompanied by continuous public education and training on the importance of justice, freedom, and one’s purpose on this earth, the way it was revealed and practiced, as a strategy of pre-crime social reform, over a period of twenty three years at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the first generation of Muslims.
Three, if the punishments in the Shariah are given their due place, only to be used as a last resort, and not to be practiced in isolation from the other major objectives of the Shariah.
“If a comprehensive approach to Shariah is not adopted then one may expect to witness horrific images of extremist, selective, and literal application of the Islamic text, the likes of which we have witnessed in recent times.
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, sent a video message greeting the organizers of the MuslimFest in Mississauga in summer 2016, including DawaNet, Sound Vision and Young Muslims:
“Hello everyone. Welcome to the MuslimFest 2016.
“Thank you to DawaNet, Young Muslim Canada, Festive Currents and Sound Vision who put in so much effort to organize this weekend’s festival.
“Today and tomorrow we celebrate the best in Muslim art and culture with artists from Canada and around the world. We celebrate Muslim comedians who make us laugh, musicians who make us move and artists who inspire us all. Enjoy the delicious food and lively entertainment and have a wonderful Muslim fest. Thank you.”