NCCM welcomes establishment of Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – October 6, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties and advocacy organization, welcomes the establishment of Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario.

The Ontario legislature passed a unanimously supported bill today to officially recognize Islamic Heritage Month.

The bill was first introduced by NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong, and was co-sponsored by PC MPP Raymond Cho and Liberal MP Shafiq Qaadri.

“We thank the NDP for its leadership on this important gesture of inclusion and the signal it sends to all Ontarians,” says Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM’s Executive Director. “We also thank the Ontario PC party, and the Liberal party for their support.

“At a time of rising anti-Muslim incidents, such announcements underscore that Ontarians, indeed, most Canadians, celebrate the rich contributions of our various cultures and faith traditions and embrace our nation’s diversity. Let this month be an opportunity to learn more about Islam and the contributions of our community members to the shared success of our country.”

October has historically been a time to mark the contributions of Muslims in Canada. For the past several years, provinces and municipalities across Canada have marked October as Islamic History Month.

The Honourable Mélanie Jolie issued a statement at the start of the month in recognition.

“There are so many talented and skilled Muslim-Canadian trailblazers who have enriched our lives-the internationally acclaimed musician K’Naan, award-winning foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed, Canada’s first female Dean of Engineering Hoda ElMaraghy, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, and Zarqa Nawaz, creator of the hit series Little Mosque on the Prairie, to name just a few,” said the Minister in a statement.

“As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I encourage all Canadians to take advantage of Canadian Islamic History Month to enhance our understanding of the rich heritage of Canada’s Islamic community. Through education and sharing positive stories, all Canadians can grow and connect in the best way possible.”

A federal NDP motion introduced yesterday in the House of Commons to condemn all forms of Islamophobia was unfortunately defeated by members of the Conservative party. It was based on a petition which garnered over 66 thousand signatures and which was sponsored by Liberal MP Frank Baylis.

Earlier this summer, NCCM launched a Charter for Inclusive Communities to condemn Islamophobia and commit to standing up for the rights and dignity of everyone in order to promote inclusive, just, and respectful communities in Canada. Over one hundred individuals, municipalities, and organizations have endorsed the charter so far.