I asked a friend who went to the RIS this year for a recap. Following is her reply.
A guest blog post by Anika Imam.
I didn't take notes this year and haven't seen any detailed recaps yet but I can give you a few lines from memory:
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Fort Hood shootings: He condemned it of course. He also mentioned that Obama said, 'It is despicable that Americans have to be afraid for their lives in their own land', but its also despicable that Afghanis have to be afraid for their lives IN THEIR OWN LAND, and Iraqis are afraid in their own land....that's ALSO DESPICABLE!!
Dr Tariq Ramadan (who my mom now loves): He talked about how often times Muslims act unethical even though we should be more ethical, and often non-Muslims in Western society are much more ethical and honest and we should learn from the good Western society, they often emulate what we should be doing as Muslims in the first place....
Habib Ali Jafri: We should not call people "non-Muslims", we should call them "not-yet-Muslims".....creates a less of an us-against-them mentality, and more opportunity for dawah.
Dr. Hakim Abdul Jackson: Very fired up and passionate, did not hold back any punches and was not worried about offending anyone. He said how we should play ball in this existing sociopolitical world order, if we want to get anywhere in the next 50 years as Future Muslims. (-wasn't there for this one, heard about it, sad I missed it.)
Dr Tariq Ramadan (right after Dr. Jackson) on Sunday morning: We should stop playing the victim mentality and self pity routine, as Muslims. (also missed it, heard about it.)
Imam Zaid Shakir on Domestic Violence: Forgiveness and Mercy are the key elements....and it is a mental sickness due to several reasons, usually poor self image, need for control, unbalanced power. Men can be tyrannical in the home, but women can also be very tyrannical and sharp-tongued (of which many men cheered). That a sharp tongue can also lead you into the Hellfire. Also, if you want abusive grandchildren, then just abuse your children, because that's what will happen.
Dr. Tariq Ramadan in the French Session (from my own translation, so insha'Allah it is accurate): Spirituality is like l'art, and art also has a technique, spirituality also has a technique, which brings us closer (rapprochement) to Allah. Both require discipline. He talked about sense and action, why do we do what we do? Heart looking for proof. Someone asked about best form of jihad. He replied that resisting reformation is a type of jihad, understanding and responding in a discussion is a jihad.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, SWOT Anaylsis lecture:
Strengths: Things we already know, how Muslims enjoy more education and wealth than average, Alhamdulillah.
Weaknesses: How divorce is on the rise amongst young Muslims in North America and they are taking notes from Western mentality, of quick way out. Marriage is not meant to make us happy, it is meant to make us HOLY, its supposed to bring us closer to Allah.
Threats/Opportunity: Also we should be grateful to live in Canada, where we can even have such a conference...and that most of us shouldnt complain that we are oppressed just because we get hassled in the airport...thats not oppression...oppression is getting your tongues cut out because you are teaching people the Quran....which happened to the Sahaba!
Broadminded themes, not for West-haters.... :-P
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Resource Management: He read that 85% of the world's fishes are now gone. He wanted to confirm this, so he asked an oceanographer from Princeton who confirmed it. Shaykh Yusuf was saying how we waste our tuna fish on feeding our cats, which cats will eat anything. They can feed themselves and don't need tuna only.
A convert's mother was on stage, saying how she is Catholic, but she is so glad her son converted to Islam, because it changed him completely. he used to be into drugs, and would not respect her, but now he is very kind and respectful towards his mother. Three people also converted on stage.
Also on fish: In Mauritania, fisherman can barely get any fish into their nets. There is no more fish. They thought maybe they have not been grateful to Allah or they may have done some wrongdoing to have this happen. They prayed to Allah swt and suddenly their nets were full of fish. One could attribute this to coincidence or to a Higher Being.
A couple of other points that came to mind if anyone wants to learn:
Dr. Zainab Alwadi: She referenced several ayahs from the Quran pertaining to abuse, if anyone wants to read. Surah Hujarat, Ayah 49, Surah Noor, Surah Nisa and Surah Baqarah (can't rememeber the ayah but I know it is somewhere between 169-269).
Imam Zaid Shakir: Terrorists usually do not come from nurturing families. People from nurturing families in general do not do these types of things.