Cablegate: Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

141520Z Dec 05




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention

Sensitive but Unclassified - protect accordingly.

1. (U) See para 8 for action request.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: A large convention for Islamic
youth will take place in Toronto December 23 to
26. Organizers expect about 12,000 to 15,000
people to attend - about 1,000 people will likely
travel to Canada from the U.S. Since the
convention is occurring in the middle of Canada's
federal election campaign, Prime Minister Martin
and other political dignitaries are expected to
put in appearances. END SUMMARY.

3. (U) The Toronto-based IHYA Foundation, a not
for profit education and advocacy initiative is
organizing a "Reviving the Islamic Spirit
Convention" for Islamic youth December 23 through
26. The convention features speakers from
Canada, the U.K., the U.S., Mauritania, South
Africa, Switzerland, India, Egypt, Kuwait, and
Syria. Additional program details are available

4. (SBU) Prime Minister Martin is expected to
deliver a speech on December 23. Federal house
leader Tony Valeri, federal Immigration Minister
Joe Volpe, and Ontario Attorney General Michael
Bryant are also expected to attend. Toronto
Mayor David Miller, who will be vacationing in
Greece at the time, has agreed to send a video
message to the assembly. The organizers said
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Conservative
Party leader Stephen Harper, and National
Democratic Party leader Jack Layton have been
invited but have not yet RSVP'd.

5. (U) Convention organizers said they expect
about 1,000 persons to travel from the U.S. to
Toronto from December 22 through December 27,
though they have not formally promoted the event
to a U.S. audience. They said they are aware of
four buses (two from Michigan, one from Chicago,
and one from New Jersey) that have been chartered
to transport people to Toronto for the

6. (U) This is the fourth Islamic convention
being organized by IHYA in Toronto. About 3,000
people attended the first convention, held in
January 2003. About 8,000 people attended the
January 2004 convention in Toronto and about
12,000 people attended last year's event, held in
the Toronto Skydome in December 2004. Organizers
expect 12,000 to 15,000 people to attend this

7. (SBU) Comment: According to their website
(, "IHYA is committed to
fostering a Canadian Muslim identity and
developing sustainable communities inspired and
guided by the values of classical Islamic
civilization." ConGen Toronto has found the IHYA
representatives with whom we have met to be
progressive Muslims interested in countering
radical Islam by offering to youth living in
North America a vision of the religion that fits
into western democratic states such as the U.S.
and Canada. Consul General and senior staff have
been invited, and plan to attend portions of the

8. (SBU) Action Request: Some of the people who
attended the convention last December ran into
difficulty with U.S. Customs and Border
Protection officers as they attempted to re-enter
the U.S. after the conclusion of the convention.
Post would be grateful if CBP officers were
provided with background about the convention so
that legitimate travelers do not encounter undue


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