CAIRO – In an attempt to bridge cultural gaps and promote a better understanding about their faith, Muslim students in the Canadian city of Regina are touring public schools to talk about Islam and the Islamic culture.
"My parents are actually pretty happy about it," Muslim student Abdul Rehman told CBC News on Tuesday, March 5.
"They're really encouraging me to do it because it helps people to understand Muslim people in general."
Muslim students from Regina Huda School are visiting public schools in the city to raise awareness about their faith.
They answer questions by public school students about Islam and Muslim traditions as wearing hijab.
Other questions include why Muslims don’t eat pork and why Muslims don’t date.
"I've been in public schools where a guy asks Muslim girls to go out and the girl will say no,” student Saria Jabbar said.
“The guys ... don't understand it's a cultural thing.”
Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan province, has a community of between 3,000 to 5,000 Muslims.
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country.
A recent report from the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said that Muslims are expected to make up 6.6% of Canada’s total population in 2030.
Teachers have also hailed the Muslim effort for helping them have a better understanding of Islam.
"Teachers definitely have questions as well,” said teacher Barb Hilts-Most, who works with immigrant and refugee kids at Arcola School, an elementary school in Regina's public system.
“We all want to meet our students' needs and we all want to know as much about our students as we can.”
Canadian Muslims have launched several initiatives to dispel myths about their religion.
In September, Canadian Muslims organized a festival, Muslimfest, to connect with the broader community through the language of art, humor, and meaningful entertainment.
Muslims have also championed campaigns to fight domestic violence and promote women’s rights.
Last month, Canadian Senator Salma Ataullahjan praised the Muslim community as part and parcel of Canadian society, hailing Muslim contributions to serve their country.
“Initiatives such as these demonstrate that the Muslim community is a vital part of the fabric of Canada and should be recognized as such,” she told a fund-raising dinner at the Sayeda Khadija Center this week.
“Your efforts contribute to building our community and this great nation.”A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.
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