Muslims will gather in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa this coming weekend for the region’s first I.LEAD Conference to discuss issues affecting the region’s Muslim youth.
“This conference is unique in the sense that 17 different Muslim organizations are coming together for the first time in the history of Ottawa-Gatineau to address the issues of the Muslim community,” Lubna Javed, Secretary of the I.LEAD Conference, told IQRA. “These organizations include 10 different Mosques and 7 different youth organizations.”
The conference will take place on Saturday, March 16 and will be held at the Ernst & Young Centre, close to Ottawa’s airport.
The conference is called I.LEAD which stands for Islam Learn Engage Achieve Develop and its theme 2013 is ‘YES! – Youth Engagement & Support.’
“The objectives of the conference are to engage, empower and support the Muslim youth with respect to their Muslim identity and spirituality,” Lubna Javed told IQRA. “We hope to learn the reasons why some youth are not Islamically engaged and to develop concrete strategies to deal with this.”
“By the end of the conference, we are hoping to use the knowledge gained to allow our community leaders to work directly with our youth to co-develop an action plan for better youth engagement and to follow up with a monitoring system to measure the success of this plan,” added Javed.
The event will bring together a number of prominent Muslim scholars and personalities from across North America including Dr. Jamal Badawi, Imam Yassir Fazaga, Shaykh Navaid Aziz, Imam Tahir Anwar, Dr. Rida Beshir, Rukhsana Khan, Dr. Yacoub Mahi and Shaykh Riad Saloojee
Also appearing are popular performers Boonaa Mohammed and Waseem Moe’Money.
The conference will feature lectures and workshops in both English and French and will include halal ethnic food vendors, bazaar booths and an entertainment session.
“The idea of having an Ottawa-Gatineau wide Islamic Conference originated while working on the Question and Answer book of Dr. Jamal Badawi entitled ‘Islam: Journey Into Its Depth’,” said Mohammed Javed, in a welcoming message on the conference website. “It was decided to bring him to Ottawa for a day under the pretext of a conference, along with other scholars, and launch the book as well, which provides enlightening answers to various Islamic questions.”
Canada’s Capital Region includes the capital city of Ottawa, Ontario and the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec, and surrounding urban and rural communities. The Muslim population in the Capital Region is estimated to be 80,000 and includes a growing number of mosques and Islamic Centres.