By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Small rural communities are getting an opportunity to learn about Islam thanks to a nation-wide, interactive tour presented by Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association.
Hanan Sobhi, a spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, explained the interactive nationwide tour Explore Islam is an opportunity for residents to ask questions and learn about the Islamic faith directly from Muslims. The cross-Canada tour is set to visit over 1,000 cities, towns, and villages where residents will have an opportunity to have a dialogue about Islam and have their questions answered by Muslims.
In December, Explore Islam visited Nobleford. Sobhi said although the event in Nobleford did not see the turnout that was hoped for, “we went went door-to-door instead” in the community. Sobhi said the residents were “very welcoming and warm people.”
“Even if one person had a positive interaction, we look at that as a great success. The real objective of our coming (out) is to just basically open up the avenues of dialogue. We break bread together, we host guests, we provide a little bit of literature on Islam, and offer the people a little bit of refreshment and just have a very friendly place to basically talk about spirituality and talk about religion.”
“What we found so far is that whenever people comment, and if they have any kind of misconceptions, it’s resolved very quickly” because of the face-to-face nature of the discussions.
“We’ve done a lot of these programs in the major cities,” said Sobhi adding, “smaller towns don’t have the same population of Muslims; some of the perspectives are a little bit different.” He also said the tour offers a space for curious people to step in and ask questions.
In addition to Picture Butte, the group also stopped off in High River, Okotoks, and Brooks on Saturday.
“We need more interactive discussion type programs like this, so that we understand our neighbours, we understand the people of our country who are the fabric of our country, and in this way, we understand that we have more commonalities rather than differences.”
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