L'ASSOCIATION DES MUSULMANS PROGRESSITES DU CANADA

ASSOCIATION OF PROGRESSIVE MUSLIMS OF CANADA
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16TH ANNUAL EID-UL-FITR - SEPTEMBER 22, 2010

 

The Association honoured the Honourable Peter Millken, Speaker of the House of Commons, for his "distinguished Public Service as a Member of Parliament, Deputy Speaker, and the longest serving Speaker of the House of Commons".

The Speaker was presented with a plaque and Keith Sandulak's polar bear sculpture. The citation was done by  Mr. Vickers, Sergeant-at-Arms, House of Commons. 

In his Welcome Address, Mr. Mobeen Khaja said that "by fasting and reciting the Qur’an during the month of Ramadan, we reaffirm our core values of peace, compassion, generosity, sharing, charity, and thanksgiving and, above all, forgiveness.  Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and compassion and our religion condemns violence and brutality in any form or shape. A true Muslim strongly believes in these core values and the majority of Muslims do."  

He spoke about how the Eid celebrations started at Parliament Hill and later at Queen's Park.  He said "all these years, I have remembered the article I read in the Buffalo News on Sunday February 25, 1996, written by Mrs. Clinton.  We are happy to see that the tradition of celebrating the month of Ramadan at the White House has continued every year.  This year, President Obama, hosted Iftar dinner at the White House and Iftar dinners were held at the State Department and also at the Pentagon for American Muslims."

He also said "we will be extending, through the US Embassy, our invitation to the Secretary of State inviting her to the next Eid-ul-Adha dinner at Parliament Hill in November 2011 and I hope she will accept our invitation as our Guest of Honour for the 17th Annual Dinner. We would like to thank her for motivating us to start these celebrations in our Nation’s capital and at Queen’s Park, Toronto and for the past 5 years at City Hall, Toronto."

He also said "I am grateful to the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin for attending the Eid celebrations for 11 years, first as the Minister of Finance and later as the Prime Minister of Canada.  We also had the honour to have the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien.  I have lots of memories of these celebrations for the past 15 years, here in Ottawa and also of the Eid celebrations at Queen’s Park, Toronto.  At Queen’s Park we had the honour to have Premier Mike Harris, Premier Ernie Eves and Premier Dalton McGuinty attend the events.  Opposition leaders Mr. John Tory and Mr. Howard Hampton also attended the events many times."

In his Keynote Address, Hon. Peter Milliken made the following remark  about the Association: "I am grateful that such organizations exist in Canada, as they prepare young people to get involved in the Canadian political process at Municipal, Provincial and Federal levels.  In addition, they undertake social, educational and economic projects for the uplift of Muslims in Canada and encourage the young to actively participate in community affairs."

He also said "your efforts have already borne fruit right here on Parliament Hill. In 1997, at the age of 25 Rahim Jaffer became the first Muslim to be elected to the House of Commons.  Today, we have one sitting MP who is Muslim, Ms. Yasmin Ratansi. 

He said "Islamic culture has given the world magnificent architecture; timeless poetry, beautiful music and elegant calligraphy."  He also said "this growing community has contributed greatly to the makeup of Canada as well as our success as a country, whether in the fields of entertainment, academia or politics.  Canada’s unique multicultural society has enabled Muslim-Canadians to start businesses, teach at our Universities, and excel in our sports arenas. Let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of Canada."  He mentioned some of the prominent Muslims and their contributions.

He also said "given the Koran’s overarching messages – to strive towards improving conditions for all of humanity, and that the essence of human dignity is fundamental to Islam, human rights are a natural starting point for a common understanding between Canada and Muslims worldwide. Furthermore, given the great emphasis Islam places on education, charity and justice, there are ample opportunities for Canadian Muslims to work with their fellow citizens and build a better Canada. Over time, Muslims living in Canada have been doing just that and Canada is a better country for it.  We can, and in my opinion, we must continue to learn from the Muslim approach."

A video of President Obama's speech at the Iftar dinner he hosted at the White House in the month of Ramadan was shown.  In his blog the following day, Ambassador Jacobson wrote "there was one part of the event that I found particularly moving.  After I made a few remarks, the organizers played a video of President Obama’s speech at an Iftar dinner held last month in the White House.  Here I was at a Muslim holiday celebration in Ottawa, Canada.  Other than my wife and a handful of others, I was probably the only U.S. citizen in the room.  And we all watched the President talk about the values of religious tolerance that were central tenants in the founding of the United States (and which are shared here in Canada).  You could have heard a pin drop in the room while the video of the President was playing.  When he finished, there was applause.  People came up to me and asked if they could get copies of the video to show to their friends and colleagues." (For full blog, please click on following link:  http://blogs.ottawa.usembassy.gov/ambassador/index.php/2010/09/24/september-23-2010-ottawa )                                                           

Mr. Craig Kennedy, Senior Protocol & Visits Analyst, RCMP, performed the National Anthem in English and French. Hon. Dan McTeague, P.C., M.P., was the emcee for the evening..  

Several Members of Parliament and Ambassadors and High Commissioners from several countries attended.   His Excellency David Jacobson, Ambassador of the United States attended with Mrs. Jacobson.  Mayor O'Brien of Ottawa attended with his wife and Chief Armand La Barge of York Regional Police drove all the way from Toronto with his wife, Denise.  When he spoke, he got a standing ovation.  Chief La Barge will be retiring in December this year.  He is going to be honoured at the Eid-ul-Adha celebrations at Queen's Park on November 26, 2010.

Commissioner William Elliot and Assisstant Commissioner Francois Bidal of the RCMP also attended.  Deputy Chief Charles Bordeleau and Staff Sergeant John Medeiros represented the Ottawa Police and Superintendent Leo Sweeney represented the Ontario Provincial Police.

The sit-down dinner (halal) was catered by the Parliament Hill restaurant.

For Hon. Peter Milliken's speech in English and French, please click here.

Many thanks to Mr. Imran Hasan, one of APMC's executives, for taking the photos and to his wife, Sameeha for creating the album and slide show which you can see by clicking on the links.   apmc ottawa 2010  View Album  Play slideshow

 

 

Presentation of the gift to Hon. Peter Milliken .  (L - R) Sajjad Hanf, Hon. Dan McTeague, Zul Kassamali, Mr. Vickers, Anees Khaja, Mobeem Khaja, Hon. Peter Milliken, Julie Jacobsen, H.E. David Jacobsen, James Brown, Commissioner RCMP - William Elliot Presentation of the gift to Hon. Peter Milliken

 

Hon. Peter Milliken with some of his constituents who came from Kingston President Obama's Iftar speech was shown before dinner