A Muslim group denouncing hate is touring the country with a mobile exhibit to get their message out.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada stopped in Saskatoon Thursday to share the belief of “love for all, hatred for none.”
They were in front of city hall with a mobile exhibition celebrating the opportunities they enjoy as Canadian Muslims.
“This country gives us the liberty to enjoy our religious freedoms,” said Omer Ahmed, a Muslim man travelling with the group. “In Pakistan, I don’t have the freedoms I have in Canada, so I’m very thankful.”
The group’s Saskatoon visit happened the same day terror suspect Aaron Driver planned to detonate a homemade explosive device during a morning or afternoon rush-hour in a major Canadian city.
“People like him hijack the Islam religion for political gain,” Ahmed said. “It’s my job to tell people that’s not who we are.”
Kevin Waugh, the Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, attended the event Thursday. When asked about what Canada can do to combat terrorism, he put the focus on what he called “awareness.”
“Everybody should be aware of their next door neighbour and everybody should be aware of their community,” he said.
“We have a lot of refugees and immigrants who have been brought into Canada in the last couple of years. I’m not saying they’re all bad, but we need to understand where they’re coming from to understand who they’re with.”
The Ahmadiyya group wants to educate people about misconceptions towards Islam, some of which Ahmed blames on portrayals in the media.
“True Islam is the first faith to condemn violence. The media should be asking us if the violence done has anything to do with religion,” he said. “People paint everything with the same brush and there’s 73 different Muslim religions, but it’s unfair.”
Ahmed said during the tour he was asked if he beats his wife.
“Many Canadians don’t even think we have 9-5 jobs, or if we like steak,” he said. “We are normal people, just like yourselves.”
The mobile trailer has been on the road from St John’s, Newfoundland and is headed all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia.
The group’s cross-country tour is expected to last about 40 days.