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Cablegate: Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention

VZCZCXRO5047
RR RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHON #0479 3521849
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181849Z DEC 07
FM AMCONSUL TORONTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2294
INFO RUCNCAN/ALCAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC

UNCLAS TORONTO 000479

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC KISL KPAO PREL CA
SUBJECT: Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention

Sensitive but Unclassified - protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Toronto-based IHYA Foundation is organizing a
knowledge retreat for Muslim students, a large convention at the
Metro Toronto Convention Center, and a concert from December 23-31.
Organizers expect 15,000 people to attend the convention - about
2,000 of whom will likely come from the U.S. Organizers said none
of the people who attended the convention last December reported any
difficulties with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as
they attempted to re-enter the U.S. after the conclusion of the
convention. Post will informally notify Toronto preclearance as
well as Niagara region and Detroit/Port Huron region CBP officials
of the upcoming convention. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) The Toronto-based IHYA Foundation, a not for profit education
and advocacy initiative, is organizing its sixth annual "Reviving
the Islamic Spirit Convention" December 28-30 at the Metro Toronto
Convention Centre. The theme of this year's convention is "Family
Matters: The Basis of Civil Society." A knowledge retreat for
about 500 students (about 100 from the U.S.) will be held in Toronto
prior to the convention from December 23-27. A December 31
entertainment night will feature two U.S. musical groups -- Native
Deen, and Seven8Six, as well as Middle Eastern chanter Abu Ratib.

3. (U) The convention, which 15,000 people are expected to attend,
includes speakers from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Mauritania, and
Kuwait. Prominent American speakers will reportedly include Wallace
D. Muhammad (former leader of the "Nation of Islam"), Hamza Yusuf
(founder of the Zaytuna Institute in northern California), Zaid
Shakir (scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute), Dr.
Abdul Hakim (Sherman) Jackson (Associate Professor of Arabic and
Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan), Mokhtar Maghraoui,
Yasir Qadhi, Dr. Jamillah Karim (Assistant Professor of Religion at
Spelman College), Pamela Paul, and Qari Sheikh Abdelkarim Edghouch.
Additional program details are available at
www.revivingtheislamicspirit.com.

4. (U) Convention organizers tell us they expect about 2,000 persons
to travel from the U.S. to Toronto. They have ads running from this
week on Bridges TV and have advertised through a few websites and
mailing lists. For earlier conventions in the last couple of years,
buses were chartered to transport participants to the convention,
though organizers are not aware of any specific charters so far this
year.

5. (SBU) Comment: Organizers said none of the people who attended
the convention last December reported any difficulties with U.S.
Customs and Border Protection officers as they attempted to re-enter
the U.S. after the conclusion of the convention. Post appreciates
the assistance of CBP last year in providing its border and
preclearance officers with background about the convention to ensure
that legitimate travelers did not encounter undue difficulties.
Post will again informally notify Toronto preclearance as well as
Niagara region and Detroit/Port Huron region CBP officials of the
upcoming convention. End Comment.

NAY

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