For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym ‘RIS’, it stands for ‘Reviving the Islamic Spirit’. RIS is an annual Islamic conference hosted in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre during the winter holidays. The very first conference was held 13 years ago in California and had roughly 3,500 attendees. Now, RIS is one of the largest and most popular Islamic conferences in North America, drawing tens of thousands of people.
This year’s RIS echoed last year’s outcome and was a phenomenal success. Powerful guest speakers such as Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir attend almost every year and deliver moving lectures on key issues within society and the Muslim Umma. Another favorite speaker, Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University, stressed that the Muslim Umma develop wisdom and courage in order to fight issues that we face. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Professor Tariq Ramadan for a brief interview. Many people also look forward to the variety of entertainers that appear towards the end of the convention. This year famous comedian, Maz Jorani, brought a fantastic close to the convention weekend.
The RIS bazaar is also a huge attraction for many business owners and organizations who wish to reserve a table and also for eager shoppers. The hundreds of boutiques feature everything from Islamic art, imported silks and perfumes, to books. The bazaar also hosts many halal restaurant businesses serving a wide variety of cuisine.
Personally, I thought RIS was a wonderful experience and anyone that has not attended yet should. RIS provided exactly what the name implies, a revival of my Islamic spirit. Every year that I attend, the knowledge that I receive is priceless and will stay with me indefinitely.
Event Coverage and Piece by Mustafa Hussain