OTTAWA - Muslims will come together in Canada's capital city of Ottawa on Saturday, March 16, to address problems facing Muslim youth and enhance their identity and spirituality.
This conference is unique in the sense that 17 different Muslim organizations are coming together for the first time in the history of Ottawa-Gatineau to address the issues of the Muslim community, Lubna Javed, Secretary of the I.LEAD Conference, told OnIslam.
These organizations include 10 different Mosques and 7 different youth organizations.
The I.LEAD conference will be held at the Ernst & Young Center, close to Ottawa's airport.
This year's conference, which stands for Islam Learn Engage Achieve Develop, is themed YES! - Youth Engagement & Support.'
The objectives of the conference are to engage, empower and support the Muslim youth with respect to their Muslim identity and spirituality, Javed said.
We hope to learn the reasons why some youth are not Islamically engaged and to develop concrete strategies to deal with this.
The event will bring together a number of prominent Muslim scholars and personalities from across North America.
Leading among attendees are scholar Dr. Jamal Badawi, Imam Yassir Fazaga, Sheikh Navaid Aziz, Imam Tahir Anwar, Dr. Rida Beshir, Rukhsana Khan, Dr. Yacoub Mahi and Sheikh Riad Saloojee
Also appearing are popular performers Boonaa Mohammed and Waseem Moe'Money.
The conference will feature lectures and workshops in both English and French and will include halal ethnic food vendors, bazaar booths and an entertainment session.
By the end of the conference, we are hoping to use the knowledge gained to allow our community leaders to work directly with our youth to co-develop an action plan for better youth engagement and to follow up with a monitoring system to measure the success of this plan, added Javed.
The idea for the conference was inspired by Muslim scholar Jamal Badawi.
The idea of having an Ottawa-Gatineau wide Islamic Conference originated while working on the Question and Answer book of Dr. Jamal Badawi entitled Islam: Journey Into Its Depth', said Mohammed Javed, in a welcoming message on the conference website.
It was decided to bring him to Ottawa for a day under the pretext of a conference, along with other scholars, and launch the book as well, which provides enlightening answers to various Islamic questions.
Canada's Capital Region includes the capital city of Ottawa, Ontario and the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec, and surrounding urban and rural communities.
The Muslim population in the Capital Region is estimated to be 80,000 and includes a growing number of mosques and Islamic Centers.
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.
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.