A provincial Tory candidate is facing back-to-back election challenges.

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This article was published 18/8/2011 (3639 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A provincial Tory candidate is facing back-to-back election challenges.

Dr. Naseer Warraich is running for the Conservatives in the Oct. 4 election in Concordia, the riding held by former premier Gary Doer.

And in November, the president of the Manitoba Islamic Association faces a much more contentious -- and litigious -- election battle.

After two years of leadership infighting, members of the Manitoba Islamic Association are going to court to ask a judge to oversee its board election.

About 30 people, including members of the executive, want the court to appoint an overseer because they don't trust the election will be fair under the leadership of Warraich.

"... they are concerned the Respondent (Warraich) will not honour their membership applications if he is in charge of membership applications and is running for re-election," executive member Prof. Taib Soufi said in an affidavit.

Warraich said the matter is before the court and he will let that process go ahead. "All I can tell you is the allegations are without merit," he said in a prepared statement. "I have worked hard to try and benefit the community. I am focused on the approaching provincial election, and trying to make a positive difference for the people of Concordia. These other matters will proceed in due course."

In their court application, 29 members of the Islamic association and its executive are asking for a third-party overseer to make sure their November election is run by the book.

The association has not had a secretary since January and some members are worried voting in the November election will be affected. To vote for the executive, you need to be an association member whose application has been approved by the secretary. With no secretary, they said they're concerned Warraich will decide who gets to vote. And they're cutting it close to the wire. The association's constitution requires voters to become members no later than the end of September.

"This action coincides with the month of Ramadan, and we hope that Allah will grant us all the wisdom and guidance to emerge from this difficult situation," reads the notice.

The association's administration has changed three times in the past two years. This spring, Warraich filed lawsuits against a dozen board members claiming they'd defamed his reputation. Now the executive is virtually crippled, said one member of the group who went to court over the upcoming election. Winnipeg's Muslim community is waiting to hear where the biggest event of the year -- Eid prayers for the end of Ramadan -- will take place Aug. 31, said another member.

It's often held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre where hundreds of people can be accommodated but, this year, no one knows for sure.

"We have no clue," said another member of the Muslim community.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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