World Bulletin / News Desk
The Choudhry family has an unconventional strategy for fighting Muslim youth radicalization — inviting strangers into their Woodbridge home.
On Sunday, the family invited 14 non-Muslim Canadians to join them for a casual late lunch. The gathering was part of a two-week campaign called “Meet a Muslim Family,” in which Muslim families throughout Canada invited community members into their home for the purpose of uniting Canadian families and dispelling misconceptions about Muslims and Islam.
In article in The Star, Choudhry, 26,explained how he and his two friends came up with the campaign after witnessing a wave of negative attention on, or negative treatment of, Muslims in the media.
Choudhry said he hoped that this woud draw attention to similarities between non-Muslims and Muslims — he mentioned his family’s interest in skiing and snowboarding and love for Tim Hortons coffee.
“For us, it was to show Canadians that there are more similarities that unite us than differences that may divide us,” he said.
Vaughan Councilllor Marilyn Iafrate, who came with her daughter and husband, recalled the prejudices she experienced growing up in North York as the daughter of Italian immigrants. She said she wanted to expose her own family to different cultures to fight similar prejudices.
“Whatever in your mind you think sets people apart … the differences fall away because they’re just in your mind,” Iafrate said.
To sign up for the campaign — run through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Islamic organization — families request a meet-up with a local Muslim family through the Meet a Muslim Family website.
So far, hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim families have signed up across Canada, said Choudhry.