Shamaila Ahmed, Toronto West
As a student at Madonna Catholic Secondary School, I embarked on a journey to celebrate Islamic Heritage Month in Canada. This endeavour was close to my heart, and I, along with a dedicated group of three Ahmadi girls, organised a series of events that aimed to educate our peers about Islam and set a remarkable example for others to promote tolerance, inclusion, and appreciation for the rich tapestry of religious practices that define our Canadian society.
“Introduction to Islam” booth
The journey began with our “Introduction to Islam” booth on 11 October 2023, thoughtfully arranged during school lunches. We were able to host an interactive game where students and staff members were able to test their knowledge about Islam using a spinner wheel. We aimed to provide valuable insights into the Islamic faith. Our goal was to remove misunderstandings and misconceptions. It was a humbling experience to see students, teachers, and staff gather, ask questions, and engage in open, enriching dialogues.
“Introduction to Islam” booth (open house)
We were able to set up another booth on 17 October, introducing Islam as requested by the religion department head at the grade eight open house, where around 200 people came and expanded their knowledge of Islam.
An Ahmadi missionary, Aizaz Ahmed Khan Sahib, gave an interactive presentation on 23 October, that included the azan (Islamic call to prayer) and a live question and answer session as well. It was a unique opportunity for our fellow students to engage directly with a Muslim missionary. The presentation left a lasting impact, dispelling myths and fostering a deep appreciation for the Islamic faith. Alhamdulillah, 300 people attended the presentation.
“Women in Islam” booth
On 24 October, we organised a “Women in Islam” booth, which aimed to shed light on the vital roles Muslim women play within the Islamic community and society at large.
The events at Madonna Catholic Secondary School serve as a shining example of how promoting tolerance, dialogue, and understanding can enrich the educational experience and create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.