SHAFAQNA – Television is a big part of their everyday life, much like it is most Western World families. But some of the content — especially the worldwide news coverage — has a different impact. A lot of people draw their conclusions of the Islam community from what they see on television and the turmoil that has struck the world so far this century. The fallout has been outrage, and innocent Muslims have many times felt the brunt of that through racism and prejudice.
Boodhun — a native of Mauritius, a small island off Madagascar — has lived in Grand Falls-Windsor since the age of 10. Over the past 14-plus years, much has happened in the world to change people’s views of Muslims. That had little, if any, impact on her acceptance and life in the central Newfoundland town, she says.
“I find, out of all the places I have ever lived, Newfoundlanders to be the nicest people I have ever met,” she said. “I loved my youth, my teenage years, in Grand Falls-Windsor.”
She still lives there today with her husband, Ismaël Durgauhee, a native of France. They both appreciate the kindness and acceptance of Newfoundlanders, however, they are still not prepared to sit idly by as misconceptions mount about their faith and their people. They want to be part of the solution — a movement to better understand the root of these evils and differentiate those from the “true” Islam community.
The couple, who are part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, were in Corner Brook Wednesday to deliver a presentation — Stop the crISIS — in an attempt to clear up some of the common misconceptions that exist.
Their message that true Islam is a religion based on the principles of peace was delivered in a short presentation. Those principles are the total opposite of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), she said. Nowhere does the Holy Quran promote the killing of others.
With that said, they opened the floor to questioning from the eight people who attended. An engaging conversation ensued, encompassing the thoughts and perspectives of everything from the rights of women and the meaning of the veil, to the Charlie Hebdo attack and the recruitment of young and impressionable Muslims into terrorist activity.
While their messages were many, it was the commonality between Muslims and most people of faith — no matter the religion — that echoed throughout the session at the Corner Brook Public Library.
“I like to say that, for me to be a Muslim, I have to Jewish and a Christian,” Boodhun said. “We come from the same line of teachings, the same line of the representatives of God … All these three faiths teach compassion and love.”
There needs to be more focus on what brings everybody closer together in today’s world, she said.
The couple hopes to return to Corner Brook in September to speak at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University.