Carli Berry/Capital News Ask Islam members Naveed Ahmed, Bilal Bajwa, and Salman Khan made a stop in Kelowna, Thursday, May 16 in front of city hall to spread awareness about muslims.

Campaign spreads awareness for Muslims

Ask Islam members cycled into Kelowna Thursday to answer questions about Islam

Three dedicated Muslims are making a trek through B.C. to spread awareness and education about Islam.

Starting from Delta, B.C. and ending in Salmon Arm, the Muslims are riding bikes as part of the Ask Islam campaign.

The campaign is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association’s nationwide movement to celebrate Canada’s 150th by allowing Canadians to learn about Islam from fellow Muslims. The campaign members are also holding open houses at various locations.

“We’re actually riding our bikes through town and meeting people in the streets,” said Ask Islam spokesperson Salman Khan.

The team wanted to see Canada’s backyard along with allowing Canadians to meet and create a dialogue with Muslims.

The members have suffered a hail storm, snowstorm and rode through the Rocky Mountains as they cycled from Delta starting May 13.

“Unlike driving, when you cycle you get to experience all of the seasons, so as we were biking from Delta to here, we experienced a snowstorm, a hailstorm, some lightning, some thunder, some sunshine, so we got to see it all besides seeing it in the comforts of your car,” said team member Bilal Bajwa.

Cycling into Princeton, Khan said his fingers and toes were frozen and he hoped there was a hospital nearby just in case.

They made a stop in Kelowna, Thursday, May 18 in front of city hall on the sixth day of their seven-day journey. Their last stop is in Salmon Arm, Friday, May 19.

In larger cities, people tend to ask more questions which is the aim of the campaign and they found Peachland residents to be friendly and welcoming and they made their way to Kelowna.

Khan said although he hasn’t personally dealt with any Islamaphobia during his 17 years in Canada, he has had heated debates.

“I’ve come across people who were really against Islam and after an hour of conversation that starts off with a very heated conversation it comes down to such a calm environment where the person has shaken my hand and said ‘I’m glad I met you.’ So they go out with a different perception,” he said.

The aim of the campaign is to deter the misunderstood views of Muslims in the media especially with the recent controversy involving Islam in the United States.

“That’s why we’re doing this campaign, we’re getting people to come down to the source,” said Khan.

Bajwa and Khan said they are considering taking their cycling campaign across Canada.

“If you can do the Rockies you can conquer anything,” said Bajwa.

To find out more information about the Ask Islam campaign visit www.islamunderstood.com.

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