New Canadian Media
Sunday, 13 December 2015 18:00

Refugees Reunited At Toronto Airport

by Eddie Ameh in Toronto

For Sammar Mian and Atief Sheikh and their families, waiting for more than four hours at the airport to welcome incoming Syrian refugees was worth every minute.

They are among the first private sponsors to bring Syrian refugees to their homes in Milton, Ontario. Mian and Sheikh are together hosting eleven Syrians in their homes. 

“We have no idea what they've been through, we don’t have any idea where they are coming from and how much they’ve suffered,” Mian says. “So we should try to be as helpful as we can.”

The government has started transporting thousands of Syrian refugees in fulfilment of its campaign promise to bring 25,000 refugees to Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he would bring in 10,000 refugees by the end of the year and an additional 15,000 refugees by the end of the February, although more will likely arrive over the next year.

The long wait at the airport

When the plane bringing the families of Ziad Khabbaz, 48, and his brother Mazen, 46, finally touched down on December 10th, those waiting at the airport thought it would be only moments before they met the new arrivals.

That was not the case as they had to process their permanent residence and other paperwork before leaving the airport. Overall, it took more than four hours for them to leave Terminal 1 of the Pearson International Airport. 

“They’re going to be surprised because it’s a big change for them,” Mian says.

Indeed the Khabbaz family and the other travellers seemed overwhelmed by the massive welcome they received from members of the Ahamadiyya Jama’at and Humanity First, two resettlement groups. 

Arriving to cheers and shouts was not what they anticipated. 

Rakhan Almasri, himself a refugee who arrived less than a week ago, translated for Khabbaz, who said in Arabic, “We are very surprised at the crowd here. We didn’t expect this.”

Welcoming the children

Sheikh says his children are thrilled to be in Canada and can’t wait to start making new friends. “My children are really excited actually and want to know how children from other countries are and spend some time with them,” he says.

Eight-year-old Alisha Anwar, whose mother Mian is one of the hosts, says she can’t wait to meet the Syrian children. “I expect them to have fun and I hope to be friends with them and I expect them to be nice,” she says.

We are very surprised at the crowd here. We didn’t expect this.

When the two families arrived, the Canadian children gave out gifts to their new friends. Despite the language barrier, they started playing and trying to speak to one another, hoping that the other would understand.

A new life in Canada

Ziad and Mazen Khabbaz fled their hometown of Homs three years ago when the war in Syria escalated. They stayed in Egypt for two and half years before finally coming to Canada.

“We will not only bring them here but we will make sure they integrate into the Canadian society with little difficulty as possible,” says Ghlieb Baten, imam of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at at Milton.

The Milton branch of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at raised the funds for these two families to move to Canada. Baten says this is just the beginning. “God willing, this is going to be an ongoing process and we want to bring as many families as we possibly can,” he says.

"We will make sure they integrate into the Canadian society with little difficulty as possible."

Both Mian and Sheikh are members of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in Milton, which has now has kickstarted a campaign dubbed “A Better Future” that aims to bring in more refugees from Syria. Baten says helping the refugees is a biblical obligation.

Almasri and the Khabbazs have been friends their whole lives and grew up together in Homs. However, the civil war separated them three years ago. While Almasri fled to Turkey, Ziad and Mazen went to Egypt. 

The three embraced for a long time when they finally were reunited at the airport. Now, they are all going to stay together  — at least temporarily — in Milton.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Top Stories

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau as well as his ministers of immigration, health and defence, and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor John Tory and the opposition immigration critics greeted a Canadian military plane at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Thursday night that brought 163 privately sponsored Syrian refugees to Canada. Trudeau said: “This is a […]

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Thursday, 26 November 2015 12:01

Nations to Open First Toronto Location

Toronto will soon have its first Nations Fresh Foods store in what was once a Target outlet at the Stockyards retail centre.

Touted as “where East meets West” and catering to all nations, Nations Fresh Foods opened in Vaughan, north of Toronto, in 2012, and has a second store in Hamilton selling multi-ethnic fresh food.

