I have been an Imam and teacher in Jamaica, West Indies; Los Angeles; Toronto, Canada and Cape Town, South Africa.
Over the past four decades, I’ve visited over 61 countries around the world and have spoken to tens of thousands of people. I’ve spoken at universities, stadiums, mosques, churches, TV programs and public squares. My audiences have included Muslims, non-Muslims, academics, laypersons, artists, political and religious leaders. By the Grace of Almighty God, I can say that people appreciated my talks wherever I travelled.
I have always stood against racism and ethnocentrism. I have been a lifelong advocate of women’s rights and for decades have encouraged the empowerment of young people. I pioneered the first social service agency for Muslims in Toronto, Canada (I.S.S.R.A.) whose doors were open to all – rich and poor, Muslim and non-Muslim, gay or straight. As a counselor I learned first-hand of the terrible violence inflicted upon gay people by bullies and I publicly spoke out against it.
While I was in Toronto I was the first Imam to have inclusive sermons for the hearing impaired. For years I was a regular columnist on religion for Canada’s largest newspaper, The Toronto Star. I have also been an advisor to highly respected public institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum and the Toronto District School Board.
For 10 years I have worked with some of the most impoverished citizens of South Africa providing education, spiritual counseling and vocational opportunities for people living in the African townships.
Some of my closest blood relations are Christian and many well-wishers, colleagues and friends are of the Jewish faith. In no country where I have lived or any of the countries that I have visited has there ever been any confrontation between me and another faith community. It’s possible that those who have sought to malign my reputation may have missed all these things in doing their research. Or maybe furthering their own agenda at the cost of my name was a stronger incentive for them than speaking the truth.
Since returning to Canada in 2010, I have served as a Senior Lecturer and Resident Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto and the Outreach Coordinator for the Canadian Council of Imams. My Public Facebook page following has reached over 750,000 likes and nowhere have I made any inflammatory, Homophobic or Anti-Semitic statements. My speeches and words are open for the public to see and hear. In 2012, I was awarded the “Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for my contributions to Canada.