Calgary: Never a tougher time for Muslim youth, local leaders say

Mahdi Qasqas, president of OWN Cultural Brokerage Program, poses in the library of the Islamic Centre of Calgary on Aug. 29, 2014.

Calgary’s young Muslims are facing an unprecedented level of scrutiny, as ongoing debates around terrorism leave them feeling judged and under pressure.

Scores of Muslim youth gathered Wednesday morning for the Calgary Muslim Youth Summit, where they were asked to exchange ideas to “keep all Canadians safe and secure without marginalizing Muslim communities.”

The event featured a closed-door workshop in which federal Public Safety officials discussed how young people can respond if concerned about their peers.

But beforehand, three local Muslims from elementary and high schools spoke about resilience, trust and identity and how each help them navigate misconceptions about their values.

Former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson, who is running as the Progressive Conservative candidate for Calgary-Cross, told the students “it is toxic out there” for young people…