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Published in Arts & Culture

News East West

TORONTO: The Sringeri temple – the only one in Canada which opened with much fanfare in 2009 – ended this season’s Diwali celebrations with a bang on Sunday, with Toronto

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Published in Arts & Culture

by Dalia Hashim in Toronto

When Canadian filmmaker Elisa Paloschi decided to embark on a new film project in India, documenting the life of Karnataka’s first female taxi driver, she had no idea it would be a decade in the making.

“At the beginning of the filming I didn’t think I’d be filming for 10 years […] but Selvi’s story was constantly developing and I had to go back [to India several times],” explains Paloschi.

The result of Paloschi’s work was Driving with Selvi, which follows a young woman’s journey running away from an abusive marriage she was forced into at age 14 and becoming a taxi driver. The inspirational full-length documentary will open up the 19th edition of the Reel Asian Film Festival (RAFF) in Toronto this year.  

Paloschi says the driving force behind her documentary was Selvi herself.

Selvi was only 18 when her and Paloschi first met and since then the two of them have grown to know each other very well.

Paloschi says it was an honour to watch and document Selvi’s healing process. “I got to see her transform from being afraid and timid to taking ownership of her life.”

“I got to see her transform from being afraid and timid to taking ownership of her life.”

Paloschi mentions she is particularly excited to be part of a Toronto festival and have Selvi in attendance for the screening, since 500 Torontonians donated to Paloschi’s online fundraising campaign to make this documentary possible.

Diversity in titles, attendees

Driving with Selvi is one of 72 titles featured in this year’s festival, which received a record number of 1,000 submissions from more than 10 countries.

Since 1997 the festival has aimed to showcase the wide variety of Asian films from East, South and Southeast Asian filmmakers from Canada, the United States, Asia and other parts of the world.

This year includes the most diverse lineup of films to date, coming from regions like Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and the U.S.

Of the 72 titles being shown, 42 per cent are by Canadians and women have directed 50 per cent of the short films.

This year includes the most diverse lineup of films to date.

It’s the festival’s ability to engage and attract diverse audiences that keeps California native Aram Collier coming back every year since 2005 when he first volunteered.

“It’s quite challenging to reach out to diverse crowds around the [Greater Toronto Area], so we are hoping this year by having screenings in Richmond Hill and North York that we will be able to reach wider and more diverse audiences,” said Collier, now the Director of Programming and Education for RAFF, during the festival’s media launch event.

He spoke of how both the festival’s titles and attendees have changed and diversified since he first began his tenure with the organization.

This has particularly been the case since 2013 when RAFF opted to include South Asian titles in the lineup. Previously only included East Asian films so as to not compete with the other South Asian Canadian film festivals.

The move to include films from all across the Asian continent has “brought a lot of diversity to the festival.”

The move to include films from all across the Asian continent has “brought a lot of diversity to the festival” Collier pointed out.

He added that in the future he hopes this diversity will continue to grow and the festival can be an avenue to bring communities from all over Toronto together.

What to expect

The RAFF will run from Nov. 5 to 15 with screenings in downtown Toronto, North York, and Richmond Hill. The festival will include galas, screenings, forums, workshops and parties featuring prominent actors, musicians and filmmakers.

This year will feature four new categories of film.

The Marquee genre will include gala presentations with notable directors, actors and writers who have made their rounds on the international film circuit. The Royal Tailor, a South Korean film about a young designer aiming to catch the queen’s attention with his renditions of traditional clothing, is featured in this section.

The Vista genre is reserved for critically acclaimed contemporary Asian titles such as Mina Walking an Afghani-Canadian title about a 12-year-old girl who is left to care for her family after losing her mother to a Taliban attack.

The Pulse genre will focus on short films from around the world, of which there are several titles participating in this year’s festival.

Finally, the Reel Asian:X genre will focus on exploring what the festival calls the Asian diaspora “beyond the traditional”, with titles such as Retrospective on Randall Okita, a series of short films by Japanese-Canadian artist Randall Okita.

These additional genres hope to bring to the audience a wider variety of titles and encourage differing types of film projects for future submissions.

