News conference held at Baitul Islam Mosque in Maple to combat what Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at described as increase in Islamophobia worldwide
By Brian Capitao Vaughan Citizen
Friday, September 8, 2023
National vice-president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at USA, Maulana Azhar Haneef; national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Canada, Lal Khan Malik; and president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada, Tahir Ahmed, address the latest incidents of Quran burning during a press conference in Vaughan. – Steve Somerville/Metroland
The local Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at gathered in Vaughan to address Quran burnings that have been happening in Sweden and Denmark.
On Friday, Aug. 25, the community held a news conference at the Baitul Islam Mosque in Maple to combat what they deemed as an increase in Islamophobia worldwide.
Protests swelled internationally after an Iraqi national granted refugee status in Sweden named Salwan Momika began publicly desecrating the Quran back in June during the first day of Eid-al Adha, as reported by CNN and Al Jazeera.
“In Sweden and other countries, people have been given completely free rein to say whatever they wish (against Islam) in the name of freedom of expression. Under this pretext, they are cruelly toying with the sentiments of Muslims through vengeful acts that cause deep distress to Muslims. Their actions are cruel and abhorrent, ” said Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the world head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in a press release.
Muslim nations have put forth a motion before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that addressed the burnings. The motion’s approved resolution included calling countries to take steps to prevent and prosecute acts of religious hatred, as reported by Al-Jazeera.
Now tensions are on the rise in Europe, with Sweden raising the terror threat level to high following the Quran burnings.
In Vaughan, Muslim leaders have condemned the burnings while also condemning the acts of violence in counterprotest to the burnings.
“We want to make sure the world understands that we are like those other faith communities that talk about love, peace, harmony and justice and not about hatred, war, violence and aggression,” Imaam Azhar Haneef, U.S. vice-president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, told the Vaughan Citizen.
Haneef reiterated that the perspective of a global community should be more culturally sensitive and call out what he believes to be religious hatred.
“I think now, again, in the modern times, with rapid expansion of communities into different countries and engagement on many platforms, we’re getting past those antiquated, medieval ideas of this ‘us versus them’ and East versus West. But still some of that remnant remain,” said Haneef.
“So we must outroot all of it to create a world where there’s an even playing field and there’s more balance in it so people will not react, overreact when things happen,” he added.