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The three days annual convention of RIS – Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference has once again concluded with great success at the Metro Toronto Convention center from Dec. 20th to 23rd 2019.
There were more than 10,000 attendees mostly youth who came to join in the convention. What was first started in 2001 as a youth initiative to inspire Muslim hearts and minds has since evolved into one of North America’s largest Islamic conferences.
Having attended since the inception of this conference, I can testify that the organizers have truly dedicated their time and efforts to make each year better than the last. With fresh new themes and innovative cutting edge ideas, each year, the program continues to be interesting, engaging and energizing for all, especially for the young members of our community.
This year’s event was truly “a program for everyone” where attendees from all age groups were sure to find inspiration from the many unique sessions tailored towards their interests. The youth program for example had dynamic panel discussions as well as workshops on writing, mural creations and photography. Another area of the conference, the 360-degree stage was essentially an interactive stage specifically dedicated to showcase the artistic talents of Muslim youth. Even the bazaar area was buzzing with activity with budding Muslim entrepreneurs showcasing innovative ideas, and unique lifestyle products.
While in the main conference hall, luminary speakers such as, Maulana Tariq Jameel, Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Dr. Yasir Qadhi, Imam Omar Suleiman, Dr. Dalia Fahmy, Ustadha Ieasha Prime, and Sister Aisha Gray Henry. presented speeches on wide range of topics on teachings of Islam and their relevance for us in this modern era.
Engaging panel discussions were held on various current issues, including how to deal with Islamophobia and live as a Muslim in this challenging world. Amongst the highlights was a fascinating panel discussion in which a former Alt-Right political leader from the Netherlands, Joram Van Klaveren a revert to Islam (who said he made the switch from critic to convert while writing a book about Islam. “During that writing I came across more and more things that made my view on Islam falter,”), discussed his insider perspective into the mechanics of cultivating Islamophobia in mainstream society and shared his thoughts on how to fight the hate with love, kindness and open communication.
All in all, 2019 marked another successful year of the convention leaving attendees much to reflect on.
For those yearning for deeper learning and exploration, as always, RIS is facilitating a Knowledge Retreat which runs from Dec 23rd to 28th, 2019.
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