Source: News Optimist –
Adherents of the Islam faith took their message of peace and harmony to North Battleford on March 15.
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association were in the city for an open house at North Battleford Public Library on “The Holy Qur’an.”
The goal of the group was to clear misconceptions about the Muslim faith and to promote harmony with other religions.
The open house, which ran from 2 to 7 p.m. at the library, is part of a tour of the Canadian prairies. Some of their other stops in Saskatchewan have included Moose Jaw, Weyburn and Humboldt.
It displayed the passages and teachings of the Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an itself was also on display along with several other books, which those at the event could ask to have mailed to them for free.
Eight members representing the Ahmadiyya youth organization were there to answer questions and provide information.
The youth organization also held similar open houses throughout Ontario. In all, they hosted over 100 events and plan even more in Ontario and the prairies to continue to spread their message.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association is part of the greater Ahmadiyya Muslim community around the world in 200 countries. They hold some distinct views about the Qur’an and Islam.
One view is that Islam is a peaceful religion that promotes peace, and their message of non-violence was prominent at the open house.
The organization was motivated to do their tour in the aftermath of the infamous burning of the Qur’an by Florida pastor Terry Jones last year, “because he states that it is a violent book that teaches violence,” said Noman Khalil, part of the national executive committee for the association’s faith outreach.
He said that controversial incident prompted many Muslims to “react in a violent way,” including the burning of cars and effigies. But his organization wanted to go in a different direction.
“Our leaders said that is not what Islam means. Islam means peace,” said Khalil. “So if we’re going to react you have to react peacefully.”
So they decided to put up banners and promote and educate people on the teachings of Islam and the message of the religion, and that is where the idea for the open houses came from.
“Let’s put out the knowledge of the Holy Qur’an and let people read it for themselves, and judge for themselves if it actually promotes violence or whether it promotes peace.”
The organization’s view was that the Qur’an promotes peace. The goal of the tour across Canada is to promote peace, said Khalil, and also “to create religious harmony” among the different faiths.
He pointed out that according to Islam, people from other faiths can still go to heaven, and he said that goes a long way to promote world peace.
“Everyone can come together and work towards moral values,” said Khalil.
Earlier in the day, the organization met at City Hall with Mayor Ian Hamilton for what the group called a good discussion. That was part of the organization’s goal “to reach out to all the communities, not just the religious communities,” said Khalil.
The people behind the tour say the display has received a positive response, particularly from those not so familiar with the Islam faith. The display helps clear up some misconceptions, said Khalil.
The reaction is “oh, wow, we didn’t know that,” said Khalil. As a result, he says his organization is meeting their goal of clearing up misconceptions about the Muslim faith.
“Everybody walks away learning something they didn’t know.”