Calgary’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community sees success with outreach efforts

“Extremism has no room in Islam,” said Mohsin Kamran, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. “It’s a very peaceful and moderate religion.”

Source: metronews.ca

Salman Khalid speaks during another public forum organized Sunday by Calgary’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. Among his messages was to not allow one’s perceptions of Islam to be shaped solely by watching CNN.

Salman Khalid speaks during another public forum organized Sunday by Calgary’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. Among his messages was to not allow one’s perceptions of Islam to be shaped solely by watching CNN.

Members of Calgary’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community say they’re pleased with recent media coverage and public reaction to their outreach efforts and plan to continue spreading their message of peace and understanding.

“I think it’s been received pretty well,” Nasrullah Taha, general secretary for the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, said of a forum his group held at SAIT last week and broader public relations efforts, which are ongoing.

As part of a broader national movement called Stop The CrISIS, local Ahmadiyya Muslims are working to counter what they describe as a perversion of the true nature of Islam by extremist groups around the world.

“Extremism has no room in Islam,” said Mohsin Kamran, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. “It’s a very peaceful and moderate religion.”

Their group’s main goals are to prevent the radicalization of youth and to communicate their own understanding of Islam to the general public.

Taha said he’s already seen progress since the SAIT forum, held on Nov. 25.

“Before, there were a lot of people that didn’t seem to know very much about Islam, apart from what the media tells them, and when I talked to them after, they were pretty surprised by what the teachings actually are,” he said Sunday during another outreach event, this one held at the Bangladeshi Centre and attended by about 80 people.

For his part, Kamran said he’s observed “a very good reaction from the community” so far, with one non-Muslim Calgarian telling him last week that he’s no longer afraid of Islam, generally.

“He said … ‘If everyone think like you guys think … we don’t need to worry,’” Kamran said.

Sultan Mahmood, who sits on the executive council of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, said recent coverage has had a “great impact” locally, countering a perception that violent extremist groups like ISIS somehow speak for Islam more broadly.

“If the media doesn’t say those people are misled people, then it will have more have negative than positive effect,” he said “So the media has definitely played a very important role and we’re very pleased with it.”

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