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Muslim group hopes to stop homegrown terrorism through national campaign

A local Muslim group is reaching out to thousands of youths across the country in the hopes of stopping homegrown terrorism before it starts.

Leaders in the Muslim community gathered in Vaughan on Wednesday to announce a nationwide campaign called Stop The CrISIS, aimed at stopping any vulnerable youths from becoming radicalized.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), the organization behind the campaign, says the growth of radicalization and extremism over recent months, including several Canadians travelling abroad to join terror groups, and the attacks that killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, encouraged them to take action.

“Through this national campaign we wish to address all the communities within Canada and educated them (on) the real teachings of Islam,” AMYA president Tahir Ahmen said. “There are these terrorist activities going on. There are political initiatives but they have nothing to do with the peaceful teachings of Islam.”

Ahmen said it is the wrong interpretations of religion that cause radicalization and the group hopes it can educate all Canadians.

“We’re trying to educate our community, use their energies positively and also educate the public in general in Canada that we are a peaceful community and we are promoting the love of all men,” he explained.

Ahmen said they also use blood drives and food drives to bring Muslim youths together within the community and channel their energy in positive ways.

Over 36 events have already been scheduled at cities across Canada.

The first event of the nationwide campaign will be held at York University on Thursday. Organizers say over a thousand students have already registered to attend.