This year’s edition will also include eight awards totaling over $46,000 in cash and in-kind prizes for films and filmmakers. Awards will be presented for categories such as best feature film, best first feature film, best short Canadian film and best films by GTA- based female artists.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Arts & Culture
Thursday, 22 October 2015 15:50

First Mandarin-Speaking MP Elected in Canada

by Shan Qiao in Toronto 
 
For the first time in Canada’s electoral history a Mandarin-speaking member of Parliament was elected.

Now hailed by the Chinese Mandarin community members as their "true voice”, the Liberal party’s Geng Tan won the Don Valley North riding in Toronto with a solid 51.4 per cent of the vote. He trumped second-place Conservative incumbent Joe Daniel’s 37.8 per cent by more than 6,000 votes.
 
Tan’s win is not only a reflection of the Liberals' landslide victory, but also proof of a momentum generated by the Mandarin community, which has been very supportive of Tan’s campaign. 

Reflecting the community 

Even the defeated incumbent Daniels knows that the Chinese community is divided into three groups – the Mainlanders, Taiwanese and Cantonese – and simply saying, “I represent the Chinese community,” is naive and unconvincing. 

It’s possible to represent one or the other, but not all of them.
 
According to 2011 Statistic Canada reports Don Valley North has more than 12,750 Mandarin speakers, the highest amongst other ethnic languages and outnumbering the Cantonese-speaking population of 9,540 and other Chinese sub-groups that only answered “Chinese” to the question of mother tongue.
 
Beyond this, the riding has a 65 per cent immigrant population and 67 per cent of its constituents are visible minorities. The top occupations are in professional, scientific and technical services, and 67 per cent of residents have a post-secondary education. 

“As an immigrant from Mainland China, it is so hard to set foot [in] Canada’s politics.”

Tan, an immigrant with a high educational background, is very much a reflection of the average face of the riding. 

“As an immigrant from Mainland China, it is so hard to set foot [in] Canada’s politics,” Tan told supporters at his victory party on election night inside a Chinese fine dining restaurant.
 
“I’m a typical first [generation] skilled immigrant with more than a decade of community experience,” he continued. “I understand newcomers’ needs and I have the responsibility to work for newcomers and all ethnic groups.” 

Ties to Chinese community
 
Born in 1963 in Hunan, a mountainous province where father of Communist China, Mao Zedong, was born, Tan came to Canada as a visa student in 1998. 

He completed his postgraduate and PhD in chemical engineering and applied chemistry at the University of Toronto and then worked as a scientist at Ontario Power Generation. 

“I also have [a] responsibility to ask for more benefits for our Chinese community.”

 
Tan’s community involvements are closely tied to the Chinese community and his Hunan clan associations. 

During his study at University of Toronto, he served for two terms as president of the school’s Chinese students and scholars association. 

Tan was also the long-term president of the Hunan Fellow Association of Canada, the vice president of The Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations and a founding member of the Council of (Chinese) Newcomer Organizations.

These groups are regular fixtures at significant events held by the Chinese Canadian community to celebrate things like the lunar New Year, Mid Moon Festival and China’s National Day, as well as any organized rally or denouncement against the Tibetan separation. 

Ties to Michael Chan
 
Michael Chan, the Ontario cabinet minister who was once investigated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Services over fears that he was under the influence of China, is a close political ally and mentor to Tan. 

Since Tan’s Liberal candidacy announcement to him winning the seat, Chan has been a regular face during the newly elected MP’s campaign. 

Even just two days before election day, Chan attended a Chinese media event along with Tan and three other federal Liberal candidates from the Greater Toronto Area to blast the federal Conservative government. 

When asked about why he was actively involved in the federal election, Chan said the federal government had been disrespectful toward Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The Conservatives had made too many funding cuts to Ontario, making it difficult for his government to provide services to residents, he said.

Going beyond his Chinese heritage 

Tan has promised that he will work hard to improve Canada’s relationship with China. 

“I also have [a] responsibility to ask for more benefits for our Chinese community,” he stated during his victory speech.

"[T]he way we vote for our parliamentary representative should go above and beyond ethnicity."


