Source : Chatham Daily News
When American pastor Terry Jones burned the Quran, Muslim-Canadian youth got fired up.
Not with hate or revenge, but with a burning desire to show Canadians the similarities between Islam and Western religions.
“We talk about the commonality, we don’t talk about the differences,” said Rizwan Rabbani, director of the Holy Quran Open House program.
“If you believe in your faith – you are close to god,” he said. “(The open house) is to promote religious harmony and religious peace.”
The Holy Quran Open House will be at the main branch of the Chatham-Kent Public Library today from noon until 4 p.m.; the public is welcome.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association Canada’s consists of 4,200 volunteers between the ages of 15 and 32 that visit communities across Canada to answer questions about Islam and the Quran on a one on one basis.
“It’s not like there is a speaker,” said Rabbani. “You can sit down and chit chat and ask your questions. Most of the time when people come prepared, they have their questions written down and they can be there for hours.”
Rabbani said following Sept. 11 attacks, Muslims have had to work hard to undo the damage done by extremists and misconceptions of Islam and the Holy Quran.
“Some people see the guy with the beard, they think ‘He’s a terrorist,’ so first we have to come to a common ground,” he said of the door-to-door campaign and the open house program. Rabbani added once that happens most people are very receptive to discussing Islam.
The group held an open house in Chatham last March with more than 20 people attending. It’s one of the reasons it was chosen for a second visit.
Rabbani said people in Chatham are open to discussing religion and learning about the Quran.
“We bring copies of the books to give out as a keepsake, as long as they promise not to burn it like Terry Jones,” laughed Rabbani.