Muslim community reaches out to Syrian refugees during Ramadan

Syrian refugees in Winnipeg for their first Ramadan are welcomed to celebrate with local Muslim community

Workshops, food hampers and daily prayers help integrate refugees

For Magda and Muhamd Slimam's first Ramadan in Winnipeg, they're happy to be safe, but struggle to be away from their family in Syria. (CBC)

Local mosques and Islamic organizations are reaching out to bring traditions of the holiest month to Syrian refugees in Winnipeg spending their first Ramadan in Canada.

"It's important for them to see that in Canada we still do participate in the fasting while celebrating," said Lubna Usmani from the Winnipeg Islamic Association. She co-ordinates the integration of the refugees into the community.

Before the start of Ramadan, workshops were held to help refugees deal with the long daylight hours of June, up to 18 hours with no food or water.

Usmani adds money was raised to put together food hampers for refugee families filled with Ramadan staples and a few treats for the meal after sunset known as Iftar.

The goal is to make the refugees feel more comfortable celebrating in Winnipeg.

"Just because you're in Canada doesn't mean you have to drop your practices. We just want to really show them things are going on in Winnipeg and don't want them to feel stuck at home doing nothing," said Usmani.

For Magda and Muhamd Alsliman on their first Ramadan in Winnipeg with their four children, they're happy to be in a safe place to celebrate where they have plenty of access to food.

However, they do say it's a struggle to be so far away from family back in Syria, as Ramadan is a time for the whole family. They arrived in Winnipeg on March 1.

The holiest month in the Islamic faith, Ramadan requires fasting from sunrise to sunset, that means no food or water. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid, a large three-day festival to break the fast. The Winnipeg Islamic Association will bus refugees from all over the city in to participate.


  • The refugee family's name is Alsliman, not Sliman, and they have four children, not the three stated in an earlier version of this story.
    Jun 16, 2016 2:17 PM CT

with files from Kenza Kaghat/Radio Canada