TORONTO - Thousands of Muslims from across North America will gather in Canada's largest city of Toronto this weekend for the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention.
The conference has always been about uniting and joining hands with scholars, journalists, academics, representatives from other faiths, and artists to promote messages of peace and tolerance, RIS spokeswoman Farhia Ahmed told OnIslam.net.
The event, to run from December 21 through December 23, will be held in the heart of downtown Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, next to the iconic CN Tower.
Themed Divine Light for Living Right: The Light of Prophetic Guidance in the Midst of Modern Darkness, the convention is organized and managed by approximately 400 young Canadian volunteers.
It brings a galaxy of prominent Muslim scholars including Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, Karen Armstrong and Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Islamic studies professor at George Washington University
Also attending are the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa CeriÄ, scholar Habib Ali Al-Jifri, Swiss professor Tariq Ramadan, Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled, Dr. Aisha al-Adawiyya; Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury; Yasmin Mogahed and Edina Lekovic.
Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention was first launched in 2003 by Muslim youth to tackle the backlash on Islam and Muslims after the 9/11 and to build a bridge of understanding with non-Muslims.
Since its launch, the RIS has emerged as a major platform for some of the leading Muslim personalities from around the world to address one of the largest assemblies of Muslims in the western hemisphere.
Last year, over 20,000 people attended the event and for the first time tickets were sold out by the second day of the 3-day program.
Organizers say the RIS convention helps promote a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in North America.
The message at RIS conferences have helped counter extremism by offering a better understanding of the Islamic tradition in the modern context and this in turn has helped second and third generation Muslims make meaningful contributions as citizens while living a life of faith, Ahmed said.
This year's gathering will feature the launching of the latest album Salaam of Muslim singer Sami Yusuf
It will also see the attendance of Sheikh Muhamed Jibreel, a world renowned Qur'an reciter from Egypt and comedians Azhar Usman and Mo Amer.
A bustling grand bazaar will once again be a major feature during the three-day event showcasing products and services from around North America and the Muslim world.
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 report from the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said that Muslims are expected to make up 6.6% of Canada's total population in 2030.
Toronto, the capital of Ontario, the province that one in three Canadians calls home, has the largest concentration of Muslims in Canada.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.