But Sheng Xue, a prominent overseas Chinese Canadian writer for the Chinese democracy movement and an independent political commentator, says Tan must go beyond just serving the Chinese community.
 
“As a native Chinese, I’m happy (for Tan’s winning),” said Sheng. “However, in a democratic country such as Canada, the way we vote for our parliamentary representative should go above and beyond ethnicity because looking for rights and benefits should never be based on a candidate’s skin colour and his or her country of origin.” 

Sheng added that while their native country was still under a totalitarian system, it is important for Tan to respect Canada’s system and maintain Canadian values.
 
“I’m not acquainted with Mr. Tan, however, I urge him to act as a Canadian when he represents Canadians.”

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Politics
Saturday, 17 October 2015 10:37

Visible Minority Candidates Step Up

by Andrew Griffith in Ottawa

Is the increased number of "visible minorities" being reflected in party candidates? Which ridings are these candidates running in? And do these candidates reflect the largest groups in their ridings?

Now that we know the names of all candidates, we can answer these and related questions.

But first, as a basis for comparison, how has women’s representation increased in 2015 candidates? The analysis by Equal Voice shows that overall representation from the 2011 election has slightly increased from 31 to 33 per cent (still far below equality), with the relative ranking of parties below.

To assess visible minority representation I have used candidate names, photos and biographies to identify visible minority candidates. Although not as exact as identifying women candidates (e.g., subjectivity in analyzing photos), it nevertheless provides a reasonably accurate indication of how well Canadian political party candidates represent the population of visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens (15 percent).

Building on an earlier study by Jerome Black showing the diversity in earlier elections, I went through the candidate lists using the criteria above, concentrating on the more diverse ridings. Out of a total of 1,014 candidates for the three major parties, 142 or 13.9 percent were visible minorities. The party-wise comparison chart shows a growth in visible minority candidates for the three major parties plus the Bloc.

For the 2015 election, the Liberal party has the most visible minority candidates, slightly greater at 16 per cent than the number of visible minority voters (those who are citizens). The Conservative party and the NDP have slight under-representation (13 per cent), while the Green party only has about half as many visible minority candidates (eight percent) as voters. The Bloc Québécois only appears to have a two visible minority candidates (under three per cent of Quebec’s 78 seats).

The chart below provides the comparative numbers for each party in the 33 ridings that are more than 50 per cent visible minority, broken down by gender.

Additional characteristics of these 33 ridings, in terms of the candidates, include:

•     Out of the 99 candidates from the three major parties, 68 are visible minorities (over two-thirds). These account for just under half of the 142 visible minority candidates in all ridings.

•     19 candidates are women (19.2 percent)

•     In 15 of these ridings, all major party candidates are visible minorities;

•     Only one riding, Scarborough Guildwood, has no visible minority candidates;

•     The Conservative Party has the most visible minority candidates (25), followed by the Liberal Party (24) and the NDP (19); and,

•     In general, but by no means universally, many candidates come from the larger communities in these ridings, particularly South Asian ridings as the attached table shows.

 
Published in Politics
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 22:01

Why the Chinese Market in Toronto Matters

When Barbara Lawlor joined Baker Real Estate Inc. 23 years ago, there wasn’t much of a condominium market to speak of in Toronto. But there...

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015 14:08

#Elxn42 Sparks Hope for Somali Canadians

by Aziza Hirsi in Toronto

The 2015 federal elections is a milestone for Somali Canadians as it marks a significant increase in their level of political engagement.

Canada’s Somali community began to grow in size after civil war broke out in Somalia in the 1990s. Today, Somali Canadians represent the largest African diaspora community in Canada and one of the largest Somali populations in the western world.

It is estimated that around 140,000 Somalis live in Toronto, followed by 20,000 in Ottawa, and 18,000 in Edmonton. Other Somali communities can be found in Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Windsor.

A watershed moment

In this election all three candidates of Somali heritage – spread equally among the three leading parties – are from Ontario, the province with the largest concentration of Somali Canadians.

Faisal Hassan, running in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke North for the New Democratic Party (NDP), sees this election as a watershed moment for the community.

