Canada: Open house at Stratford Public Library helps answer questions about Islam

Source: stratfordbeaconherald.com

Extremist Muslim clerics find vulnerable young people in tribal areas of countries such as Pakistan and radicalize them. He said the violence isn’t a war against the West but a war against humanity.

Rezwan Muhammad (background at left) and Shakoor Ahmad of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association led a Holy Quaran exhibition and open house Saturday afternoon at the Stratford Public Library aimed to educate the public about Islam in light of recent global events. CORY SMITH/The Beacon Herald

Rezwan Muhammad (background at left) and Shakoor Ahmad of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association led a Holy Quaran exhibition and open house Saturday afternoon at the Stratford Public Library aimed to educate the public about Islam in light of recent global events. CORY SMITH/The Beacon Herald

Islam is a faith of peace that has been tarnished through radicalization resulting in terrorism, said a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association.

Rezwan Muhammad led a Holy Quran exhibition and open house Saturday afternoon at the Stratford Public Library aimed to educate the public in light of recent global events.

“As soon as this whole ISIS crisis began, our community started a campaign around Canada and we decided we will go to universities and hold these, not just exhibitions, but presentations just to show what’s happening with this radicalization,” he said.

The problem, Muhammad said, is that extremist Muslim clerics find vulnerable young people in tribal areas of countries such as Pakistan and radicalize them. He said the violence isn’t a war against the West but a war against humanity.

“Ignorance has a very big role in it, and I think they (extremist Muslim clerics) look at that ignorance and they take advantage of it,” Muhammad said. “That’s basically their job, so the more people around them that they get, that’s how they make a living. Creating problems, violence sometimes is something that gives them more popularity.”

The Ahmadiyya campaign started in November, shortly after the fatal shooting on Parliament Hill by a Canadian who had converted to Islam in 2004. The group first targeted teenagers and young adults – the same demographic targeted by ISIS – before randomly selecting smaller communities.

Stratford was one of six exhibitions and open houses in Ontario on Saturday. Others have been held in Norwich and Tillsonburg.

“In universities I’ve seen that most people don’t have a negative reaction,” Muhammad said. “We’re all on the same page. Everyone is saying this is a problem and they acknowledge us for taking this step and going towards trying to promote peace and taking these people who have been radicalized and telling them that this is not what Islam teaches us.

“People are (also) concerned (in the smaller towns and cities), and they agree with us that this is a problem and we have to take care of this problem.”

Both Muhammad and Shakoor Ahmad said they… read more at stratfordbeaconherald.com

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