Stop the CrISIS campaign comes to Saskatoon

The struggle to stop Islamist radicalization starts at home, according to organizers of a campaign called Stop The CrISIS.

Amadiyya Muslims work to dispel myths that lead to prejudice, radicalization

Noman Hassan brings the message of Saskatoon's Amadiyya Muslim community to the University of Saskatchewan. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

The struggle to stop Islamist radicalization starts at home, according to organizers of a campaign called Stop The CrISIS.

"Make sure you give enough time to your children so that you're able to know what they're doing," said Noman Hassan.

Hassan speaks for the Amadiyya Muslim Jama'at (congregation) in Saskatoon, and one of the organizers of the campaign that kicks off locally today.

It's part of a nation-wide campaign that began in November, in response to the group ISIS and radicalization of youth in Canada and around the world.

Dispelling misconceptions

Hassan spent the noon hour handing out leaflets at the University of Saskatchewan publicizing a video screening and discussion set for next Wednesday on campus.

Rashid Ahmed, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students' Association at the University of Saskatchewan, publicizes next Wednesday's Stop the CrISIS campaign event. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)
"We wanted to bring everyone on the same table and talk about what's causing youth radicalization," Hassan explained.

He says prevention lies in creating close-knit, multi-generational communities where discussion can happen, and misconceptions about Muslim beliefs can be dispelled.

"Most of our people within our community are immigrants," Hassan said. "They're too busy settling up to that they can settle down in Canada. But the problem they run into is that they don't know what their children are doing."

At the same time, Hassan must deal with prejudice in the wider community, and dispel the underlying beliefs that gives rise to that also.

"They're linking the religion or our faith with any sort of radicalization or terrorist attack that are out there in the world," Hassan said.

He emphasizes the peaceful teachings of Islam.

It is this belonging which is lacking in them that they seek outside- Imam Zahid Abid

"In the Qur'an it says that if you kill one person it's as if you killed the whole humanity. So how does it even make sense to kill people in the name of Islam? It doesn't."

The imam (or prayer leader) of Saskatoon's Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Zahid Abid, praises the campaign.

He says children who don't feel they belong are at risk of radicalization.

"It is this belonging which is lacking in them that they seek outside," Abid said.

The Stop the CrISIS event takes place on Wednesday, January 21 in the Health Sciences Building, E Wing, Room 1150. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the program taking place from 6:30 - 8 p.m. CST.