Thousands of Muslims from across North America and beyond are expected in Toronto this weekend to attend the Annual “Reviving the Islamic Spirit” Convention (RIS).
The convention, one of the largest gatherings of Western Muslims, will be marking its 16th Anniversary this year.
Themed ‘Finding Stability in a World Out of Balance,’ the convention is set to run from Friday, at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Convention attendees will come to listen to leading Islamic scholars, academics, and motivational speakers, meet and mingle with fellow Muslims, and discuss matters of faith and contemporary issues.
“It will be a timely discussion on many challenges faced by us collectively and, in-shaa-Allah, find answers to,” said RIS in a release.
“It will be a hopeful and positive response, one that will uplift our soul, inspire our heart and revive our spirit.”
RIS is “more than just a convention, it’s a place where a thriving community comes together with an open arms invitation to people from all faiths and walks of life to come and celebrate humanity and share a message of mercy.”
The “Reviving the Islamic Spirit” convention was first launched sixteen years ago by Muslim youth to tackle the backlash on Islam and Muslims after 9/11, and to build a bridge of understanding with non-Muslims.
The event has become a staple in Toronto’s downtown core events during the Christmas holiday season and an estimated 20,000 attendees are expected from all over North America and around the world, adding a boost to the local economy.
“Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention is an attempt by the youth to help overcome new challenges of communication and integration,” said the organizers.
“The convention aims to promote stronger ties within the North American society through reviving the Islamic tradition of education, tolerance and introspection, and across cultural lines through points of commonality and respect.”
“To help attain these ideals, the convention will feature a wide range of voices from various parts of the world.”
This year’s presenters include an impressive list of world-renowned scholars and speakers such as Maulana Tariq Jameel, Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad, Dr. Umar F. Abd Allah, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Dr. Yasir Qadhi, Imam Zaid Shakir, Ustad Ubaydullah Evans, Shaykh Sulaiman Mulla, Dr. Hatem Bazian, Imam Mohamed Magid, Imam Khalid Latif, Dr. Abdal Hakim Jackson, Usatdha Ieasha Prime, Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed, Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda, Imam Yasir Fahmy, Wajahat Ali, Sr. Salma Yaqoob, Mehdi Hasan, Shaykh Muhammad Ninowy, Dr. Aisha Al-Adawiya, Maryum Ali, Dr. Mona Hassan, Mahmud Abdul-Rauf, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Qari El-Zain Mohammed Ahmed, Ustadh Yahya Rhodus, Imam Sulaiman Hamed, and Dr. Ali Ataei.
“The convention showcases Islamic leadership from across the globe sharing a common platform before the widest cross-section of our community,” stated RIS.
“This program hopes to empower the youth across North America and inspire a true revival.”
The Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, and the two provincial opposition leaders, NDP leader Andrea Howarth and PC leader Patrick Brown will also be addressing the convention.
A bustling grand bazaar will be a major feature during the three-day event showcasing products, as well as charities and services from around North America and the Muslim world.
The convention will also host an Appreciation Dinner on Friday, December 22nd to honor the visiting scholars and speakers. Dignitaries, community leaders, and political and civic leaders are expected to attend the elegant dinner event.
A parallel children’s program runs every day of the event and a food and coat drive to assist the needy in the Greater Toronto Area will be held.
Canada is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations with a population of 35 million.
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.