ONTARIO – The leader of Ontario chapter of the National Democratic Party hosted the inaugural Islamic Heritage Month reception at Queen’s Park last Thursday, marking the bill dedicating October as the Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario.
“We had a wonderful evening last night,” said Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Iqra.ca reported on Saturday, October 22.
“It was lovely to come together with artists, religious leaders, and many community members to celebrate Islamic heritage month for the first time at Queen’s Park.”
NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong introduced Bill 23 which was passed to establish Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario during the month of October.
The Province is now in line with the Federal government and many local school boards which have already taken this step.
“Due to the leadership of Andrea Horwath, Teresa Armstrong and the NDP, Islamic Heritage Month has been proclaimed in Ontario,” said Sandra Noe, Chair of the Federation of Muslim Women.
“Ontarians now have the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions of the Muslim community for the benefit of all Canadians. It’s about appreciating and understanding one another, and strengthening those relationships for a more vibrant, robust province and a stronger, more cohesive nation,” she added.
A nationwide decision was taken earlier in October encouraging Canadians to partake in activities across the country to build greater understanding of Muslims.
Islamic History Month Canada (IHMC) aims to celebrate, inform, educate, and share with Canadians the rich Muslim heritage and contributions to society – in sciences, humanities, medicine, astronomy, and other disciplines that have greatly benefited human progress.
Bridge-building with understanding is one of the goals of IHMC.
This year’s theme for IHMC is ‘Muslim Contributions – Enriching Canada’ and the organizers believe that through education and sharing positive stories, all Canadians can grow and connect in the best way possible.
Previous IHMC themes have included Islamic Art and Architecture; Islamic Banking and Finance; Irrigation and Water systems; Medicine and Pharmacology; and Islam and the Environment.
The month provides a time to focus on celebrating and educating the Muslim and non-Muslim community on the rich history, heritage and culture of Canadian Muslims and Muslims around the world.
“I would like to congratulate Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP for initiating the call to declare October Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario,” remarked Imam Yasin Dwyer.
“Canadian Muslims represent a mosaic of identities that enrich Canada. With this declaration the citizens of Ontario now have a formal platform to build bridges of understanding and community with their Canadian Muslim neighbors.”
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.
Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.
Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.