Saturday, October 27, 2012


 If you were in downtown Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, there’s a good chance you saw a fair number of red and white roses going around.

Inspired by campaigns in Norway and the United Kingdom, a group of Muslims in Ottawa hit the streets to give out roses in honour of the Prophet Muhammad.

And roses they did give.

It took them about an hour and a half to hand out exactly 1000 of them.

“A lot of people have a wrong image of Islam,” said Mushkat Salloum, a fourth-year student at Carleton University majoring in social work.

“Our main aim is to give out roses to show love and purity to the general public of Ottawa, and to spread the true message of our Prophet and Islam.”

Each rose had a piece of paper with a saying from Muhammad on various aspects ranging from his views on neighbours, to the importance of compassion.

"Even a smile is charity," read one.

Another read; "Pride enters the heart like an ant crawling onto a black rock at night."

University of Ottawa student Mountather Haddad was one of the organizers of the event. He said that giving out roses, rather than flyers or pamphlets, had its own personal touch.

“A rose has a lot of affection, it’s like love - so when you give somebody a rose it means a lot to them,” Haddad said.

He said that a lack of knowledge was to blame for the misconceptions that many people have about Muslims, and that engaging the community more was the way forward.

“In our centres, universities and colleges we need to have more events telling people that these are misconceptions and these are incorrect, and that this is the right thing to do,” said Haddad.

"We should try to engage the Canadian community and the non-Muslim community more." 
Muhammad was born in the year 632 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He is credited for founding the religion of Islam and uniting Arabia under its banner.

In 1978, Muhammad featured as the number one most influential person in Michael H. Hart's book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History.

The book is Hart's take on individuals who he thinks have most influenced the course of human history.

Below: Volunteers on why they spent their Saturday afternoon spreading the message of Muhammad to the public (or click here to listen).

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