Canada: 9th Annual World Religions Conference titled “Does God Exist?” to be held by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community


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Paris attacks underline importance of Olds religion conference: speaker


By: Doug Collie

The attacks in Paris by Muslim extremists underline the importance of a religious conference that takes place tomorrow in Olds, a Muslim leader says.

The ninth annual World Religions Conference is entitled “Does God Exist?” It will be held on Nov. 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Alumni Centre. Admission is free. Registration is recommended.

The event, organized by the Calgary chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, a sect of Islam, features representatives of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

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On Nov. 13, at least 125 people were killed during co-ordinated attacks in several sites in Paris by Muslim extremists. The Islamist State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for those attacks.

Imam Shahrukh Abid, the speaker for Islam at tomorrow’s event in Olds, says it’s an opportunity to show that Islam – in fact all religions – are about peace, not war.

“What kind of God would go around telling people that, ‘spill the blood of those who don’t believe?’”

“We all present our perception as to how we know that God exists. The main goal is to find commonalities among all religions,” he says. “It’s to show the world that religion actually brings people together, rather than letting it divide us and telling us to kill each other or hate each other.”

“That’s not what religion’s all about. Religion’s about peace, harmony, having interfaith sharing ideas, so I’m not ignorant about what Christians believe or what Jews believe.

“I should be well educated about what they believe, so I have first-hand knowledge, rather than me forming an opinion about them based on what I see or what I hear.”

Abid says ISIS-inspired attacks as well as other conflicts around the world, like the ongoing struggle for land between Israelis and Palestinians, are actually political issues, not religious ones.

“Religion is a tool that they use to achieve their goal, but it’s all political. Everything that we see on the (news) media has nothing to do with Islam; it’s all political,” he says.

“It’s the desire for more, the need for more, not being content with what we have. And that feeling is there because people have walked away from God. People have walked away from the true teachings and His messengers and walked away from the true teachings that God has sent.

“So if I went right back to those teachings, come back there and understand what God wants (us) to do, for example: pray, be kind to human beings and be less greedy, don’t hoard your wealth and give to charity – Islam’s big on charity.

“When we become greedy, when our desires exceed our resources, that’s when things go out of proportion and there’s chaos in the world. Religion is used as a tool – as something to fall back on – something to blame, because nobody wants to blame their own policies, but they would want to blame something that’s not in their control. So they blame religion for it.”

Abid says the secret to peace is to go back to the Bible or Koran and really read it for yourself.

“If all of us were to get to the core and understand the teachings of every religion, we’d find teachings of harmony and peace,” he says.

“There’s no bloodshed involved. What kind of God would go around telling people that, ‘spill the blood of those who don’t believe?’

“That doesn’t make sense, because Islam says that every single person in this world is a part of God’s family. Islam doesn’t differentiate. You’re a creation of God and I have to sacrifice my own comfort for your needs. That’s what Islam says.”

For more information or to register for the conference, call 1-866-628-5435.


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