Ottawa Muslims Look to Egypt for Imam's Replacement

April 30, 2008

Author: Mohammed Adam

Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Muslims have turned to the Egyptian government to help recruit a new imam, after a global search failed to produce an appropriate replacement for Gamal Solaiman, who resigned last year.

After a year of recruiting and auditioning, the Ottawa Muslim Association has not been able to find a candidate with the right mix of Islamic scholarship, fluency in English and knowledge of North American cultural mores that it says is critical for the city's principal imam. The association now says it has no choice but to look to Egypt and its renowned Al-Azhar University to find a new spiritual leader for the 50,000 Muslims in the nation's capital.

"We are expecting a new imam from Egypt, from Al-Azhar and we want someone who is fluent in Arabic and English and will fit into the North American society. We told the (Egyptian) ambassador our requirements and they'll make sure we have the right person," said Mohammad Naim Malik, chairman of the Muslim association's search committee.