FIRST OTTAWA CITY HALL IFTAR
DINNER - July 25, 2012
On July 25, 2012, the first Iftar
dinner was held in the Jean Pigott Hall at the Ottawa City Hall.
Mayor Jim Watson was the Guest of Honour. The
Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada inaugurated this event
at City Hall along the same lines as the Iftar dinners hosted by
President Barack Obama at the White House and Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton at the State Department for American
Muslims to commemorate the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Charles Coffey, O.C., was the emcee for the evening. The dinner was
well attended by several members of the Diplomatic Corps, elected
representatives from all levels of government, representatives from the
Regional Police services, and members from the community.
event was supported by His
Worship Mayor Jim Watson, Mr. Jeff Boyd - Regional President, Ontario
North and East Region RBC
Royal Bank and by Ms. Peggy Morgan - Advisor, Government Relations,
Regulatory and Government Affairs, RBC Royal Bank, and by His Excellency
Farid Farid Shafiyev, Ambassador for the Republic of Azerbaijan
Mobeen Khaja welcomed the guests and thanked the Mayor and RBC and the
Ambassador of Azerbaijan for their support. The Mayor said that he
was pleased to have this event at the Ottawa City Hall and hoped that this
would continue in the future. He acknowledged the work the
Association is doing in building bridges of understanding. A
Sandulak's Spirit bear sculpture was presented to the Mayor at this inaugural
APMC members traveled from Toronto to be at this event.
Bob Chiarelli brought a message from Premier Dalton McGuinty, Mr. Jeff
Boyd brought greetings from the Royal Bank of Canada and His Excellency
Farid Shafiyev spoke about Ramadan and said that Canada
has a long history of religious tolerance and diversity that can serve as
a model for the rest of the world. My country,
Azerbaijan, also shares this tradition of diversity and respect for difference.
His full speech is below:
Friends, Colleagues, Distinguished Guests,
of all, I would like to express my appreciation to the
Association of Progressive Muslims of Ontario and its leader,
Mr. Mobeen Khaja, for inviting me to speak this evening.
would like also to express gratitude to His Worship Mayor Jim
Watson for allowing us to have Iftar dinner in the City Hall.
cordially congratulate all of you on the commencement of
Ramadan and extend my most sincere regards to everyone. I want to thank you for coming
this evening to celebrate the holy month. Ramadan is a
time of fasting, purification, and reflection, and I am
grateful that we have the opportunity to consider what this
month means for the Muslim community of Canada and even for
am very privileged to be spending Ramadan here in Canada. Canada
has a long history of religious tolerance and diversity that
can serve as a model for the rest of the world. My
country – Azerbaijan – also shares this tradition of
diversity and respect for difference. I
am very proud to say that the Republic of Azerbaijan is
a multinational and multi-religious country, with a national
policy that is based on the principles of tolerance and
coexistence of various nationalities, ethnic groups and
religious minorities. the strength
of Azerbaijan lies in the fact that representatives of all
nations and religions live in peace here. They live in
the atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood.
relationship between religion and the state in Azerbaijan is
well manifested through the attitude towards religious
minorities and monuments. The Azerbaijani state is building
and restoring not only mosques and other Islamic sites; we are
also renovating and building temples belonging to other
religions. Azerbaijan is a place where the Zoroastrian temple,
the biggest Jewish synagogue in the region, Lutheran parish
and other places of worship can be found, including the ancient
Albanian-Christian temples and Russian Orthodox Churches.
Currently there are more than 300 registered religious
communities in the Republic of Azerbaijan, among which 31 are
Benedict XVI praised religious tolerance in Azerbaijan, saying
in 2008: "I believe this tolerance can set an example for
other former Soviet republics." According to the
agreement between the Government of Azerbaijan and the
Vatican, a Roman Catholic Church was constructed in 2007 in
in Azerbaijan the protection of Christian and other minorities
is firmly guaranteed, we would also like to see positive
results of the struggle against Islamophobia in Western
countries. Unfortunately, sometimes we witness biased and
unfair attitudes towards Islam and Muslims in general. We
believe that mutual trust and conciliation between various
religious minorities and groups can contribute to the
rapprochement not only of different religions, but also
cultures and values.
hope that, some day, our shared values will be found in all
countries of the world and that all religious groups and
minorities can benefit from these values.
Ramadan bring you peace and prosperity, good health and
wealth, and brighten your life forever!
(L - R)
Mr. Charles Coffey, Mayor Jim Watson
and Mobeen Khaja
Spirit Bear was presented to Mayor Watson by APMC
High Commissioner for Sri Lanka (in
sari) and Mr. Moe Anwar from RBC
Mr. Craig Kennedy from RCPM sang the
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for 2nd Iftar Dinner