January 7, 2015 7:47 pm
Updated: January 8, 2015 9:20 am

Saskatoon Muslim group seeks to stop radicalization through education

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Watch above: Recent terrorist attacks around the world prompted the Saskatoon Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association to start an education campaign in hopes of ending radicalization. Aaron Streck reports.

SASKATOON – Recent terrorist attacks around the world prompted the Saskatoon Muslim group to start an education campaign in hopes of ending radicalization. Members set up on the University of Saskatchewan campus Wednesday to spread their peaceful message.

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“It becomes quite frustrating that our first sentence has to be that we are sorry and that this is not Islam,” said Zahid Abid, Saskatoon Ahmadiyya Muslim community imam.

It’s been a familiar phrase recently for Abid, who once again echoed his heartache after a terrorist attack at a satirical magazine office in Paris, France. Ten Charlie Hebdo staff were killed along with two police officers.

READ MORE: Manhunt ongoing for 2 suspects in Paris magazine attack

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

“It was quite a sad day, another sad morning that this is again happening in the name of faith, religion that promotes peace,” said Abid.

After a Canadian soldier was run down in Quebec and the shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association decided to stand up and started an education campaign – Stop The Crisis.

READ MORE: Muslim group holds rally in Saskatoon condemning Ottawa attacks

On Wednesday, members of the group were handing out invitations to attend a campaign meeting that aims to stop radicalization through education.

“We actually organized this campaign so that we can give the awareness to the newcomer and to the society that Islam doesn’t teach attacks or terrorism, Islam actually teaches about peace, humanity and as our motto is ‘love for all, hatred for none,” said Rashid Ahmed, Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association president.

“Growing up post 9/11, it’s a struggle to grow up as a Muslim to find your identity as a Canadian-born Pakistani, I had to struggle not only with which culture I belong to but rather I had to fight society because of how they saw my religion,” said Naila Chaudhry, with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association.

Abid says, in general, the local Muslim community feels the Canadian public is kind and accepting and doesn’t paint everyone with the same brush.

“There are Muslims, a vast majority, 99 per cent who are good people and they are law abiding citizens and they follow the Canadian law and they enjoy the society in which they live in,” said Abid.

The association’s ‘Stop The Crisis’ campaign will be held Jan. 21 at the University of Saskatchewan in the Health Sciences Building, E-Wing, Room 1150 starting at 6 p.m.

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