TORONTO – The largest halal food festival in North America returned to Canada last weekend, taking Mississauga Muslim visitors back in time to see their achievements and contributions in the Canadian society.
“The Muslim population continues to grow in Canada, and because of it, the halal food industry is also growing,” Salima Jivraj, founder of Halal Food Fest, told Mississauga News on Sunday, July 16.
“The demand for halal food is there, but there’s still room for more education around what halal is and what makes certain foods halal.”
Over the course of two days, more than 35,000 people visited the fifth annual Halal Food Festival Toronto 2017 that took place on Saturday and Sunday, July 15-16, at the International Center in Mississauga.
The guests enjoyed unique offerings at over 200 food booths from the Greater Toronto Area’s best halal restaurants, bakeries, specialty stores and manufacturers.
Presented by iHistory.co, an online blog to help Muslims understand and learn about their history, this year’s new attraction was a unique booth titled The History of Muslims in Canada.
The exhibit showcased the Muslims’ history since 1800s.
“This isn’t just the story of the community’s growth. It also features many incredible contributions of Muslims to Canadian culture and society,” said Hassam Munir, founder of iHistory.co.
“I feel it (the exhibit) can play a role in dispelling some of the myths about Canadian Muslims that make up Islamophobic narratives. At the same time, it can also inspire Canadian Muslims to continue making such contributions.”
Munir said 100 years ago, the majority of Canadians had never even heard of halal food, but now there is an entire festival dedicated to celebrating the halal food industry.
“It needs a lot of dedication and efforts to preserve what we enjoy today and leave a legacy for future generations of Canadian Muslims.
“I hope to inspire anyone who visits this booth to start putting their day-to-day decisions and actions into a perspective,” said Munir.
A survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.
Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.
A report from the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said that Muslims are expected to make up 6.6% of Canada’s total population in 2030.