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Wahida Valiante Steps Down From CIC Presidency

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Ottawa: Mrs. Wahida Valiante, longest-serving Board officer of the Canadian Islamic Congress and one of the organization’s founding members, is stepping down from the CIC national presidency, effective January 1, 2012.

She has served CIC for thirteen years – ten as its vice-president and the last three as national president.

“I leave this unique and vital organization with the memory of many challenges and triumphs,” she said. “Over the years we have witnessed some real gains for peace, multicultural engagement, and inter-faith harmony, but I also feel concerns shared by many fellow Canadians over our future as a vibrant society and nation … I have utmost faith and confidence in the skilled and dedicated people with whom I have been privileged to work in the CIC.”

Since its inception in 2007 she has also served as chair of Islamic History Month Canada, an ongoing educational and cultural awareness program launched by CIC and celebrated annually throughout October. She will continue to head IHMC.

As an accredited career social worker and family therapist, Mrs. Valiante has internationally published and presented numerous papers, articles, reports and keynote addresses focusing on holistic and proactive approaches to social work from both a multicultural and Islamic perspective.

In the fall of 2011 she published her first book, A Mosaic of Thoughts (Pandora Press, Kitchener), a topical anthology of reflective and editorial writing, much of it published in Canadian mainstream print media.

She is currently completing her second book, a ground-breaking reference and educational resource on Muslim family dynamics and family therapy, as seen through a Qur’anic perspective.

“This is a much-needed area of research,” Mrs. Valiante explained, “and for me to complete my current book and several other related projects, I find myself at a point where I need to devote more time to them.”

For the second year in a row (2010 and 2011), she was selected for inclusion in the prestigious international directory, “500 Most Influential Muslims.”

She will continue to be part of the CIC board as national chair of IHMC and its public relations spokesperson.

Stepping into the CIC presidency, also effective January 1, 2012, will be Mr. Sikandar Khan, a current member of the CIC Board of directors.

He comes to his new post with years of leadership experience in dynamic and collaborative Muslim groups and Mosques working under the umbrella organization BCMA (British Columbia Muslim Association), of which he has been president from 1987 to December 2011. The BCMA is currently the largest Muslim organization in the province, representing more than 80,000 Canadian Muslims.

Mr. Khan brings to his new responsibilities a lifelong interest in social justice, interfaith issues and a strong commitment to building partnerships and collaborations with other Muslim and non-Muslim organizations.

He is equally passionate about youth issues and development, having served in his home province as President of the Fiji Soccer Association (Youth and Sports division) 1978 – 2000, as well as being President of the BC Muslim Sports Association, 1982 – 1995.

 

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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Temple

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