SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- In light of world events, Hamilton’s Muslims want to assure the community that they are law-abiding, peaceful people and not like the terrorists doing terrible things in the name of jihad, says community spokesperson Dr. Raza Khan.
The Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton — a coalition of local mosques and community organizations — is hosting a three-day event called “Who is Muhammad?”
Its purpose is to stimulate conversations about what Islam is really all about.
“When you read comment sections on (news and other) websites, there’s a lot of negativity and misinformed comments being made about Islam,” said Khan. “We want the public to have an opportunity to ask any questions … and see that we’re normal people like everyone else — law-abiding and peaceful.”
The event starts with a public forum co-sponsored by The Hamilton Spectator in its auditorium on Thursday — hosted by editor-in-chief Paul Berton and featuring panellists Imam Hosam Helal of the Hamilton Mountain Mosque, Imam Sayed Tora of the Downtown Mosque and Dr. Hamid Slimi, imam of the Sayeda Khadija Centre in Mississauga.
A similar event was held in 2012 after the release of an American film attacking the Prophet caused worldwide tensions, but “this time around, emotions are running higher and there are a lot more anti-Islam sentiments,” Khan said.
“There is almost a palpable feeling of tension and we need to break that tension. We’re opening our door and saying ‘let’s talk.'”