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The Antidote to Fear is Relationship
February 11, 2017 @ 7:35 AM by: Richard Steinecke

A few years ago, when I first saw the Dawah Centre mosque a block from my church, I was not happy. The display window was overtly attempting to recruit believers. In a sense, it was directly competing with our church. Also, without any evidence to support it, I was concerned that the Centre would encourage a lack of integration into Canadian society and support values that I do not agree with (e.g., hostility to Christians, attitude towards women). However, just over a year ago I felt compelled to attend the mosque at an inter-faith rally to condemn violence towards Muslims in Canada following the Paris attacks. During the past year I met two of the leaders of the mosque (Shabir and Ilyas) at community events and we chatted vaguely about Oasis and the Dawah Centre working together. After the Quebec City attacks I was pleased to reach out to Shabir and Ilyas to offer my condolences, encouragement and support. To my surprise, they invited me to say a few words at a community vigil two days after the attack. I was honoured to participate. The irony of speaking at the very mosque I was suspicious of just a few years earlier was not lost on me. The antidote to fear is relationship.

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