â€œI think they are really important because they help educate other people and they can learn a lot. It removes misconceptions about Islam.â€
VERMILION, Alta. – Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Lloydminster, Alta./Sask. have been welcomed with respect and solidarity, according to Imam Tariq Azeem.
Azeem has been hosting Coffee and Islam, a national campaign intended to dispel suspicions and misconceptions regarding Islam, at the Vermilion Public Library every Thursday throughout February.
â€œWe had some guests from the local community that came and showed support, especially in light of the recent event in Quebec, where a mosque was attacked. (They) showed solidarity and respect. They feel the pain as human beings for loss of life.â€
Last month, six people were killed and five others were injured, following the attack of a Quebec City, Que. mosque.
â€œOur mosques are always open. Even after the attack in Quebec, we do not feel this one attack reflects the entire country. The people are tolerant, and whatever has happened after the incident shows majority of the people are loving and caring, and will always be there to support their neighbours and friends, â€œ Azeem said.
In addition, members of the local Muslim community, from Vermilion and the surrounding area, have visited to express their appreciation.
â€œThey were appreciative because there is no mosque or formal chapter here,â€ Azeem said.
â€œSo, they appreciate us coming out here and provide a voice to their feelings about recent events. Either because they have or not have been able to communicate to the local community. Being a part of a local chapter in Lloydminster, it gives us the opportunity and manpower to conduct such activities.â€
Azeem was also joined by two youth members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 16-year-old Shehroze Afridi and 14-year-old Kamran Rajput, which opens younger residents to visit and ask questions.
â€œI think they are really important because they help educate other people and they can learn a lot. It removes misconceptions about Islam,â€ Afridi said.
Rajput added that he is very comfortable answering questions about his religion to those who are interested.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has many auxiliary organizations, which include children, youth, adults, and seniors, and aim to educate them on their faith in through classes and sessions, Azeem said.
â€œ(This way) they grow up and become beneficial members of the society.â€
The last Coffee and Islam event will be on Thursday, Feb. 23, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free and will include refreshments.