Promoting Islam in Quebec City

lifeinquebec.com: Main pic: Sarah Cherki of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community speaks to Quebecers during an information session on Islam. Photo credit: Ruby Pratka

If there has ever been an easy time to be an imam in Quebec City, now is not it. The divisions stirred up by the Charter of Values still rear their heads every time Islam is mentioned, and the murders of two Canadian soldiers by Quebec-born Muslim converts raised concerns in the media that young men were being pushed to adopt a radical, Islamic State-inspired version of Islam.

It’s not an easy time to promote Islam in Quebec City. But Luqman Ahmed, a 26-year-old Ahmadiyya Muslim imam, has decided to try. With pizza, pop and free Qur’ans, he and three of the members of his congregation attempted to win hearts and minds Wednesday evening at a community centre on Rue Boivin in Ste-Foy.

Ahmed is originally from Pakistan. He lived in Toronto for seven years before arriving in Quebec this summer to learn French and minister to the city’s tiny Ahmadiyya community.

“I feel very welcome in Canada and in Quebec so far,” he says. “There is a lot of misinformation about Islam and there could be misunderstandings. Canadians are very tolerant and welcoming people, and they don’t target Muslims unjustly; I’ve never been targeted unjustly. But there is a lot of misinformation about Islam, and due to misinformation, there could be misunderstandings. There’s definitely a need to educate people.”

“When you love something and it’s being portrayed in a negative sense, you want to correct that,” he adds. “If I don’t do my part to say that Islam doesn’t condone terrorism, people may connect the dots and associate such things as are going on with ISIS, with the faith. But what is happening now is not supported by Islam.”

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