Muslim group dispel myths one door at a time
The Spec - Hamilton
The rain and gusty winds didn’t stop members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada (AMYA) from visiting neighbourhoods in Stoney Creek Friday to debunk misconceptions about the Islamic faith. “People should judge Islam, or any religion for that matter, on their teachings, not by what the people do,” said Usman Javed, one of five volunteers who were knocking on doors. AMYA members from 65 chapters across Canada are dedicating 40 consecutive days to going door-to-door in 40 communities to dispel myths, and promote peace and harmony among those of Islamic and non-Islamic faiths. Friday was Day 22.
AMYA started its first campaign 14 months ago, and this latest local one began May 11 in Port Dover. Participating volunteers have also committed to fasting and praying for each town or city the day they visit.
“I think it’s important to show Canadians that we care and we’re making an effort,” said Ahmed Sahi, a member of the national executive committee.
As volunteers Naeem Sheikh and Luqman Goraya, both 19, made their way down Glencairn Avenue at King Street East mid-afternoon with flyers, they met one resident sitting in the garage attached to his home.
“If you’re selling anything, I don’t want it,” said Omer Boudreau.
Sheikh and Goraya assured him they were only there to inform him about the peaceful teachings of Islam.
But Boudreau wasn’t interested or pleased about their door-to-door methods: “It’s bothering people. Some people work afternoon shifts, you know, they’re sleeping.”
But other residents in the area, such as Travis Steeves, felt differently.
“Most people are pretty uneducated about it (the Islamic faith),” said Steeves. “It’s good that they’re clearing up misconceptions and handing these (flyers) out.”
Sahi and his volunteers continued their campaign to King Street East and Centennial Parkway over the remainder of the day.
Despite having a door slammed in his face, being barked at by both humans and dogs, he remains optimistic about their efforts.
“We really believe this message we’re bringing will have a positive impact,” said Sahi. “We’re fighting a battle of what’s perceived of us around the world and we need to bring the peaceful side of Islam to the forefront.”
905-526-3434 | @HilaryatTheSpec
Jun 01, 2012
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