“It allows the community’s diverse views and perspectives to emerge along with encouraging civic participation and making sure that they get involved and vote.”

“It allows the community’s diverse views and perspectives to emerge along with encouraging civic participation and making sure that they get involved and vote,” says Hassan. “I think it's good democracy.”

But he says there is still more to be done. “All three candidates are male. I think we should also have female candidates to effectively represent our community.”

While his Somali heritage is important to him, Hassan says he is also running to promote economic and social reforms for all Canadians.

“There are many issues that obligate me to get involved. My community in Etobicoke North has been ignored for over 35 years. We have the highest unemployment. And when adults get work, they are working part time.”

“The Somali community is the first Black diaspora community that is not English speaking and who also happen to be Muslim – the majority of them.”

Ahmed Hussen, contesting in the Toronto riding of York South-Weston for the Liberal party, says a concern for similar issues made him jump into the fray.

“I have a desire to improve the community of York South-Weston,” states Hussen. “To make sure folks get the same opportunities I had growing up, that people enjoy a better standard of living.”

Hussen, a lawyer by profession, is associated with the Canadian Somali Congress and an advocate for affordable housing. He says he was attracted to the Liberal party’s platform of investing in communities and not cutting services.

“People need jobs now,” says Hussen. “There’s a higher level of unemployment in York South-Weston [and] it’s slightly higher than the national average. In the case of young people, it’s even higher than the normal average for adults. The Conservatives have really destroyed the economy over the last nine years.”

Employment crisis

The rising costs of living, coupled with limited employment, have had an adverse impact on the Somali community. It experiences significant levels of poverty because of barriers faced in obtaining employment.

“If you look within the community, it is difficult for Somali women to find work as personal support workers or even as hotel cleaners because of the sheer fact of being Muslim and Black,” says Hodan Ahmed, a master’s student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. “The Somali community is the first Black diaspora community that is not English speaking and who also happen to be Muslim – the majority of them.”

“There is a multilayered intersectionality that comes into play … and employment has been and is to this day, a crisis within the Somali community.”

Ahmed contends that these barriers have significantly limited the Somali community. “There is a multilayered intersectionality that comes into play … and employment has been and is to this day, a crisis within the Somali community.”

But Hussen is optimistic that things will change for all Canadian families and the economy will improve.

“The main thing the Liberal Party is going to do is invest in infrastructure,” he explains. “It will create a lot of jobs and stimulate the economy as a lot of money will be pumped into it.”

Harmful government policy

Recent policy reforms such as Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which allows the government to strip dual nationals of their Canadian citizenship, have also been a cause for concern for members of the Somali community.

Hussen condemns the harmful effects of Bill C-24.

Recent policy reforms such as Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, have also been a cause for concern for members of the Somali community.

“[The Liberal party] has been very clear that if we are elected we will repeal Bill C-24 because we don’t agree with creating different classes of citizenship. We believe a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian!”

Hassan is particularly critical of changes to the Citizenship Act that put dual citizens at greater risk of losing their Canadian citizenship.

“I … believe that a minister or an elected official revoking citizenship is wrong. It should not be [a] minister who does that.”

Hassan also criticizes the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“Bill C-51 is a bill that violates our privacy and individual rights and freedoms. We, the NDP voted against it … and we are the only party that is committed to appealing it.”

Hussen notes that while the Liberal party agrees with some aspects of C-51, such as allowing for information sharing between security agencies, it definitely does not support it entirely.

“[T]he larger parts of the bill that are problematic for civil liberties will be repealed by a Liberal government,” he says.

Conservative platform

Attempts to get the views of Conservative party candidate Abdul Abdi for this article proved unsuccessful.

A city of Ottawa police officer, Abdi is contesting from Ottawa West-Nepean, a riding once held by former Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

Abdi’s website says his priorities for the riding are to “stand up in Parliament for seniors, support the families who call this riding home, and ensure that our community remains a safe and secure place to live.”


Journalist Ranjit Bhaskar mentored the writer of this article, through the New Canadian Media mentorship program.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Politics
Saturday, 26 September 2015 15:34

Refugee Crisis Top of Mind this Eid al-Adha

by Lin Rahman in Toronto 

Eid al-Adha, celebrated this past Thursday, marks one of the two most important religious holidays for Muslims around the world. 

