Muslims gather in Toronto for Annual RIS Convention
(December 25th, 2015) – The Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention (RIS) got underway on Friday in Toronto with thousands of people from North America and beyond streaming into Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the three-day gathering.
“RIS has really become an annual holiday tradition for Muslims. The event is all about family, faith and fraternity; there’s something for everyone here,” said RIS spokesperson Summayah Poonah.
“I love RIS because it inspires and empowers our youth.”
Organizers are expecting over 20,000 attendees to attend the convention that will run over the weekend in the heart of downtown Toronto.
The event attracts a diverse demographic from across North America and beyond with participants coming from over 350 cities worldwide, ranging from as far as Hong Kong and Australia.
RIS has emerged as a major platform for some of the leading Muslim personalities from around the world to address one of the largest assemblies of Muslims in the western hemisphere.
“The theme of this year’s convention is Alliance of Virtue – it highlights the need for forging alliances between people of all traditions and faiths, advocating for compassion, spreading peace and sharing all that is good”, said Fouzan Khan, RIS Founder and Executive Director.
Founded as a youth initiative over fourteen years ago, the convention strives to address issues pertinent to Western Muslims and inculcate a strong identity, which is centered on peaceful practice of faith and making positive contributions to society.
Renowned Muslim scholars and leaders are scheduled to address the crowd at the three-day event. This year’s highlights include: Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, recipient of the Demiurgus Peace Prize; Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, President of the first American Muslim College; leading civil rights activist Linda Sarsour, NYC Chaplain Khalid Latif and Dahlia Mogahed, author and former advisor to President Obama.
The convention will include an Inter-faith dialogue titled: We are all in this together: An Abrahamic Alliance in troubled times with Pastor Bob Roberts and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Other highlights of this year’s program include: Malcolm after Mecca: The Response to the Plague of Racism and Beyond Condemnation: Exploring Practical Ways to Address Violent Extremism.
Canada is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations with a population of 35 million.
While the majority of Canadians are Christians, the country has no official religion and support for religious pluralism and freedom of religion is an important part of the country’s political culture.
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada. Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade to more than 1 million in 2011. Muslims now represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.