Saturday, March 11, 2017

Canada: Islam Understood campaign brings message to the Battlefords


"Our religion teaches peace. Our religion teaches us that we have to, not just become quiet when something is wrong, [but] we have to speak up against it."

Photos by Shannon Kovalsky
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US desk
Source/Credit: Battlefords News Optimist
By Shanon Kovalsky | March 10, 2017

As its name suggests, the aim of the event was to dispel misconceptions about Islam. The two-hour meeting was a chance for discussion, with those in attendance posing questions they have about Islam to Azeem.

The discussion was notably, and intentionally, not a debate. Rather, it was an opportunity to provide answers and clarify subjects often discussed in the media when talking about terrorism in the Middle East, including the notion that Islam is not peaceful.

Azeem emphasized the difference between the teaching of the Quran and the actions of extremists who carry out atrocities under the guise of Islamic teaching.

While Salafi-Wahhabism – an ultraconservative branch of Sunni Islam originating in Saudi Arabia that has propagated jihadism in the area – has become the austere face of Islam in the West, Azeem wants this to change.

"Our religion teaches peace. Our religion teaches us that we have to, not just become quiet when something is wrong, [but] we have to speak up against it."

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at is a sect of Islam that itself has seen its practitioners persecuted.

The group has been particularly active in Canada, with many sessions, such as this one, hosted across the country.

Partly, said Azeem following the lively discussion, the reason for this is a religious duty.

"This quality is necessary, as a muslim, to have," said Azeem, adding,  "I do not just go out and dispel misconceptions, but I consider it my religious duty to do so."

As the meeting came to an end and those in attendance shook hands and offered their thanks for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at for hosting the event, Azeem noted the general openness of the community to hear a new perspective.

"We had a very good discussion with the people who were here tonight," said Azeem. "I do feel I was able to convey to them the true teachings of our faith and I hope in the future, people who were here understand that true Muslims follow the teachings of the holy Quran and [that] those who say they are Muslims, but whose actions are totally counter to the teachings of our book, do not.

"The basic teaching of every religion is to worship God almighty, but to also serve humanity. This is why we teach we must love and respect everyone and why our motto is love for all, hatred for none."

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© Copyright 2017 Battlefords News Optimist



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