Muslim men tour community to allay concerns about Islam, Qu’ran

Source: North Battleford Daily News –

About eight Muslim men held an Open House at the North Battleford Library Wednesday afternoon to dispel what they say are myths about Islam and the Holy Qu’ran, the Islamic Bible.

Banners outlining various aspects of the Qu’ran were set up in the library’s lecture theatre.

Almost all the men came from Saskatoon, with the exception of their spokesman, Noman Khalil, of Toronto. They made themselves available to talk to people as they came into the theatre.

Khalil is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. He’s part of the national executive committee of the faith outreach program.

“We wanted to actually go around and spread the message of peace, the true message of peace that Islam has to offer, and promote religious harmony. On top of that, we wanted to actually dispel some myths about Islam that people actually have,” Khalil said.

One of the major myths, he said, was what the word “Jihad” means.

Kahlil says it has several meanings.

“Jihad is actually just a word that means ‘struggle.’ It’s a struggle within yourself to overcome the sinfulness within yourself and become a better person,” he said during an interview with the Daily News.

“It’s one of the ones that is mostly misinterpreted, because other Muslims call it a holy war and then they make it into an offensive war, which is not allowed in Islam,” he added.

Khalil said a second meaning of the Jihad is to “invite people to goodness.”

“So if I tell a Christian to go to church, that is me doing Jihad. Or if I tell somebody to stop stealing, that’s me doing Jihad,” Khalil said.

He said a third meaning of Jihad is a defensive war.

The defensive war is there to defend as long as you did not do anything – you did not give the other party any reason to attack,” Khalil said. “If you give somebody a reason to attack and then they attack you, that’s not Jihad. This is why it’s called a defensive war. At that time you defend yourself, and that’s it.”

Khalil said another myth about Islam is that it allows “honour killings,” cases in which parents or brothers kill daughters/sisters, who they believe have “dishonoured” the family.

“Honour killing is something that’s not allowed in Islam, because Islam says if you kill a single person, it’s like you’ve killed all of mankind,” Khalil said.

“It’s misinterpretation, misinterpretation of the Holy Qu’ran. People have taken it and they’ve turned it into literal things and they’ve taken it to the extreme,” he added.

There’s been a lot of controversy in recent years about whether Muslim women or girls should be allowed – or required – to cover their heads and faces. The cloth that covers their heads and faces is called a hijab.

“That’s another misconception,” Khalil said. “The hijab, which is the covering of a (woman’s) face is a cultural thing. There’s no instruction in the Holy Qu’ran that says, ‘cover your face.’”

“As a matter of fact, our communities support that the women should unveil their faces for security reasons and for voting. It’s an option that people are following because of their culture,” he added.

Khalil says another myth is that Muslim Canadians want Sharia law (traditional Islamic law) to be applied to them, rather than Canadian law.

“The thing about Sharia law is a lot of Canadians, a lot of people, are thinking that Muslims are going to push their Sharia law into the government. But as a matter of fact, Islam does not allow a Sharia government as long as there’s one single person who is not Muslim in that sect,” he said.

“So our community actually believes in a secular state. If we were to have Sharia law in Canada, that would be a contradiction against the Holy Qu’ran.”

Khalil was asked if the Muslim faith allows or encourages husbands to have more than one wife.

“It does,” Khalil said. “It allows you, but it is said that it is better for you if you have one. It is allowed for certain conditions, such as post-war, when the men die in the war and there are more women than men.

“When these women start to cause sinfulness in the society, they start to have different relations, they start to take up careers which are very sinful and stuff, causing the society to go down,” Khalil said.

“So to protect the society, and to keep it peaceful at those times, Islam has actually allowed the men to marry more than one woman. After the war, there’s a lot of women left. They need protection. They need houses and stuff like that,” Khalil said.

“To make that balance again so there’s no unbalance in the society – that unbalance actually causes sinfulness to rise in the society,” he added.

Khalil was asked if the Qu’ran requires women to stay home, look after the kids and not go to university or have jobs and drive cars.

“This is basically some people who have taken it and gone to the extreme,” Khalil said.

“There’s nothing like that in the Holy Qu’ran. As a matter of fact, women are allowed to have jobs. The Holy Qu’ran actually talks about a working woman as well.

It talks about her income, how it should be divided up if she passes away and stuff like that.”

He agreed there’d be nothing about cars in the Qu’ran.

“No, people have taken it to the extreme,” Khalil said. “They just want to have control, and the Holy Qu’ran doesn’t allow anything like that.”

In the morning, the group met with North Battleford Mayor Ian Hamilton. They also canvassed neighbourhoods in the community to get their message across.

During the Open House, books were available for people to peruse and order if they wish.

The group said they’d help those who are interested obtain copies of the Holy Qu’ran to read some of the commentary regarding the misunderstandings.

The Open House in North Battleford was part of a tour the group is doing across the Prairies.

“We’re going across the Prairies in 10 days, covering to 10 towns,” Khalil said.

They started out in Winnipeg a few days ago. After Manitoba, they visited Yorkton, Weyburn, and Moose Jaw.

Yesterday we were in Humboldt.

Their next stops are Lloydminster, Vegreville and Fort Saskatchewan.

Khalil said in all, about 100 Muslim men are making similar tours.

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