Remembrance Day events in Canada

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Syed Mukarram Nazeer, Canada Correspondent

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the time the Armistice took effect in 1918. The Armistice was signed officially between the Allied Forces and German forces at Compiègne, France, for 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. It honours all soldiers who served their respective country including those who gave their lives. 

Like other nations, Canadians took time to remember their fellow men and women who served in the past wars as well as those who continue to serve today in conflict zones, or as peacekeepers all around the world.

Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada celebrates this event by holding events across the country. 

On 7 November 2021, one such event was held at Mubarak mosque in the city of Brampton, located some 30 km west of Baitul Islam Mosque, Toronto. The report of this event was given by Secretary Umur-e-Kharija Jamaat Brampton West, Ashfaq Ahmed Sahib and Secretary Umur-e-Kharija Jamaat Brampton East, Naseem Shad Sahib.

The event commenced with a recitation from the Holy Quran along with its translation. 

“Land acknowledgement” – recognising the fact that Canada is built on the land of Aboriginals – was presented next. The Aboriginal Smudge Ceremony – a traditional ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place – was held next by Elder Kim Wheatly, Anishinnabbe Cultural Consultant – Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario. The ceremony recognises First Nation people and services of National Indigenous Veterans.  

Next, all present stood up respectfully as the Canadian anthem was played. Veterans of Canadian forces presented the poem “In the Flanders Fields”. Following this, a two-minute silence was observed.

Mrs Diana Abel, recipient of the Silver Cross Mother Award for 2017 shared her experience as a mother of a soldier who gave his life serving his country.  

A number of dignitaries were present and appreciated the efforts of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada in serving the country. These included the Federal Minister of Seniors, accompanied by members of the federal parliament; numerous members of 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 the fire service, to name a few.  

A wreath ceremony permitted various groups to lay wreaths. 

A donation of $30,000 was made on behalf of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada to Royal Canadian Legion – Canada’s veterans association.

An exhibition of Muslim veterans was set up showcasing their services and sacrifices during World War I and World War II. Guests were amazed and impressed to know and learn about the contribution of Muslims during these wars. They were also given a tour of the Mubarak Mosque.   

The event was covered by mainstream media and received nationwide wide coverage on TV, radio, press and social media. It was also live-streamed for those who could not attend in person. 

The attendance was just under 200, majority being non-Ahmadi guests.

A similar event was held at Toronto West Imarat. The report of this event was given by Naib Amir Toronto West Imarat, retired Brigadier Abdul Ghafoor Ehsan Sahib. The session was presided over by the Amir of Toronto West Imarat, Syed Tariq Ahmad Sahib. The proceedings commenced with a recitation from the Holy Quran with its translation.

Children recited the Canadian National anthem which was then followed by two-minute silence.  

Various videos about Canada were shown. Personal video messages of dignitaries were played including those from Judy Sgro, member of the federal parliament, Kirsty Duncan, member of the federal parliament, Tom Rakocevic, a member of the provincial parliament, Ida Li Preeti, a Liberal MPP candidate and Anthony Peruzza, a councillor of Toronto City Council.

This was followed by speeches from Naib Amir Toronto West Imarat, and Regional Qaid MKA Greater Toronto Area Centre, in which they presented the Islamic perspective of service to the country. 

A special message from Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada, Lal Khan Malik Sahib brought the event to an end.

Riffat Jahan Sahiba, Secretary Tabligh for Lajna Imaillah Hadeeqa-e-Ahmad, Canada reports that this year in Innisfil, Canada, the usual Remembrance Day ceremonies were modified and designed differently to keep our elders safe and socially distanced due to Covid-19. 

Members of Lajna Imaillah from Hadeeqa-e-Ahmad Jamaat had the opportunity to organise a public display of art and heartfelt messages by youth between ages 5-14, honouring the veterans and those who served. This display was assembled at the Rizzardo Health and Wellness centre located at 7325 Yonge St in Innisfil. 

These pieces represented the youth’s understanding and emotions towards those men and women who have served, commemorating their gift to us. The gift of a bright and peaceful future that was only possible by the brave choices made by our veterans.

The members came together to pay a silent and socially distanced tribute. 

Lajna Imaillah took this opportunity to gather all the youth and provide them with a unique way to reflect on freedom, justice, opportunity and sacrifice. 

In addition, it reminds the youth of our difficult past that opened doors to the freedom we are entitled to, as well as, inspire them towards courage, compassion, loyalty and selflessness. 

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