Is­lam & Mus­lims: Peace, War

The Miracle - - Front Page - Ab­dul Muqsit Faruqi, Direc­tor, Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion

This was the topic of an event held at the Grand Hall in TRU on Satur­day, October 14th 2017. The event,which drew in a crowd of 258, was hosted and or­ga­nized by the Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion (KIA) in­part­ner­ship with Is­lam Un­rav­elled and sup­ported by TRU. Given the plethora of neg­a­tive news re­gard­ing Is­lam and Mus­lims cir­cu­lat­ing the media th­ese days, there is an im­mense need for ed­u­cat­ing Cana­di­ans re­gard­ing th­ese top­ics. It is this need that led KIA to in­vite Mufti Aasim Rashid from Van­cou­ver to speak on this ex­tremely rel­e­vant topic. It has never been more cru­cial to be ed­u­cated and in­formed for the bet­ter­ment of our so­ci­ety through ed­u­ca­tion, co­op­er­a­tion, net­work­ing,and pro­grams which ben­e­fit all Cana­di­ans alike; Mus­lims and Non-Mus­lims.Plan­ning be­gan in mid-Au­gust and all the Di­rec­tors at KIA, worked tire­lessly to bring this pro­gram to fruition. From se­cur­ing the venue at TRU, ar­rang­ing for re­fresh­ments and set­ting up reg­is­tra­tion, to de­vel­op­ing pro­gram process charts, a media and mar­ket­ing strat­egy, im­ple­men­ta­tion plans and defin­ing roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, the or­ga­niz­ers had their plates full in the lead up to the event. Ar­rang­ing forad­di­tional vol­un­teers for the event and pro­vid­ing train­ing was also part of the event plan­ning. On October 14, the event kicked off with a Jeop­ardy style trivia re­gard­ing Is­lam and Mus­lims, to keep the au­di­ence en­gaged as peo­ple checked in. Faisal Sid­diqui, Pres­i­dent of Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion, took the stage to of­fi­cially be­gin the pro­gram, ac­knowl­edg­ing the ter­ri­tory of the Kam­loops In­dian Band,part­ner­ship with Is­lam Un­rav­elled, sup­port from TRU and par­tic­i­pa­tion of In­ter­faith Kam­loops Group andthe gen­eral pub­lic.This was fol­lowed by the recita­tion of a few verses from the Holy Qu­ran, af­ter which Tony Larue of Kam­loops In­dian Band took to the stage to per­form a tra­di­tional song and prayer. Dean of Stu­dents at TRU, Chris­tine Adam then took the stage to thank Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion for or­ga­niz­ing the event. Adam also took the op­por­tu­nity to men­tion the sup­port of Kam­loops Is­lam­icAs­so­ci­a­tion dur­ing the BC Wild­fires evac­u­a­tions when hun­dreds of evac­uees were shel­tered at TRU from the in­te­rior. ‘The very first call of sup­port that came in, was from the Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion’, said Adam.Sid­diqui then set the tone for the event, by out­lin­ing its ex­pected out­come; that at­ten­dees en­tered the hall with sin­cere in­ten­tions and open minds and hope­fully at the end of the pro­gram, left with bet­terun­der­stand­ing, love, peace, trust, re­spect and a sense of be­long­ing to one so­ci­ety. Van­cou­ver based Is­lamic Scholar, Mufti Aasim Rashid was then in­tro­duced by Sid­diqui and called on stage.On tak­ing the stage, Mufti Aasim be­gan the lec­ture by out­lin­ing his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences grow­ing up in­Canada as a Mus­lim and the chal­lenges that came with the ter­ri­tory. As he took the au­di­ence through his per­sonal jour­ney, he weaved in some of the press­ing is­sues of to­day in­volv­ing Is­lam and Mus­lims. Among the top­ics he men­tioned were world­wide de­mands for all Mus­lims to de­nounce ter­ror at­tacks, the rea­sons be­hind the way Mus­lims dress, how rad­i­cal ex­trem­ists have noth­ing to do with the true teach­ings of Is­lam, and how is­lam­o­phobes and ex­trem­ists have one thing in com­mon; ha­tred for the ‘other’.As he elo­quently ar­tic­u­lated points rel­e­vant to Cana­di­ans to­day, Mufti Aasim ef­fec­tively uti­lized hu­mor to re­late to the au­di­ence. By touch­ing on sig­nif­i­cant events in the Mid­dle East, de­mands for Sharia Law and its as­so­ci­ated pe­nal codes in the West among other is­sues, Mufti Aasim ad­dressed most of the ques­tion­sat­ten­dees had in their minds. Those who needed more clar­ity raised their hands for vol­un­teers on the floor to pro­vide them with a formso their ques­tions could be writ­ten down. Th­ese were handed over to Mufti Aasim at the end of his speech and he an­swered and ex­plained spe­cific ques­tions re­gard­ing rights of women in Is­lam, why youth rad­i­cal­iza­tion oc­curs, fe­male organ mu­ti­la­tion, ji­had and hi­jab. KIA and Is­lam Un­rav­elled had one aim in mind when putting it all to­gether; to clear up mis­con­cep­tions about Is­lam and give peo­ple a chance to learn about the religion from peo­ple who ac­tu­ally fol­low it and pro­vide an­swers through a re­li­able and ref­er­enced source. The lec­ture and Q&A ses­sion cul­mi­nated in as­tand­ing ova­tion from the au­di­ence, who then min­gled and re­flected on what they had learnt over­refresh­ments. Heidi Cole­man, Pres­i­dent of Kam­loops Jewish Community, said “We are a bet­ter peo­ple and community when we get to know each other bet­ter, un­der­stand each other bet­ter, break bread to­gether and cel­e­brate­to­gether. I com­mend the Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion for hold­ing this event and for try­ing to bring our­com­mu­ni­ties closer.”“...we ex­tend our grat­i­tude to Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion for your work in putting to­gether thisim­por­tant community event.” Pas­tor Jane Gin­grich, Hills of Peace Lutheran Church“It was a great plea­sure and hon­our for me to at­tend. Thank you, Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion for all the work you and the vol­un­teers did to ac­com­plish this event.” Rev­erend He­len McFadyen, Min­is­ter, Uni­tar­i­anUniver­sal­ist Fel­low­ship An au­di­ence mem­ber who trav­elled from Sor­rento to at­tend the event summed it up in a few sen­tences: “Thank you for al­low­ing me to at­tend, I (we) found it clar­i­fied some of the mis-be­liefs we might have had be­fore at­tend­ing. Good on you folks, mis­sion ac­com­plished.” The Kam­loops Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion thanks ev­ery­one who took the time out to at­tend this event. Just show­ing up and mak­ing the ef­fort to learn about some­thing that is por­trayed with such neg­a­tiv­ity shows the char­ac­ter of our community, and reaf­firms our val­ues of in­clu­sive­ness and open­ness as Cana­di­ans. May weget many more op­por­tu­ni­ties to get to­gether and learn more about each other.

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