‘Explore Islam’ campaign in Canada

Syed Mukarram Nazeer, Canada Correspondent

Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Canada and the national department of Tabligh jointly initiated a campaign to spread the beautiful teachings of Islam in Canada from coast to coast.

“As Canada’s largest Muslim youth group, we aim to showcase the true and peaceful teachings of Islam,” and “Through this national campaign, we want to provide Canadians an opportunity to meet with Muslims and explore the religion of Islam”, said Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Canada, Tahir Ahmed Sahib.

The “Explore Islam” nationwide campaign aims to present the religion of Islam to the Canadian public by visiting over 1,000 cities, towns, and villages through a robust national plan, explained Mohtamim Tabligh, MKA Canada, Jari Qudrat Sahib. The objectives of this campaign are to educate and raise awareness about the true teachings of Islam, and how these teachings lead to a life of peace, serenity, and fulfilment.

Majalis across Canada were assigned different geographical areas and once in their designated area, they were to engage in flyer distribution, hold open houses [open days] at local public places, and engage in dialogue with residents.

As of the writing of this report, over 80 cities and towns have been visited. More are being visited every weekend. Response from Canadians has been welcoming and has led to interesting conversations.

A new website www.exploreislam.ca has been created and is being promoted. The website has new content, events, articles, and FAQ. More is being added regularly. Those interested in participating in this campaign can follow @ExploreIslamCA on Twitter and follow the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #ExploreIslam.

A brief summary of some of the trips is given below:

Brampton East Region

A group of 11 ansar and 40 khuddam participated in these visits, reported Secretary Tabligh, Brampton East Imarat. The towns that were visited were within a radius of about 200 km of the Mubarak Mosque, Brampton. Five open houses were hosted and 860 flyers were distributed.

“We should not just tolerate each other, we should be accepting of each other’s beliefs and backgrounds”, said a primary school teacher, Fergus.

“My nephew has recently converted to Islam and I have been so inspired by the change that I have observed in him, that I am also very keen to learn about Islam”, said a guest.

“You are doing a great service by visiting towns and introducing the true teachings of Islam. Of course, the perceptions given in mainstream media about Islam are not all true”, said a guest.

“Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya should hold more events at larger venues in the town”, said the librarian at the public library in Shelburne.

Ottawa Region

Majlis Ottawa West was assigned to the City of Kingston to visit and convey the message of Islam, reported Qaid Majlis Ottawa West, Sarmed Ahmed Sahib. Thirteen khuddam and two Atfal travelled a distance of close to 200 km to get to Kingston. Their destination was the Kingston Frontenac Public Library. They were greeted by patrons of the library and the local community with open hearts. The distribution of over 100 flyers to the neighbourhood spurred conversations. The open house at the library was covered by the public press and was also shown on Global News Network. Books such as Life of Muhammad were among the gifts given to guests.

“Very well organized and displayed exhibition, I had the opportunity to ask questions directly and was given satisfying answers along with books for me to explore. Thank you for hosting this”, said Yanwen, a student at Queens University.

“Happy to see our Muslim brother spreading awareness and inviting me to visit the exhibit. Thank you so much for the books and for allowing me to join for salat during your event”, said Soroush, a student at Queens University.

GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Region

Regional Qaid GTA Centre, Aneeq Ahmed Sahib, shared the highlights of the work done by the majalis in the region. Twelve khuddam and a nasir from Majlis Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace, travelled to the City of Bellville, Ontario. It is home to 50,000 people. A room in Belleville Public Library was booked for an open house, with posters and displays setup. Khuddam distributed 75 flyers, interacted with people and invited them to the open house. 10 guests visited the open house. Fifteen khuddam from majlis Emery Village and majlis Weston Islington travelled 321 km to the Town of Lansdowne, Ontario. The local public library was booked for an open house. The Holy Quran with its English translation and other Jamaat literature were gifted to the library. Khuddam stood by a major intersection carrying various Jamaat banners. Doors of 88 houses were knocked, 210 flyers distributed, and 87 one on one interactions with people were had.

Majlis Weston North West visited Barrie’s Bay, Ontario and Eganville, Ontario. Eganville Public Library was booked for an open house. Publicity was done through social media, and a couple of good interactions were had. A Libyan Muslim family visited the library after getting a message through social media. Mohammad mentioned that his family is the only Muslim family in Eganville. He took flyers and books with the intent to share with his friends. Sixteen khuddam from majlis Weston South, went to the City of Sydney, Nova Scotia. Sadr MKA Canada came to see them off and led them in silent prayer. Nova Scotia lies at the eastern end of Canada, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The journey took them through three provinces, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Along the way, they made stops at various towns and cities to build contacts, talk to people, and to give out literature. They also borrowed the Tabligh Trailer from the markaz, and towed it behind one of their vehicles. The trailer had pictures of the Promised Messiahas, and various Jamaat logos including “I am a Muslim, ask me anything”, “The Messiah has come”, “Love for all, Hatred for none”. The trailer gathered much attention and was a source of tabligh. Many people waved positively as they passed by. People at gas stations would often come over and ask questions.

“I’m very happy to see a group of Muslims come to our town for the awareness of Islam and spread the peaceful teachings of Islam”, Mohammad, the only Muslim family of Eganville.

Western Canada

In Western Canada, so far, over 15 towns have been visited. The public response has been mixed. In some cases, there was a very warm welcome from the town, while in others some challenges were faced. Overall, many interesting conversations were held, and people were engaged in learning more about Islam. Altogether, over 30 guests attended these open houses to learn more about Islam. Often local city officials, including mayors and councillors also attended.

Some of the towns visited include New West Minster, Delta, White Rock, Pitt Meadows, Langley, Aldergrove, Okotoks, High River, Brooks, and Picture Butte.

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