Toronto Mayor Volunteers in Project Ramadan

CAIRO – Mayor of Toronto John Tory volunteered during the weekend at the Muslim Welfare Center in Scarborough as part of Project Ramadan, packaging food items to the needy.

“This is a great example of how you are building bridges,” Tory told Toronto Sun.

“You are reaching your hand out as the Muslim faith … to say to the rest of the community, ‘We are people who care about other citizens,’” he added.

Preparing for Ramadan, volunteers gathered on Saturday, May 21, at the Muslim Welfare Centre in Scarborough.

As part of Project Ramadan, 1000 bags were being put together on Saturday, using donated food to the centre, as well as various other charitable agencies.

Organizer Talha Ahmed said each basket contains rice, flour, lentils, chick peas, halal meat, dates, tuna, and pasta.

Money used to fill the bags, each of which cost around $50 to fill, was raised through donations.

Initiatives such as Project Ramadan counter the negative views of those who “misunderstand” the Muslim faith and culture, the mayor went on to say.

“I know there are many people who still misunderstand the Islamic faith and … this community,” the mayor said.

“This is helping allow people to get to know the faith, to get to know the people, and to get to know some of the things you are doing for fellow citizens here in Toronto.”

Tory was joined by Progressive Conservative MPP Patrick Brown and city councilor Raymond Cho.

The food will be given to the Muslim Welfare Centre, as well as other organizations, such as the Salvation Army.

Bags will also go to the Muslim Welfare Centre’s Arctic Food Bank project.

Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, kicks-off on June 6.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.

It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur’an.

Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.