Muslims reach out to Islanders with education
In the wake of perceived threats against a mosque in Charlottetown, P.E.I.'s Islamic community asked Prince Edward Islanders to learn more about their faith Thursday night.
The Muslim Society of P.E.I. invited Jamal Badawi, professor emeritus at Halifax's St. Mary's University, to give a lecture at UPEI introducing Islamic faith. About 100 people attended.
"We hope this to be part of a process of dialogue and outreach to people from different faiths and cultures, so that we can share with them our beliefs," said Zain Esseghaier, a spokesperson for the Muslim Society of P.E.I.
Muslims on the Island celebrated the opening of their first purpose-built mosque this summer, but that opening was marred by several nasty incidents.
Earlier this month, a bottle filled with gasoline was found on the Masjid Dar As-Salam Mosque's doorstep with a sign that read "Defeat Jihad." Before that, a truck was set on fire behind the mosque, and one year ago a pig's head was nailed to a post on the mosque site, which was under construction at the time.
Badawi said Thursday night's talk was about cutting through misconceptions about their faith, and telling Islanders what they really believe.
"Let's try to reach out to one another. Let's try to understand each other with respect and with openness and objectivity," he said.
The community wants to share their beliefs to combat what they call misconceptions about their religion.
"People are afraid of what they don't know," said Esseghaier.
"The more people know about certain things, the more they get to know real Muslims, instead of what they might see in certain media, or what they might hear about, the better we'll all be."
Members of the Muslim Society say the event was so successful, they hope to hold another presentation.