Calgary

Annual Calgary peace walk aims for better understanding of Islam

The 6th annual Unity and Peace Walk to Commemorate the Sacrifice of Imam Hussain held additional meaning for many Muslims in Calgary on Sunday.

'A lot of the stigma and a lot of the hatred that comes ... is because people don’t know what it is'

Unity and Peace Walk to Commemorate the Sacrifice of Imam Hussain

6 years ago
Duration 0:55
The sixth annual Unity and Peace Walk to Commemorate the Sacrifice of Imam Hussain was held Sunday.

The 6th annual Unity and Peace Walk to Commemorate the Sacrifice of Imam Hussain held additional meaning for many Muslims in Calgary on Sunday.

Muslims and non-Muslims alike gathered to commemorate the death of Imam Hussain — the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad — who was killed 1,400 years ago.

"He stood for justice, peace, harmony and against repression," said Riyaz Khawaja, spokesperson for the Hussaini Association of Calgary.

The walk came days after Islamophobic posters were littered across the University of Calgary campus.

Some of the 40 posters discovered Tuesday morning depicted bearded men who appeared to be screaming and made references to sharia law and genital mutilation.

Some posters also said Muslims should "keep their barbaric ways right where they belong," and some linked to Facebook pages that recommend that Islam be banned in Canada.

The incident took place about two weeks after posters targeting the Sikh community were discovered at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Rabbia Rabbani was one of hundreds taking part in the sixth annual Unity and Peace Walk to Commemorate the Sacrifice of Imam Hussain. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Raised in Calgary since the age of eight, Rabbia Rabbani, 19, said she hasn't experienced Islamophobia but the conversation around understanding and acceptance is an important one, especially in the wake of those incidents.

"A lot of the stigma and a lot of the hatred that comes toward anything is because people don't know what [Islam] is," she said.

"If people start to understand what we stand for and what we think and what we believe isn't something to be feared, then there wouldn't be a need for all this hatred that comes toward, not just us, but everyone else as well."

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