Local organizations come together for Islamic Heritage Month
October is Islamic Heritage Month in Alberta, and three local organizations are coming together to raise awareness about Islam to combat Islamophobia. Markaz ul Islam, the Islamic Centre of Fort McMurray pitched the idea for a poster and video contest combatting racism, and Islamophobia.
Mayor Don Scott (centre) proclaims October as Islamic Heritage Month. Seen with Mohammed-Ali Al-Zabidi, Markaz President, and Naseem Abdo, who was the lead on organizing Islamic Heritage Month activities for Markaz
Naseem Abdo, Markaz volunteer spoke to the Wood Buffalo Regional Library (WBRL) and the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo (MCA) about the initiative, and both groups readily came onboard. The community is invited to create a two-minute video, or poster, and help with the cause.
Islamic Heritage Month was first proclaimed three years ago in recognition of the many Muslims who helped, and are helping build this province. Despite the increased awareness and advocacy, Islamophobia continues to be an issue across the province.
“This is a great time to raise awareness of Islam and Muslims in the community and to speak out against hate and Islamophobia,” noted Abdo.
“Markaz ul Islam has reached out to various groups/leaders in the community ranging from oil sands leaders, school leaders to RCMP and Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) employees, as well as social profits - to provide information sessions so that they can learn about Muslims and Islam and how we can all combat hate/Islamophobia,” he continued.
“The WBRL and MCA leading the poster/video contest sends a strong message of unity, and that we are stronger together. Please do your best to raise awareness about Islam among the people you know and participate in the video/poster contest. We are stronger together,” he added.
Sheri Anthony, Community Engagement Manager, Wood Buffalo Regional Library notes, “we always welcome opportunities to collaborate with various community groups at the WBRL, especially for such an important cause. We’re excited to take part and help partake in this partnership with the MCA and Markaz ul Islam. We can’t wait to see what our creative community can produce!”
MCA Executive Director, Therese Greenwood, echoed similar sentiments.
“MCA is honoured to be collaborating with Markaz ul Islam and the Wood Buffalo Regional Library to mark October as Islamic Heritage Month in Alberta by raising awareness of Islam and Muslims in our community and speaking out against hate and Islamophobia. MCA will be using our social media channels to share this message with our members as well as the larger RMWB community. This is in keeping with MCA’s vision statement of Unity In Diversity, and our mission statement of fostering an environment in which individuals and groups may contribute to the cultural heritage of Alberta, encouraging communities to share their cultures, build bridges, and grow harmoniously in Canadian life.”
“MCA values the diversity and differences among persons from all over the world who live and work in the RMWB. MCA also values mutual respect and promotes a welcoming environment for all cultures, and people from around the world,” she added.
Contest deadline is October 22. See poster for details. Prizes to be won. Open to grades 3-12 and adults. Send your submissions or inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.