Muslim and Indigenous people get ready to fast and break bread together

Winnipeg's Muslim and Indigenous communities will come together this Sunday for a Ramadan celebration and special fundraiser.

Manitoba Islamic Association is supporting the Indigenous community through a special fundraiser

Winnipeg's Muslim and Indigenous communities will come together this Sunday for a Ramadan celebration and special fundraiser.

It comes as Muslims around the world observe Ramadan this month and Indigenous people across North America participate in Sundance ceremonies throughout the summer. Muslims fast for Ramadan, Indigenous people also fast for Sundance ceremonies.

The Manitoba Islamic Association is opening its doors to the Indigenous community and is inviting the rest of Winnipeg to join them as well to celebrate Iftar, the first meal after Muslims break their fast after Ramadan.

Idris Elbakri, president of the Manitoba Islamic Association, says inviting others to take part is part of Muslim culture. 

"We have a concept in Islam called 'dawah' which means an invitation or inviting. So we are trying to live up to that and invite people in and offer them an opportunity to understand us and get to know us better. But also especially in this particular case, I think we stand to learn a lot," said Elbakri.

This year, the group has decided to raise funds for the Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The grassroots group was co-founded by educator Bernadette Smith, whose sister, Claudette Osborne, has been missing since 2008. The coalition was formed not long after that to support families waiting for answers.

"At that time, we didn't [have] a lot of supports" Smith said.

Smith will be a keynote speaker at the celebration this weekend.

"It's a great way of bringing our communities together. We all live in this great city, we're all affected by [MMIW] even though we're from different cultures. We're all humans. The more we get together and share in our experiences, the better we get to know each other. We're all brothers and sisters."

Smith said she will be fasting on Sunday to participate in Ramadan.

The event is taking place at the Manitoba Islamic Association at 2445 Waverley Street, starting at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and all proceeds will go to support the Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

The event is open to everyone.

About the Author

Lenard Monkman

Lenard Monkman is Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation, Treaty 2 territory. He is the co-founder of independent Indigenous media:Red Rising Magazine. He is currently employed as an Associate Producer for CBC Indigenous.