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Calgary Celebrates Muslim Heritage Day

CALGARY – Muslim-Albertans invited all Calgarians to learn about their religion and dispel misconceptions surrounding Islam at the 10th-annual Muslim Heritage Day celebrations.

“It’s been good discussions, and lots of misconceptions have been cleared,” Imrana Mohiuddin, president of the Islamic Circle of North America Calgary (ICNA), told CBC Calgary reported on Saturday, August 26.

“It’s been wonderful. People are so open.”

Gathering at Olympic Plaza on Saturday, hundreds were introduced to Islamic culture, including food, art, performances and even installations teaching the history of the Islamic faith.

Mohiuddin said the most common questions were about women’s rights in Islam and the religious head coverings worn by some Muslim women.

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“We are proud Canadians like each and every one of us, and we are so happy and grateful to be in this beautiful country of ours,” Mohiuddin said.

Calgary Celebrates Muslim Heritage Day - About Islam

Imrana Mohiuddin, president of the Islamic Circle of North America Calgary (ICNA), says Muslim Heritage Day is a chance to dispel misconceptions about Islam. (Mario De Cicco/CBC)

Shadi Sakr, a volunteer at the Muslim school Horizon Academy, said the event is a chance to show the greater community that Muslims are just like the “average Calgarian” who “like poutine” and  “like playing hockey.”

Saturday’s event was also attended Education Minister David Eggen attended as part of the province’s strategy to combat racism in schools and across the province.

“We know that just a few weeks ago we had hate groups organizing here at Olympic plaza,” Eggen said.

“Calgarians are coming together to celebrate Muslim culture, show their allegiance and support.”

The event comes amid an escalation of racial attacks targeting Muslims, which could not affect Mohiuddin’s feeling of safety in Calgary.

“We are a religion of peace. We promote peace. It’s basically about bringing everyone together and living in this world as fellow Canadians, fellow human beings,” Mohiuddin said.

Sakr said the rise in racial tensions is troublesome, but Calgary’s Muslim community is determined to “break down barriers and build bridges.”

“Anything related to Nazis or swastikas…it’s unfortunate but it’s also on the border of hate crimes. So I think I’ll let the law makers that care of that,” Sakr said.

“But as a community, we believe in equality and justice, and I think that’s where we stand.”