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Diversity and having a better understanding of the different beliefs that surround us was the focus of Western School Division's (WSD) Diversity Day Wednesday.

The division had brought in guest speaker, Shahina Siddiqui, who is the President of the Islamic Social Services Association based in Winnipeg. Siddiqui felt the entire day was a success, with lots of people asking questions regarding the Muslim faith to help clarify some misconceptions.

Board Chair Brian Fransen said as communities are becoming more diverse, it's important to have a good understanding of different beliefs that are in the world.  

"There are a lot of people in the area that are familiar with some religion, but not all religion," said Fransen.  "There is a lot of important things going on in the world, and to have a good understanding of religion in the world is important."

The day was filled with workshops and seminars for divisional staff during the day and a public discussion with Siddiqui was held in the evening.

"There is so much misinformation about Islam and Muslims. There is so much Islamophobia out there which is spreading lies and is manufacturing stuff about Islam and Muslims," said Siddiqui.

She said with all of these things circulating, many people aren't sure where they can go to verify which information is correct. She added education is important to counter anti-Muslim rhetoric.

According to Siddiqui, there are three common misconceptions she hears. The first is the oppression of the of Muslim women, secondly that Islam and violence are synonymous, and that Muslims do not have relationships with other faiths.

Siddiqui said her faith tells her to get to know one another and make your life interesting.

"Imagine a room full of Jews, Christians, and Muslims praying together for world peace. That's powerful," said Siddiqui.

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