February 24, 2016
Respected Ottawa and Gatineau community members:
All praise is due to Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, peace and blessings be upon Muhammad, Allah’s final Messenger, Seal of the Prophets, and blessing for the entire universe.
When the idea of a conference was discussed back in November 2011, it was a humble thought and a humble beginning. Gradually, as the Ottawa-Gatineau mosque organizations (United Muslim Organizations) started joining the march, the I.LEAD caravan began to gain momentum, and after three successful conferences, we are now heading towards our fourth one – Alhamdulillah! I.LEAD is growing bigger and becoming more beneficial, and we have reached a stage wherein the community eagerly looks forward to the annual event. When we work together and move together, we are bound to reach incredible heights – that is the power of unity. Sincerity to Allah (swt) is the key here and He, the Almighty, rewards, blesses, and positively impacts the entire community....
By Allah’s favour, 11 major mosques have again banded together, along with the support of MSAs of Ottawa and Carleton Universities, to bring about this year’s conference. In the spirit of our current theme, let us invigorate and revive our dormant faith by “Living the Legacy: of those who believe and do righteous deeds.” The theme, indeed, points to the legacy of the sahaaba (rad), the rightly guided companions who dedicated their entire lives to raise the kalima (statement) of faith and to establish Allah’s divine religion. Furthermore, it is essential that we strengthen our faith as we know, Islam and Muslims are in the crosshairs, unreasonably and due to some random acts of unjustified violence.
New features that we have added to the conference this year include a separate Arabic program to cater to need of Arabic speaking attendees, an improved children's program with a focus to shape them. Furthermore, with the go ahead of Ottawa-Gatineau Imams council, a shari'a complaint program for match making is yet another feature.
During his speech at the first I.LEAD conference, Imam Tahir Anwar, a well-known speaker, eloquently stated that it is a miracle that so many organizations have joined together on such a unique project and, during the second conference, Dr. Abdur Rahman Al-Hijazi stated that,”Five years ago, such a unity among the various participating organizations would not have been possible.” During the third conference, Dr. Ingrid Mattson pointed out, “City-wide conference model is a good one.”
At I.LEAD, we try our best to stick to the valued principle of sincerity to Allah (SWT) in all our actions, without aiming for personal gain. I.LEAD has an open and straightforward forum that tries its best to follow, decide, and abide by the noble shura system, on the basis of consultation and consensus. All shura members who represent their respective mosques and the community are valued and take part in the discussions, the decision-making and the working process.
The I.LEAD caravan’s march towards the goal continues with our vision of unity and da’wah (invitation towards Allah), under the banner of a unified cause. Insha’Allah, our collective hope is that it will generate enthusiasm and motivate us towards practicing our faith to enact more virtuous deeds and be worthy Canadian citizens, insha’ Allah. Finally, it is our aspiration that the call of I.LEAD will resonate beyond the Ottawa region and the message will spread far and wide.
I cannot adequately thank the community members, Presidents and Board Members of all the participating organizations, ‘Team I.LEAD’, and innumerable volunteers for their help and support in organizing this event. In particular, I would like to thank the following Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau for their strong support of the I.LEAD conference: Imam Samy Metwally (OMA), Imam Ismail Albatnuni (AMA), Imam Anver Moallim (Masjid Omar), Imam Sikander Hashmi (KMA), Imam Zijad Delic (SNMC), Imam Mohamad Badat (ISC), Imam Mohammed Lahlou (Aylmer Mosque) and, Imam Ahmed Limame (OIC).
All praise is due to Allah (SWT) who alone enables us all.