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The 8th Iftar dinner was held on May 16, 2019   H.E. Fahad Saeed Al Raqabani, Ambassador for the United Arab Emirates, was the Keynote Speaker. Several elected representatives from all levels of government and from the Diplomatic Corps attended.   

The event was supported by His Worship Mayor Jim Watson, Mrs. Marjolaine Hudon, Regional President, Ontario North and East Region, RBC Royal Bank and TD Bank. Mayor Jim Watson was represented by Deputy Mayor Laura Dudas.

Mrs. Marjolaine Hudon brought greetings from the Royal Bank of Canada and Ms. Fadia Mankal from the TD Bank Group. Hon. John McKay, PC, MP., host of AMPC's Eid dinners at Parliament Hill.  Everyone spoke about the values of charity, sharing, tolerance, inclusion and diversity that are shared by all religions and are practiced in the month of Ramadan.

Retired Chief Armand La Barge was the emcee for the evening.  Mr. Craig Kennedy sang the National Anthem, H.E. Luigi Bonazzi said the Opening Prayers and Mr. Hamid Akbar recited the prayer for breaking the fast.

H.E. Fahad Saeed Al Raqabani spoke about the spirit of Ramadan and iftars.  He said:  " As you may know, Ramadan is the Holy Month ~ the most sacred month during the Islamic calendar, when Muslims fast during the daylight hours, which includes not only fasting from food, but also abstaining from drinking any liquids, praying to become closer to God, staying away from pleasures, and giving to the poor or disadvantaged.

However, I would also like to emphasize that Ramadan is not only about self-sacrifice and discipline, but it is also a joyous time for families and friends to gather and celebrate each evening [when the sun has gone down] – and also a time for us to bring joy to others around us.

It could also be said that there is not only a joyous feeling associated with Ramadan and iftars ~ but I could even go as far to say that there is a special bond created between those who share in an iftar – in breaking the fast together. For those of you who have so graciously joined us here tonight, your attendance creates a special connection between us all in sharing in this iftar together.

During this special month, it is also a time of personal reflection when we are reminded of what is most important to us in life ~ to be mindful of our priorities ~ contemplate what we could be doing differently - or perhaps better said, what we could be doing better in our own lives, and for those around us.

This same spirit resonates for me through the concept of tolerance. This year, the UAE Government has designated 2019 as Year of Tolerance, where we proudly renew and celebrate our country’s commitment to diversity.

Our UAE Minister of Tolerance, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan has said that diversity is a key driver of prosperity and comprehensive development across various social, economic, educational, cultural and other fields.  Said in a slightly different way, but with the same sentiments, the UAE is committed to the principal that diversity is a strength ~ through tolerance and diversity we become a stronger nation ~ we build a stronger society. We seek to build our success through embracing different abilities, genders, cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and faiths. During this Year of Tolerance, we were extremely privileged to have the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in February, which marked the first time an esteemed Pope visited the Arabian Peninsula.

During his visit, Pope Francis held a meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque, regarded as one of the foremost institutes in the Muslim World for the studies of Islamic religion and law, and His Holiness also held an open air mass, with more than 135,000 people attending.

The Pope graciously remarked that the UAE is “a land that seeks to be a model of coexistence, human brotherhood, and an encounter between different civilizations and cultures”.   For full speech, please click here.

Sandulak's polar bear sculpture of a mother with cubs was presented to His Excellency Al Raqbani. 

Diplomatts who attended were: H. E. Kamal Bashah Ahmad, High Commissioner, Brunei Darussalam, H. E. Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Ambassador, United Arab Emirates, H. E. Luigi Bonazzi, Ambassador of Vatican, H. E. Kimihiro Ishikane, Ambassador of Japan and Mrs. Kaoru Ishikane, H. E. Raza Bashir Tarar, High Commissioner Pakistan and Mrs. Siddiqa Tarar, Mr. Richard Mills, Jr., Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy and his wife Mrs. Leigh Carter, Mr. Muhammad Saleem, Deputy High Commissioner Pakistan and his wife Mrs. Rehana Saleem, Mr. Mohamed Al Fandi Al Shamsi, Second Secretary, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, Mrs. Chen Mingjian, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counsellor -Chinese Embassy, Mr. Wan Peng, Chinese Embassy, Mr. Nadeem Kiani, Minister Press, Pakistan High Commission, Mr. Ali Setiawan, Minister Consul -Minister Embassy of Thailand, Mr. Veli Topcu, Senior Cultural Attache - Turkey.

Some photos from the event.

(L-R) Mobeen Khaja, H.E. Al Raqbani, Mr. Al Shamsi, Mr. Armand La Barge, Mr. Veli Topcu

(L-R) Anees Khaja, Marjolaine Hudon, Mobeen Khaja                                              

(L-R) Fadia Mankal, Marjolaine Hudon, Mobeen Khaja

(L-R) Mobeen Khaja, H. E. Al Raqbani, Armand La Barge

(L-R) H. E. Kimihiro Ishikane & Mrs. Ishikane, Jerry and Carol Sherman

 A view of the hall - Jean Pigott Room 

 Rt'd Chief Armand La Barge and Craig Kennedy singing National Anthem

Another  view of the hall - Jean Pigott Room 

Deputy Mayor Laura Dudas welcoming guests

H.E. Al Raqbani giving his Keynote Speech

Another view of the hall - Jean Pigott Room 

H.E. Al Raqbani being presented gift by Mobeen Khaja

H.E. Luigi Bonazzi saying the Opening Prayers

Marjolaine Hudon of RBC emphasized importance of Diversity and Inclusion

Fadia Mankal of TD Bank also spoke about Diversity and Inclusion                             

MP. John McKay spoke about the intersection of faith and politics working well together

Hamid Akbar reciting the prayer for breaking the fast                                                   

(L-R) H.E. Al Raqbani, Imran Hasan and H. E. Raza Bashir Tarar

(L-R) Mobeen Khaja, Mrs. Leigh Carter, Mr. Richard Mills, Jr., H. E. Kimihiro Ishikane & Mrs. Ishikane

Several members from the Diplomatic Corps and APMC and Marjolaine Hudon

(L-R) Anees Khaja, Mrs, Siddiqa Tarar, H. E. Raza Bashir Tarar, Marjolaine Hudon and Mobeen Khaja

Marjolaine Hudon with her RBC Team and Mobeen and Anees Khaja                        

A sumptuous buffet dinner was enjoyed by all. Beef Kebabs, Chicken Shashlik, Beef Qorma,Rice pilaf were the main dishes