October 6, 2016- TORONTO – Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and MPP Teresa Armstrong were joined by Farheen Kahn from the International Development and Relief Organization and Dr. Al-Nadvi from the Canadian Council of Imams in celebrating the establishment of Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been pushing for Islamic Heritage Month to be officially recognized in Ontario,” said Horwath during a press conference Thursday morning at Queen’s Park. “Establishing October as Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario is an important opportunity to celebrate Islamic culture and to reaffirm that our province’s diversity is something to celebrate. The NDP is proud to stand with the Muslim community in making this happen.”
NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong, who introduced the Bill, was pleased to see it finally become law after some weeks of uncertainty caused by the Liberal government’s lack of support for Unanimous Consent.
“There was really no reason not to do this, and I am thankful for the support of the Official Opposition and now of the government. I think we all know how important it is to put aside our political differences when something as important as establishing Islamic Heritage Month is on the table,” said Armstrong.
The Province is now in line with the Federal government and many local school boards – including the TDSB- which have already taken this step.
“The Canadian Council of Imams would like to thank the NDP for championing this bill. This is an opportunity to highlight the true values and contributions of the Muslim community in Ontario and encourage a much needed dialogue in our province,” said Dr. Al-Nadvi. “We welcome this important step in building bridges between communities.”
“As we see an increase of Islamophobic incidents both in Ontario and across the country, it’s now more important than ever before to acknowledge and to celebrate the contributions of Muslims in Ontario,” said Farheen Khan. “The passing of this bill an opportunity to combat hatred and islamophobia by educating current and future generations of Ontarians, and I applaud the NDP’s hard work on passing this bill.”
“I thank Andrea Horwath and MPP Teresa Armstrong for introducing this bill. Conversations about Islam are too often framed around negative events. This can be emotionally challenging for children in schools, and it can skew their perceptions,” said Mr. Illyas Ally, Imam for the Islamic Dawa Centre and Executive Producer of Let the Quran Speak. “Islamic Heritage Month will give children a vehicle to explore Islam from a new angle, empowering children to develop a healthier, richer understanding of Islamic heritage.”