Here is a curious article from the Arab News. A Hindu from birth, but “guided” into Islam while working in Saudi Arabia, Canadian resident Mr. Kapoor realizes dawa opportunities following the September 11th terror attacks.
On the cold, winter night of Dec. 31, 2001, two average-looking Muslims, armed with nothing more than the love of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, were braving temperatures of minus 16 degrees Celsius on the streets of Toronto. Amid the ringing bells ushering in the New Year, the two men distributed free English translations of the Holy Qur’an among those celebrating the holiday. Little more than three months after the tragedy of Sept. 11, the gesture in an important North American city was courageous to say the least.
One of those courageous Muslims was Suhail Kapoor. He had been in the country only two years, having emigrated from Saudi Arabia in 1999 where he spent nearly 21 years “” first as an economic researcher for the Arabic business daily, Al-Eqtisadiah, and then as Western Region sales manager of UPS.
Currently on a monthlong visit to Saudi Arabia, Kapoor recalls that night with pride. “Sept. 11 had spawned all kinds of attacks on Islam and Muslims. New Year’s Eve celebrations provided us with the best platform to distribute copies of the Qur’an. There was a hunger among the revelers to know more about the Holy Book; they scrambled for it. In about two hours we ran out of the 800 copies we had brought to distribute, proving that inter-faith dialogue remains the best option.”
While the Arab News article refers to September 11th as a tragedy, Mr. Kapoor bristled in its aftermath with the idea of an opportunity to promulgate Islam. His concern over spurious “counter-attacks” against Muslims betrays his lack of empathy for the three thousand who were ruthlessly murdered. His misinterpetation of the “hunger amongst the revelers to know more about the Holy Book” is an indication of his single-minded fanaticism. Could it possibly be that those who “scrambled” for free copies of the Qur’an wanted to understand the mindset of the perpetrators of this horrible crime?
He continues to be a man with a mission. “Ever since I have been in Canada, I”ve engaged in dawa (propagation) activities. I visit jails, meet prisoners and tell them about the message of Islam. Normally I go to every little place where I see an opportunity to promote Islam. I have to make sure that the light of peace which was shown to me is shown to others as well. I will stop an airhostess, a rickshaw puller, a doctor, an uncle, a neighbor or a policeman. I leave no one out. If somebody who is a non-Muslim is in contact with me, he will get the message of Islam.”
Kapoor says Islam is a good tonic for the ills of society. “In Western society, where the outside forces are so huge, our gullible youth can become easy prey. The Qur’an Academy provides a place for these youngsters to come together and interact and to connect with the community.” His son, Yousef, has enrolled himself in the academy. The eighth-grader soon will become a hafiz (one who has learned the Qur’an by heart).
“We also provide the government-approved academic education at the academy,” Kapoor said. “Otherwise you will produce a stereotypical Muslim who has no clue about the science of the world. In a country that is so far ahead, you have to have both “˜deen” (religion) and “˜duniya” (world).”
Kapoor is looking for resources. He knows people in Saudi Arabia are generous and hopes to move forward with his mission. “Since the academy”s operation is expanding, we are looking to move into bigger premises, and this will need money. We also need donors who can sponsor children at the academy. A scarcity of funds is hampering our activities. We are unable to carry out our commitment in the fullest sense of the word.”
Kapoor also needs free copies of the Holy Qur’an, from 10,000-15,000 copies. Of that number, 10,000 should be in English; the rest can be in French, Tagalog, Chinese or Italian.
Rest assured Mr. Kapoor. The Saudi funds are on the way.