Approximately 17,000 Muslims came to Metro Toronto’s Convention Centre over three days to learn about their religion and being a Muslim in a modern world. They heard from Islamic scholars, prayed, visited with family and friends and shopped in a bazaar that offered up a variety of wares, including hand-embroidered shawls, books, T-shirts, hijabs for both women and children, jewellery and hijab pins. It will feature Yusuf Islam, the name Mr. Stevens – one of the best-known folk singers from the 1970s – now goes by.
It was all part of a three-day convention “Reviving the Islamic Spirit,” an annual conference with its roots in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack. It is designed, organizers say, as a way to help young Muslims understand their faith in a North American context.
At the bazaar, about 150 stalls were open. A prayer area was sectioned off behind the stalls. The message conference organizers wanted participants to take home was that they must find a way to practise their religion in a broader, secular, democratic society.