A Muslim community in Edmonton celebrates Canada Day

Celebrate Canada, July 1

“Islam is not compatible with the West”; “Muslims can’t be real Canadians”; “Immigrants do not respect our country or our values. You name it, we heard it.

On July 1, the largely immigrant Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Edmonton put these baseless concerns to rest by reopening their mosque for Canada Day festivities. Guests from all walks of life were welcomed, allowed to visit the interior of the mosque and were treated to a free barbecue.

The ceremony began with a recitation of the Holy Quran and ended with a traditional Islamic silent prayer, and everything else was a great tribute to Canada.

The walls were adorned with Canadian flags and banners, small children sang the national anthem and members of the community gave short speeches about what it means to be Canadian.

During the ceremony, participants were particularly reminded of their Canadian responsibility to reflect on past and present injustices in the country and to do whatever it takes to right those wrongs. The focus of this message was reconciliation with our underserved Indigenous populations.

But it can even be extended to encompass our current wave of Islamophobia in Canada.

The Muslim community opens its hearts to Canada and, in turn, hopes that Canada too can overcome the growing sense of Islamophobia and open its arms to them.

It’s time we accepted the essence of being Canadian, evidenced by the motto of the Ahmadiyya community, “Love for all, hate for none”.

Ali Shahan’s assEdmonton

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