MONTREAL -- For Rameez Karim, dancing is a meditative experience.

An Ismaili Muslim, born in East Africa but raised in Montreal, Karim says dancing keeps him connected to his faith.

“I believe that art and dance is a form of knowledge and Islam places so much importance on harnessing different kinds of information,” he said.

While growing up, it was sometimes difficult for Karim to feel connected to his heritage. But movement and rhythm has been a path to enlightenment.

“Movement is something that is so innate in us. We move before we can speak,” he said. “It's a form of information that allows us to connect to our spiritual side and explain profound experiences that we seek to touch on on our journey to enlightenment.”

A dancer his whole life, he now teaches others, helping them to connect their bodies and minds.

“I think when we're in tune with our bodies, we're able to access channels of information, have experiences, that (we couldn't) with just accessing our mind. I think our body is also an amazing source of information, a pallet rich with different experiences and vocabularies.”

As next week marks the third annual Muslim Awareness Week, Karim hopes Montrealers will learn to appreciate all the different forms of Islamic art.

Event spokesperson Samaa Elibyari said there are many events programmed for this year's edition.

“There are a lot of stereotypes around the Muslim community. 'Who are Muslims? What are they doing? Why should we fear them?' The purpose of the week is to present Muslims as we are, the way we live,” she said.