Syed Mukarram Nazeer, Canada Correspondent
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the treaty of Armistice in 1918. The Armistice was officially signed between Allied and German forces at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I.
After World War II, the day became widely known as “Remembrance Day” in Commonwealth member states as well as many other countries. It is also known as Armistice Day, Poppy Day and Veteran’s Day and aims to honour all soldiers who served their respective countries, including those who gave their lives.
Like other nations, Canadians took time this year to remember their fellow men and women who served in past wars as well as those who continue to serve today in conflict zones, or as peacekeepers all around the world.
In 2011, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada launched a nationwide campaign, “Muslims for Remembrance” to remember and show support for the sacrifices of Canada’s armed forces. These include Canada’s serving troops, veterans, and those who sacrificed their lives for this country. Jamaat Canada has become the leading Muslim organisation to showcase support for Canadians through this annual campaign.
On each Friday prayer preceding the annual Remembrance Day, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya rallies young and old across the country to raise funds for Canadian veterans and show their support for the country. Every year, the Jamaat celebrates this day by commemorating “National Indigenous Veterans Day and Muslims for Remembrance” across the country. Given below is an account of this event from two different cities.
Event at Mubarak Mosque in the City of Brampton
On 6 November 2022, this event was held at the Mubarak Mosque in the City of Brampton, located some 30 km west of the Baitul Islam Mosque, Toronto. The event was held outside in the parking lot of the mosque, on a somewhat cloudy but bright day.
The veterans marched with flags to their assigned posts, to bring the event to order. The formal event proceedings started with the recitation of the Holy Quran followed by a translation into both official languages of Canada, English and French. Land Acknowledgement – verbally recognising the fact that Canada is built on the land of Aboriginals – was presented next.
The local amir of Brampton West, Abdul Jabbar Zafar Sahib, welcomed all guests to the Mubarak Mosque in his welcome address.
Aboriginal Smudge Ceremony was held next by Elder Kim Wheatly, Anishinaabe Cultural Consultant, Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario. The ceremony recognises First Nation people and the services of Indigenous Veterans.
Next, all present stood up respectfully as the Canadian Anthem was played by TRI Services Band of Brampton. This band is comprised of 20 young cadets from the Army, Air Force and Navy. The poem “In the Flanders Fields” was recited next, remembering the fallen fellow soldiers.
Several dignitaries were present and appreciated the efforts of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya in serving Canada. These included members of the Federal Parliament; members of the Ontario Provincial Parliament; the Mayor of the City of Brampton along with a large contingent of city councillors; the local chief of police, and the local chief of fire service, to name a few.
A wreath ceremony permitted various groups to lay wreaths. Secretary tabligh of Jamaat Canada, Abdul Hameed Warraich Sahib presented a donation on behalf of the Jamaat Brampton to two veterans associations. He also delivered the closing remarks.
The guests were given a tour of the Mubarak Mosque.
The event was covered by mainstream media and received coverage on TV, radio, press, and social media. The event was also live-streamed for those who could not attend in person.
The total event attendance was just under 300, with over 100 non-Ahmadi guests.
A few days later, the Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown, mentioned the Muslims for Remembrance event at the Mubarak Mosque in his remarks at the City Hall Remembrance Day Event.
A guest, Amarjot Sandhu, posted on social media:
“It was an honour to join @AMJBramptonEast in commemorating the National Indigenous Veterans Day and Muslims for Remembrance event. It is crucial that we take a moment to reflect on and give thanks to those who have so fearlessly served our country.”
Event held by the Innisfil Jamaat
Another event on the “National Indigenous Veterans Day and Muslims for Remembrance” was held by the Innisfil Jamaat, located about 55 km north of the Baitul Islam Mosque. The event took place after the Jumuah prayer in Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada. Secretary of Public Relations of Jamaat Canada, Asif Khan Sahib represented Jamaat Ahmadiyya Canada..
The event started with the Jumuah prayer. A missionary, Mahboob ur Rahman Shafiq Ahmed Sahib, read the land acknowledgement and delivered the introductory remarks.
John Brassard, member of the federal parliament, Lynn Dollin, member of provincial parliament, and Kenneth Fowler, the deputy mayor, were on hand to participate. In addition, the Local Legion President, City Council Members, the Fire Inspector, and multiple Army personnel participated.
The Mayor Lynn Dollin, commented:
“Thank you again for choosing Innisfil as your home. I am very grateful to you for the support, and all the volunteering and selflessness that you do to contribute to our community.”