With extremist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaida launching terrorist attacks around the world, including on Parliament Hill and France’s “Charlie Hebdo” magazine, the situation has given rise to Islamophobia in Canada.
What are the true teachings of the Holy Quran? The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) is holding an open house at the Lethbridge Public Library today to inform and dispel some of the myths about Islam.
The group wants people to understand that terrorism is not part of their religion, and they hope to break the ice for an open conversation.
“There are a lot of things happening around the world, and people watch the news. Unfortunately because of extremist and terrorist groups, holding the name of our faith to commit these atrocities and violence, a lot of people get confused. They have questions. We basically want to give people the opportunity to remove those misunderstandings by having a dialogue,” said Umair Khan, Imam of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The open house will cover the teachings of Islam, go into the meaning of the Holy Quran, and AMYA youth will be available to answer questions and provide literature.
AMYA holds open houses year-round in many different communities. The main headquarters is in Calgary, and while there is no local chapter, Khan would love for one to be established.
He said some people attend with strong views against Muslims, but overall they have had some very positive outcomes.
“You could tell by the end of the conversation, they were comfortable and had a better understanding. They begin to realize much of what they think they know about Muslims is incorrect,” he said.
“People sometimes have such a weird view about us, when they see a woman wearing a scarf or a hijab or a brown person with a beard. They start associating those physical features with extremists, or they get scared. We just want people to realize we’re normal people. We go to Tim Hortons. We watch hockey. We’re just as Canadian as other people.”
The Holy Quran Open House will run at the LPL from 1-4 p.m.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a non-profit charitable religious organization in over 206 countries worldwide, with 86 chapters throughout Canada.