Muslims reach out in Maple Ridge

Open house to ‘demystify Islam.’

Next time, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association might try a different approach to connecting with the larger community in Maple Ridge.

Either that or Maple Ridge residents have no questions at all about Islam.

A Saturday open house in the Maple Ridge library, titled the Holy Quran Open House to Demystify Islam, drew no one, said Imam Bilal Khokhar.

Last year, about 10 people showed up at a similar open house.

Most people don’t equate Islam with terrorism, but at some point, people still have misunderstandings, he said.

“People don’t understand Muslims. They don’t understand Islam.

“By holding these events, we give opportunity to people of the town, they can come and ask any question. We’re open to discussion to explain who we are, why do we do what we do. Why are we Muslims.”

The open house was part of a nationwide campaign by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at involving more than 135 open houses and more than 270 visits to towns, “to spread peace, demystify Islam and create religious harmony.”

In any religion, in the past, people used certain texts to justify their own gains, he pointed out.

“It’s a battle, It’s going to take time to get over that.”

The news release announcing the open house denounced the November attack in Paris which killed 130 people.

“Terrorism has never been and never will be, the teachings of Islam,” said the release from the related youth association.

“The actions of ISIS and other terrorist groups, has created myths surround Islam, which in turn has given rise to hate crimes against Muslims all over the world, including Canada. This is due to the lack of understanding of the true and peaceful teachings of Islam.”

The association held an event called Stop the Crisis last year, highlighting the last four letters.

He agreed that the situation for Muslims in Canada differs from France where some of the shooters in the Paris attacks were European born.

Khokhar said Muslim alienation from mainstream culture here is small.

“People have jobs and have no reasons to go and do other things.”

In France, Muslims live in ghettos and don’t have jobs.

“It’s definitely prevalent there.

“And they get sucked into the jihadi ideologies from the Middle East … because they pay them.”

Khokhar, who lives in Delta, is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama-at which he says is excluded from mainstream Muslim society and are not allowed to call their places of worship, mosques.

Its main tenet is “Love for all, Hatred for None,” said Khokhar.

When terrorists invoke Islam, “They’re so wrong. They just make it look so bad.”

He agreed, anytime there’s a mass shooting in the U.S., Muslims are hoping their religion isn’t involved.

“The religion of Islam has been hijacked. Ourselves as Muslims are so frustrated by those other Muslims. They’re so wrong, they’re so wrong. They’re using the religion of Islam and they’re just making it so bad.”

He said it’s all about spirituality and the connection with God.

“We have to give back to people.

“It gets so frustrating that this religion we’re trying to represent, they’re ruining the picture for so many people.”

 

Just Posted

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. says the province continues to invest too little in BC Parks, compared with public demand. (Special to The News)
Outdoor rec group decries parks funding

Golden Ears Park packed by record numbers of visitors

Community residents, businesses, and youth are all encouraged to complete economic development surveys. (The News files)
City of Maple Ridge asks for community input on economic development

Three surveys available online will help shape strategy for years to come

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Schools in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows exposed to COVID-19

Davie Jones and Hammond elementary schools have confirmed cases

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock near Webster’s Corners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Most Read