From July 24 to 26, thousands of Ahmadiyya Muslim youth from across Canada gathered to play cricket, basketball, and sports like human foosball. The events were part of the 28th annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. The camp is designed to teach youth about Islam, dispel misconceptions, and promote a sense of unity and brotherhood. The men played cricket, basketball, and sports like human foosball.
It is a difficult time to be young and a Muslim. There are negative images in the media, and pressures from groups seeking to radicalize youth.
Many Muslim youth feel they are at a crossroad between Islamic values and living in the west, said Tahir Ahmed, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. We at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association are practically showing that Islam and the West can coexist.
The camp included seminars, interactive workshops, educational competitions, poetry contests in English, French and Urdu; sports activities, and prayer, said local spokesperson Hassaan Shahid.
Over 2,300 young men age 15 and older, from as far away as British Columbia, Alberta, and Detroit, Michigan, came to camp out on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat property on 10 Sideroad in Bradford, attending activities on the grounds and in a tented city established for the three-day event.
We realize there’s a couple of thousand people, with all different interests, said national spokesperson Safwan Choudhry, explaining the range of topics and activities, and the focus on sports. Sports bring out the best of us. The perfect example is the Pan Am Games.
Choudry explained that the basketball games, volleyball and other sports are designed not only to show the excellence of your fitness, but to demonstrate the brotherhood that comes from sports.
Rockwall climbing, Human Foosball, team wrestling were balanced by activities that included the Smartest Man competition, public speaking, and a Jeopardy-style quiz that challenged teams from York University and McGill. It’s designed to be well-rounded, Choudhry said.
A press release noted: The camp will promote brotherhood and unity among youth and give them a sense of community the most powerful counter-narrative to terrorist groups and radicalization.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community, founded in 1889, now has tens of millions of members in over 200 countries. Their motto is Love for All, Hatred for None.