VAUGHAN – In the wake of the recent killings of two soldiers on Canadian soil by homegrown jihadists, a Muslim group is launching a campaign to fight youth radicalization.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada — a group representing Canada’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community — launched the Stop The CrISIS initiative on Wednesday at the Tahir Hall in Vaughan.
It’s a nation-wide campaign designed “to take a stand and fight youth radicalization and the extremist influence ISIS” can have on young people.
“Over the next several weeks … (we will) initiate an effective counter narrative against radicalization … and (keep) the national conversation going on how to solve this problem,” said organization president Lal Khan Malik.
Plans call for organizers to officially kick off Stop The CrISIS at York University on Thursday night.
News surfaced in September that a Hamilton youth and former York student had been killed in Syria after leaving Canada to fight with ISIS forces in Syria.
Four presenters for Stop The CrISIS said ISIS and the recent deaths of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent at the hands of Canadian-born radicals has brought the issue “to the forefront.”
Imam Farhan Iqbal insisted that while there is no “immediate” problem with youth radicalization in the GTA that the group knows of, Stop The CrISIS will help serve as a preventative measure.
Iqbal added the group will be working with York Regional Police to develop methods to keep youth from becoming radicalized.
Imam Mubarak Nazir called it a “preemtive effort” to stop radicalization before it starts.
“Our efforts are preemtive to stop something that we see coming,” said Nazir, adding that radicalization runs against the true teachings of the Qur’an. “We’re trying to show our youth through wisdom … (that) this is the (teaching) of the Holy Prophet, so we can stop this … fear of our children drifting.”
Isaac Fonseca, 41, who was born Christian but converted to Islam 20 years ago, will run Thursday night’s session at York.
“We are going to try to dispel the myths about Islam, and also we’re going to try to dispel the misunderstandings about converts to Islam,” Fonseca said.