Muslims launch campaign to curb misconceptions

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April 14, 2015 8:15 AM

Secretary for external affairs, Muzaffar Ahmed, and Tariq Azeem, missionary for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, introduce the Meet a Muslim Family campaign to Lloydminster.

The Lloydminster chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Canada are opening their doors to anyone interested in making new friends and learning more about the true teachings of the Islamic faith.

As part of a national campaign called “Meet a Muslim Family,” the group hopes to introduce people to its various beliefs, traditions and culture and show that the extremist attacks that have been carried out in Canada do not reflect the true teachings of Islam.

“It’s a chance to see the Muslim lifestyle. For most it’s an opportunity to make new friends,” said Tariq Azeem, missionary for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. “In conclusion, to those whom this message reaches, we welcome them to our homes.”

The campaign came about when recently at the Ahmadiyya Muslim headquarters in Toronto someone brought up the idea to counter any misconceptions or doubts people might get following the attacks in Ottawa and Quebec.

Azeem said that if someone visits a Muslim family at their own home it will help them realize Muslims aren’t exactly as they are often portrayed in the media.

“It is important in every city and we want to get our message out. By message I mean that Muslims practice peace. True Muslims live by peaceful teachings so it is significant,” said Azeem.

“It is my responsibility, it is the responsibility of Muslims residing in these areas. We have to portray that Islam is a peaceful religion, so in our region it is our responsibility and it is the most important duty for us.”

Azeem said inviting friends and neighbours into their homes has always been a common practice in the Muslim community, but this is the first time it has been announced officially as a campaign. Locals can submit a request, then the applicant will be contacted and accommodated with an Ahmadiyya Muslim family to visit for lunch, dinner or conversation over tea.

The visit is just a chance to make new friends and learn about their culture in a friendly, casual setting.

“Those particular people who are very close to us, who have visited our homes, they do not fall for the stories or the myths that go on TV or in the news. Not just the media, it’s also the fault of the extremists that portray Islam in this manner,” said Azeem. “So these people who have visited us then understand that the stories that extremists are making up, they’re not based on Islam.”

Those interested in connecting with a Muslim family can call 306-307-1927, visit meetamuslimfamily.com or send an email to tariqazeem@live.ca.

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