EDMONTON – A two-day youth empowerment conference in Edmonton, the capital of Canada’s western Alberta province, was hosted by a leading Canadian Muslim association over the past two days, in a bid to help young Muslim acquire success tools in the face of growing incitements.
“It targets a demographic that’s very easily influenceable,” Faraz Ahmed, a spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), told Global News.
“This age demographic is battling with issues of self-confidence, self-esteem, bullying and they don’t really have a lot of resources- and they need to be empowered,” Ahmed said.
Titled “Knowledge Empowers Youth Spirits convention,” the two day event kicked off last Saturday, February 13.
The event, hosted by MAC, offered a series of lectures on a range of topics from self-confidence and peer pressure to bullying.
Its organizers opted out from inviting parents to offer a more free and open atmosphere for participants, whose age ranged from 9-14.
“What you’re seeing right now is because the kids are feeling safe, they’re in an environment where they’re not being judged, they can open up – they can have fun and they can really speak about how they feel,” Ahmed added.
Moreover, Saturday’s event welcomed students of all faiths and ethnic groups along with Muslim students.
“We believe in a strong Canadian community and that is what our goal is,” Ahmed said.
“To bring the people here, bring in the youth here and educate them so when they go out they can be productive in their society.”
Muslims represent 3.2% of Canada’s total population.
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 – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.