Canada: Ahmadiyya Muslim youth hoping visit from the Caliph a chance to fight extremism

Canada: Ahmadiyya Muslim youth hoping visit from the Caliph a chance to fight extremism

Extremist organizations have targeted young people to join their ranks, and the Caliph will meet with high school and college students to spread the counter-narrative.

World leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community arrives in Toronto Monday for a month-long national tour.

Youth in the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at community are hoping a visit from the Caliph will help dispel misconceptions about Islam as the world continues to battle terrorism.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Caliph who’s been at the helm of the Islamic community since 2003, arrives in Toronto Monday as part of a month-long national tour during which he’ll interact with politicians and members of his congregation.

The visit coincides with Ahmadiyya’s 50th anniversary in Canada.

While expectations are high for the Islamic community for which the Caliph is the equivalent of the Pope in the Catholic church, young people want to use the opportunity to show that radicalism has no place in true teachings of Islam as a religion.

“Extremists always misquote the Qur’an for their own political agenda,” said Blawal Alem, a youth in the Toronto Ahmadiyya community.

He and other youth in the community have chosen to “preach through actions,” organizing food drives, community cleanups and sports activities in an effort to promote peace and harmony where they live.

Extremist organizations have targeted young people to join their ranks, and the Caliph will meet with high school and college students to spread the counter-narrative.

“Those who are influenced to join extremists are troubled individuals,” said Alem. “They just need a sense of belonging.”

Youth in the Ahmaddiya community have been at the forefront of campaigns promoting peaceful coexistence between Muslims and other members of society. Initiatives such as Meet a Muslim Family and Fast with a Muslim Friend last year have helped change negative views on Islam.

“While the tide hasn’t completely turned, we’re well on the right track,” said Safwan Choudhry, a youth leader in the community.

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