Apparently Obama is running out of Muslim countries to fund internationally and Muslim groups to fund at home. So he’s exploring the possibilities of funding Islam in the north.
David Jacobson was a Chicago lawyer and Obama fundraiser. That made him eminently qualified to be the United States Ambassador to Canada. One of the areas handled by Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, his old law firm, was Islamic finance.
Subsequently Ambassador Jacobson was invited to visit the Ottawa Main Mosque by the Ottawa Muslim Women’s Organization, the Ottawa Muslim Association (which runs the mosque), and the Council of American Islamic Relations-Canada (CAIR-CAN), to engage in open discussion with the Muslim community.
In his opening speech, the envoy outlined a number of programs and partnerships that his embassy had undertaken with Canadian Muslim organizations. These included helping to fund the Family Honour Project of the Muslim Family Resource Centre in London, Ontario and collaborating with the Association of Progressive Muslims on an exchange for young Muslim community leaders to the US.
However, the focus of the event was the open discussion. Although respectful, the questions asked by participants did challenge US domestic and foreign policies on issues such as the rights of prisoners still in Guantanamo Bay, the treatment of Muslim-Canadians at the American border, attacks on Shia Muslims in Pakistan, US drone attacks in Northern Pakistan, the role of the US government in speaking out against Islamophobia, and the recognition of the State of Palestine.
The Family Honor Project is a strange attempt to apply Operation Ceasefire’s Chicago gang violence reduction methods to Muslim families. There doesn’t seem to be much overlap, but I imagine that it’s the Chicago connection that matters.
Tarek Fatah already chronicled how the Ottawa Muslim Association responds to rape in Chasing a Mirage.
The young Muslim woman went through a horrifying trauma with physical injuries and emotional scars that she may never be able to get rid of. However, what happened in the days following this incident tells the true story of the terrible burden that Muslim men and Islamic society have placed on the backs of Muslim women.
Four days after the sexual assault, the student told Christine Baker, a sexual assault nurse examiner at the Ottawa Hospital, that although she had been sexually assaulted, she had not been raped. The student reportedly expressed concern that if the rape was not denied, the “incorrect information would destroy her future.”
The fact is that it is not just in “Islamic countries” that victims of rape are considered guilty. The feeling seems to exist inside the community in Canada. Why else would the woman go to such lengths “to clear her name”?
The reaction of Muslim leaders in Ottawa made it obvious that this viewpoint is widely held by conservative and fundamentalist circles. Read the words of the president of the Ottawa Muslim Association. He said he supported “the woman’s decision to clear her name.” Clear her name! She didn’t do anything wrong; she shouldn’t have to clear her name.
Another sentence uttered by Mumtaz Akhtar, president of the Ottawa Muslim Association, gave away the prevalent mindset in the community. He said, “Who are we to judge somebody else, especially if a person is innocent?” Which begs the question: Had she been raped, she wouldn’t have been innocent?
Family honour indeed.