Different from Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of a month-long fast, Eid al-Adha marks the end of the 10-day pilgrimage known as the hajj. 

Able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so are required to perform the Islamic holy pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. 

Earlier in the day, Muslims around the world were shocked by news of a stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia which killed over 700 people as pilgrims were on their way to perform a Hajj ritual. More than 800 were injured. For Muslims in Canada, celebrating Eid this year is especially poignant given the current refugee crisis in Europe. 

“This Eid, the [sermon] was mostly about the refugees throughout the world and how we can help, how we can contribute,” says Aamir Jamal, a professor in social work at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. 

Jamal is a member of the Fredericton Islamic Association (FIA), a local organization that has teamed up with churches and other community groups in Fredericton to help bring refugees to  Canada and support them when they arrive. 

“This Eid reminds us to think beyond ourselves and we develop empathy for the weak among us.”

During this year’s Eid celebration, Jamal says Fredericton Muslims started a new initiative to support five new refugee families by contributing their portions of qurbani – the ritual sacrifice of lamb, goat or cow – to the families. 

The community is also continuing to assist the families with registering their children in school, finding a place to live and settling down in Canada. 

Jamal says helping refugee families to start their lives in Canada fits in with the purpose of Eid. 

“The theme and the philosophy behind this Eid is qurbani and sacrifice and thinking about others and giving things up for others,” he explains. “This Eid reminds us to think beyond ourselves and we develop empathy for the weak among us.” 

Importance of fostering community 

Former resident of Fredericton, Nora Shafe Fathalipour says there are more ways to celebrate Eid in Toronto because of the much larger Muslim population in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). (Fredericton is home to between 200 and 300 Muslim families.) 

“In Toronto, you have the option to go to a lot of different places,” Fathalipour says. “Going to Eid prayer also means a chance to socialize,” she adds. 

“If we have enmity among ourselves, we’re not going to be able to solve the local or wider issues or have any sympathy.”

Currently taking graduate courses at the University of Toronto, Fathalipour attended the morning Eid prayers organized at the U of T Muslim Chaplaincy, where the sermon also touched on the importance of fostering community and supporting one another. 

“It was a reminder of our social responsibility as a community towards each other,” says Fathalipour. 

“The reason why people are able to kill each other or not feel remorse when other people are hurt is because we start from this position of enmity,” she says. “If we have enmity among ourselves, we’re not going to be able to solve the local or wider issues or have any sympathy.” 

Fathalipour says this year’s Eid sermon reflected the need for compassion between individual community members that can lead to solving wider issues like the lack of support for war-weary refugees making their way across Europe. 

Better late than never 

For Jamal Osman, one of the vice presidents of the Muslim Community of Edmonton (MCE) mosque, support for the current wave of refugees is part of his community’s ongoing efforts. He says there are many Muslims in Edmonton with close ties to victims of the Syrian conflict. 

Osman says the community has been working to support victims of the Syrian war and other refugees, and efforts include supporting newcomer refugee families as well as doctors in the community who volunteer with Doctors Without Borders. 

“We’ve been in the trenches from the beginning years and years ago,” Osman says. 

“We haven’t loss sight of our responsibility to help our brothers and sisters.”

So even though celebrations at the MCE mosque aren’t particularly focused on the refugee crisis, Osman explains, “We haven’t loss sight of our responsibility to help our brothers and sisters.” 

In fact, Edmonton’s Islamic Family and Social Services (IFSSA) has taken the lead to represent the collective efforts of the Edmonton Muslim community in alleviating the refugee crisis.

“We are behind the scenes laying the groundwork for IFSSA to be in the position to be able to support Syrian refugees once they are able and ready to come to Canada,” Osman says. 

He adds that he feels the current heightened attention on the needs of refugees is overdue given the crisis has been brewing for years, but it’s better late than never. 

“We’ll take what we can get,” Osman says, “because, at the end of the day, it is intended to help these folks that are in dire need.”

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Arts & Culture

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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