Syrian refugees celebrate New Year's with Al-Rasoul Islamic Society

Sixteen parents and 15 children were treated to gifts at an event on New Year's Eve at the Al-Rasoul Islamic Society in Bedford.

About 30 Syrian refugees were special guests at event to mark the Prophet Muhammad's birth

Taleb Abidali of the Al Rasoul Islamic Society says they wanted to give the new arrivals some necessities, such as clothing for the children. (CBC)

A group of Syrian refugees celebrated the start of a new year in Canada at an Islamic centre in Bedford. 

Sixteen parents and 15 children were treated to gifts at an event at the Al-Rasoul Islamic Society. 

Taleb Abidali says members of the organization want to offer support to the newcomers and help ease their transition. 

"You never feel you're a stranger here. You're in a beautiful land between your brothers and sisters," he said. "The mosques, the church, the universities, the bank, private sector, everyone wants to do something."

Hassan Rashed of the Al-Rasoul Islamic Society says the group hopes to help with Syrian refugees' culture shock. (CBC)

He says the presents were full of necessities for the new arrivals. 

"We tried to prepare some basic things like pyjamas for the kids, some jeans, shirts, some clothes and sweets," he said. 

The group plans plans to do even more for Syrians in 2016. They're working with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia to help the newcomers settle into life in the Maritimes. 

Culture shock

"They're going to face some kind of cultural shock. It's going to be difficult for them to adapt if they don't have any aid or support. What we're trying to do is extend our welcoming hand in making them feel that they're home," said organizer Hassan Rashed.  

Rashed says the group didn't know much about the new faces, but it didn't matter. He says they wanted to welcome all the Syrians, no matter what their faith.

"Our religion instructs us to help everyone regardless of their culture, race or background," he said.

The centre holds events every Thursday but the New Year's Eve gathering was unique.

Sixteen parents and 15 children were treated to gifts at a special event at the Al Rasoul Islamic Society in Bedford. (CBC)

"This week commemorates the birth of our prophet, the Prophet Muhammad. So tonight we were supposed to have just a celebration on that occasion and tonight we have the refugees so that makes our joy even greater," said Rashed.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.