CAIRO - Supporting needy families quietly for years, Ontario's Windsor Muslim community decided to let people know about charitable giving they have been offering behind closed doors.
This is something we've been doing all along, Sousan Khaled, food drive co-ordinator of the Spirit of Ramadan Food Drive at Al Hijra Muslim school on Howard Avenue, told the Windsor Star.
But this year we decided to be a little bit louder about it. We want to let people see what the Muslims are doing behind closed doors.
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Working for years behind the doors, young Muslims suggested making a little noise this year in their charitable drive after Ramadan.
The new move to go visible was taken in a trial to counter the negative image of Islam as portrayed in countless news headlines over the decade since 9-11.
Why does everything have to be negative? This is what we're all about, she said.
Uniting efforts of its members, the Muslim community managed to prepare 1,145 grocery bags had been donated, each with a value of about $20 and containing 13 basic items, including cereals, rice, pasta, tuna and toiletries such as soap and toothpaste.
Khaled said individual families were given a list of items to purchase by their Mosques and did their own shopping.
Those who had no time to shop simply dropped off a $20 donation and drive organizers did the shopping for them.
This year's drive surpassed the target, and last year's total, by more than 100 bags, all destined for local charitable organizations and food banks, Khaled added.
People wanted to be a part of it, she said.
This is what it's all about. It's what we're obliged to do in a country that is as amazing as this one.
The decision to go public was also urged following attacks on seven US mosques in the last two weeks, including three attacks last weekend.
All of that comes in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin which left six people and the gunman dead.
Offering their help to the needy in their neighborhoods, the efforts were urged to show a true reflection of local Muslim values.
A few idiots do evil and get a lot of the focus, Khaled said.
But good always conquers evil and it's good to shine a light on that. We don't feel we have to apologize for anyone.
We have not been too (vocal) in the past because Muslims are humble. But the youth want to get the news out, she added.
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country.
A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.
But a recent survey by the Canadian Studies (ACS) found that the Muslim minority in Canada is still facing negative perceptions a decade after the 9/11.
Another poll in March 2012 by the Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation showed that nearly 52 percent of Canadians said they feel Muslims can be trusted little or not trusted at all.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net