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.