N.S. mosque holds panel discussion on terrorism, refugees
Published Sunday, December 6, 2015 6:36PM AST
Leaders of the Nova Scotia Muslim community held an open house at the Ummah Mosque in Halifax Sunday in an attempt to reach out to the wider community.
Imam Abdelker Tayebi says the service was an opportunity to have an open discussion about terrorism.
"Having a forum for Muslims and non-Muslims to communicate freely, engaged in honest and authentic dialogue, and to open up to all issues that are of concern," he said
The gathering began with conversation, food, and displays of calligraphy. There were verses of the Koran in Arabic, some representing the 99 names of God.
Tayebi strongly stated terrorism is the most profound crime in Islam, and there is nothing holy about war.
Rev. Matthew Sponagle says he saw the open house as an opportunity to gain knowledge.
“Just a lot of bad vibes coming from some people about the Muslim community,” said Sponagle, an Anglican priest. “I recognized that I really didn't have many connections to that community and thought that this was an opportunity to come and meet some Muslim neighbours.”
Organizers say there’s an overlying ignorance and hostility towards the Muslim community they’re trying to sweep away.
“I’ve been really lucky, I do know other women who have unfortunately have had some difficulties with that," said organizing staff member Bridget McEwan, who practices Muslim faith.
With the arrival of Syrian refugees to the country on the horizon, police say they’re prepared to connect with refugees.
“We do have Arab-speaking officers who will be able to meet up with these people, and get them to know what we do,” said Chief Jean-Michel Blais of Halifax Regional Police.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.