Monday, March 20, 2017

Canada: Ahmadiyya youth group wants to build bridges of understanding of Islam


In light of the recent tragic events in Quebec, and the recent controversy over anti-Islamophobia, the campaign comes at a time when curiosity about Islam is at its high, and questions are numerous.

 Ahmadiyya Muslim Imam Imtiaz Ahmed with Muneer Khan
Photo: Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Cornwall Standard-Freeholder
By Todd Hambleton | March 19, 2017

A national Canadian Muslim youth group has launched a nationwide campaign to provide citizens an opportunity to learn about the true teachings of Islam.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association has been presenting “Islam Understood,’’ holding over 100 open house exhibitions in cities and towns across the country, including on Saturday afternoon at the Cornwall Public Library.

“We’re here to talk about Islam and any questions about it or misconceptions,’’ said Imtiaz Ahmed, an Ottawa-based Imam who is the national assistant director of outreach for the youth association, and leading the Islam Understood campaign in Eastern Ontario.

The campaign endeavours to build bridges of understanding by showing Canadians the true face of Islam, and it has included some door-to-door canvassing in Cornwall and many other cities and communities.

Earlier in March, thousands of Canadian Muslim youth canvassed 65 towns in addition to core downtown intersections in major Canadian cities to speak with Canadians and answer any questions they have about Islam.

The association notes that at a time when Islam is one of the most widely searched topics online — and in light of a recent rise in anti-Islamic rhetoric both in Canada and abroad — it’s important to bring forward a platform that provides fellow Canadians an authentic source to learn about the faith, and break down misconceptions first-hand.

The association says recent shifts in the political climate and the increasing controversy surrounding Islam and Muslims in the west has created misunderstandings about Islam, and a growing apprehension of Muslims.

It says that while some Canadians have engaged their Muslim friends and neighbours, others have become distanced.

Ahmed acknowledged that “Muslims need to reach out . . . sometimes people are right when (they say) Muslims don’t take the initiative (to reach out . . . Islam Understood is geared toward reaching out to a wider community, (and) building bridges.’’

He said the campaign in Cornwall and elsewhere will be ongoing.

“We’ll continue to do it, we’ll be coming back next month as well,’’ Ahmed said.

In light of the recent tragic events in Quebec, and the recent controversy over anti-Islamophobia, the campaign comes at a time when curiosity about Islam is at its high, and questions are numerous.

Early last March, Canadian Muslims launched the national “Visit a Mosque’’ campaign, including in Cornwall at Baitun Nasir Mosque on Balmoral Avenue in the city’s north end.

The campaign a year ago was organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada.

Ahmed said that a “Visit a Mosque’’ date for this spring in Cornwall will soon be announced.



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