CAIRO – Correcting negative perceptions about Canada Muslims and Islam, a Toronto campaign was launched earlier this week to change stereotypes of Muslims through spreading a message of compassion during the holy month of Ramadan.
“We want to show that Islam is not just a religion in a mosque. It’s a way of life,” Dina Kamal, 30, co-founder of the campaign and Mercy group, told The Globe and Mail on Tuesday, July 1.
Launched by Group of Mercy, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Islam awareness campaign aims to defy the misperceptions of Islam that are delivered by media like the defamatory “Innocence of Muslims” film.
“Many Muslims overreacted,” Kamal remembered the angry actions of Muslims across the world after the release of movie in 2012.
“The Prophet’s reaction wouldn’t be that way … People insulted him sometimes and he ignored them totally because he was focused on the big picture.”
For Kamal, who came to Toronto eight years ago from Kuwait, wearing hijab grabbed attention to her everywhere, “like I’m coming from Mars.”
“I felt like if people are already looking at me, what if I act with them in a nice way?”
The co-founder of Group of Mercy, she added that the group's first activity was “to distribute flowers on Mother’s Day, with Qur'an verses attached about the value of family”.
“I thought it might be impossible,” Ms. Kamal says.
“But if you have a goal and you want to reach it, you’re gonna reach it. This is what I believe.”
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.
Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 per cent over the past decade — from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.
The survey of almost three million people showed that Muslims now represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population, up from 2.0 percent recorded in the 2001 Census.
With a total cost of $10,000, the campaign faced questions about allocating the money to public relations efforts rather than charities.
Commenting on these questions, Kamal stated that “organizations do that and she contributes, but Muslims also need to spend money on building a better community where they live”.
“I shouldn’t just be caring about back home and forget about the land I’m staying in,” she said.
Sponsored by Salaheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough along with individual donations, campaign ads can be found at Queen, Spadina, Eglinton and Yorkdale.
It can be also found at Sheppard, Finch, Kennedy and Islington subway stations from the start of Ramadan till its end.
The posters of the campaign focuses on several topics like finances, relationships, community, and health.
Others have quotes about water by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that say: “Do not waste water even if you are standing at the banks of a flowing river.”
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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