When Sheykh Zahir Bacchus of Lote Tree Foundation in Brampton (a city near Toronto) and Rabbi Yossi Sapirman of Beth Torah in Toronto met at a seminar on serving the sick and dying, they became friends. And last year, the two were among a group of 13 rabbis and imams invited to a meeting in New York sponsored by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
The meeting in New York came up with a big idea: twinning. Mosques and synagogues should twin to get to know each other better and to promote brotherhood. Now Lote Tree and Beth Torah are a pair, as are two female-led congregations in Toronto, the Noor Cultural Center and Temple Emanu-El. There are also a couple others in Toronto.
The Qur’an says, “We have created you male and female, and have made you into nations and tribes, in order that you might come to know one another.” These houses of worship have initiated visits and joint activities in that spirit. It is a model that bears copying.
Iranian-Canadian blogger arrested
Derakhshan is widely known because of his activities as a blogger, in English and Farsi. He is widely credited with responsibility for the blossoming of blogging in Iran. In order to promote blogging in Farsi, he produced a guide.
Judge Gilles Cadieux sentenced him to four years and an additional three years probation. With credit for time served while awaiting trial, he has ten months left. Judge Cadieux called the acts hate crimes. A witness in his defense, a Jewish former girl friend, testified that he never expressed prejudice, but the judge was not swayed by that.
Omar Bulphred, charged in the same incidents, awaits trial.
Prof’s extradition requested
The wife of Hassan Diab leaves the courthouse Nov. 14, 2008 in Ottawa, where her husband faces Canadian justice for being behind a terrorist attack in France in 1980. Hassan Diab, 54, was arrested Nov. 13 in a suburb of Canada’s capital at the request of French authorities who want him extradited to stand trial for his alleged role in the bombing that killed four.
According to Diab’s lawyer René Duval, Diab was a student in Beirut at the time. He hails from Lebanon.
Child custody dispute in Saudi Arabia
Nathalie Morin, a Canadian who is in Saudi Arabia with two children and who is pregnant, wants to leave the country with the children. However, she is unable to do so because the father is Saudi. He studied in university in Montreal. Saudi law gives the father the right to decide if his children can leave the country.