Indigenous, Muslim youth unite through sport in Leduc

Two communities that face similar trials and tribulations came together in Leduc on Sunday to unite through sport.

Friendly basketball tournament brings youth from both communities together

The basketball tournament in Leduc Sunday was a chance for Indigenous and Muslim youth to connect. (CBC)

Two communities that face similar trials and tribulations shared a sporty experience in Leduc on Sunday.

Edmonton's Ahmadiyya​ Muslim Community joined members of the Samson Cree Nation for a youth basketball tournament at the Leduc Recreation Centre.

Organizer Klevlin Cutknife, from Maskwacis, said the event was meant to unite the two groups.

"There's a misunderstanding sometimes, like to the outside world about First Nations, and that's also vice versa with the Muslim community," he said, highlighting ongoing battles with discrimination. "It's good to get our youth out to show them that ... we're all people."

Klevlin Cutknife, second from the right, watches as a game unfolds. (CBC)

Nasir Butt, Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said Sunday was the first time many of the young men were able to connect with each other.

"When we meet, then we know that there are many commonalities in between the communities. So we want to highlight those commonalities and we want to unite for the purpose of goodness," he said.

"Through love and affection, we can remove our differences … and we can have a beautiful unity within Canadians."

Sam Wildcat was one of about 60 people who played in the tournament. He also highlighted the commonalities between Indigenous and Muslim people.

"We have a lot of similarities in … culture and religion," he said, noting the shared belief in a higher power that cares for people and land. "We just came to play basketball together to be unified."

About 60 young men took part in the tournament. (CBC)

Ali Shahan Butt took part in the tournament and said sport brings people together through teamwork.

"The Native peoples, they were the first peoples here in Canada, so of course they deserve immense amounts of respect since it's their land," he said. "So in order to have a better bonding time with them, we had this tournament."

Ali Shahan Butt says sport brings people together. (CBC)