Moncton Muslim community prepares meal for ice storm victims
Moncton Muslim Association and Blue Olive Restaraunt reach out to residents without power
In an act of solidarity with the residents of the Acadian Peninsula in New Brunswick, the Moncton Muslim Association prepared a meal for those still without power due to the ice storm that hit nearly two weeks ago.
Two hundred people lined up in Sainte-Rose to enjoy the food, some of which had been prepared by Syrian refugees.
Mohammed Ali M'halla, owner of the Blue Olive Restaurant in Moncton, which helped prepare the food, said the meal brought with it a message of solidarity.
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"We have to be more close, have more exchange and we have to make steps forward on this action of solidarity," he said.
"It's very important to our society today."
Gaetan Noel, a volunteer at the Sainte-Rose warming centre and Ali M'halla's uncle, said Ali M'Halla came up with the meal after speaking with Noel.
"I said to him, 'Yes, we need help,' and he says, 'OK, I contact all the Muslim people around Moncton and we do something for you,'" said Noel.
"That's why they come here today."
The meal comes after a tense two weeks for many Muslims. First, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel from several majority Muslim nations, including Syria. Then, six Muslims were shot to death at a mosque in Quebec City just days later.
Ali M'halla said the support he's received from the community made it important to give back.
"The difficult moments make you awake and think about others too," said Ali M'halla.
"We receive a lot of solidarity and support from Moncton and New Brunswick communities. We say, why not as a Muslim New Brunswicker, what can we do to say thanks?"
Raymonde Robichaud, a town councillor for Tracadie, which includes Sainte-Rose, was at a loss for words.
"I feel very ... yup ... no words about that. A lot, a lot of ... my god. Thank you," said Robichaud.
Ali M'halla hopes this will be a first step in creating stronger ties in the community.
"It was a first and not the last action to build this bridge between community, and it's very important for our society to do something to make people close and to develop our community," said Ali M'halla.
With files from Bridget Yard