National tour combats Islamic radicalization

Serge Halytsky
International Affairs Reporter

The nationwide Stop the CrISIS campaign that started within the Ahmadiyya Muslim community made a presentation at Humber College Nov. 26.

Humber is one of nearly 50 locations around Canada where the presentations are taking place, said public relations representative for Stop the CrISIS in Humber and General Arts and Sciences second-year student Mobeen Sheikh, 20.

The action was initially planned only for Ryerson University, but has expanded across Canada.

“(Stop the CrISIS) is to prevent the radicalization of youth and to educate students, as it became a great issue, especially after shooting on the Parliament Hill,” Sheikh said.

ISIS, or Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, has been associated with brutal terrorist acts tied to its stated goal of creating a new Islamic caliphate across the Near East.

Humber students listened to the guest speaker’s lecture, asked many questions pertaining to the topic and had a chance to speak with presenters in person after the event.

“We’re trying to educate the people what true Islam is. We’re trying to show that ISIS is representing the wrong kind of Islam,” said Abdul Basit Khavaju, a sixth-year student of theology at the Islamic Institution in Vaughan and the guest-speaker of the event.

The message behind Stop the CrISIS is that the general public must educate itself about Islam, according to Khavaju, who says the media gives a small and usually extreme glimpse of the religion.

“We’ve (developed the) Stop the CrISIS idea because of ISIS, and some people from Canada and other Western countries are also getting involved in terrorism activity, and, most of all, Islam is misrepresented by ISIS and other groups,” said Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at missionary Imam, Muhammad Khalid.

Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious movement started in 19th century India. There are about 73 different movements in Islam, Sheikh said.

There’s no concept of terrorism in Islam, which teaches peace and whose meaning is also peace, he said.

“Our message is that what ISIS is doing is not Islam. People should not only take Islam through the media and other sources. They should also read the teachings of Islam,” Khalid said.

The verses from Quran ISIS tries to cite are misinterpreted, as they come from the times when the prophet Mohammed was persecuted in his hometown, Mecca, and escaped to Medina, he said.

“Anyone who reads the Quran will understand that these verses have nothing to do with terrorism,” Khalid said.