Hundreds gather for Canada Day at Saskatoon Mosque
Roughly 700 people were in attendance at the event
Kicking off with a rendition of "O Canada" sung by a group of Muslim children, members of Saskatoon's Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at opened the doors of their Mosque to the public to help Saskatoon celebrate Canada's birthday.
Roughly 700 people attended the event, which was hosted at the Baitur Rahmat Mosque, located in the city's southeast. Waving Canadian flags and wearing red and white, there was no shortage of Canada Day spirit at the place of worship.
Syed Shah, president of the Saskatoon Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at, said the event was an important one, as loving one's country and home is a part of the Islamic faith.
Celebrating their home
"This is our home now," Shah said.
Officials from all of Saskatchewan's major political parties at both the provincial and federal level were at the event. Shah said their presence was important, as while Muslims can freely practice their religion in Canada, in other places in the world, it remains a target of hate.
"Canada is the only place that we have the freedom ... to practice our own faith without any fear," said Shah. "And having support of the local authorities, local dignitaries (at the) government level, you know the people of all walks of life, it's very important to us."
Roughly 700 people in attendance
Asked about the strong showing at Monday's event, Shah explained it's important for community members to show their patriotic pride.
"To say that this is my country, I'm very proud of that," he said. "This is obvious that ... you live in is such a beautiful, peaceful country and I think it's our obligation to celebrate and appreciate, and thank God for that."
He said members of Saskatoon's Muslim community are always working to dispel stigma and misconceptions around the Islamic faith, as their message is one of: "Love for all and Hatred for None."
Strength in diversity
Among those at Monday's event was Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark. He said it's important for members of the community to celebrate together, noting the diversity represented at the event shows what Saskatoon is all about.
"We have all political parties represented here. We have people from the First Nations community. People from the Hindu community. People from the Christian community. People from many different communities," he said. "This is who we are in Saskatoon."
He said the event itself was a strong sign of the "community building" that exists in the Bridge City.
"We have a chance in our city in Saskatoon to become a real example of how we live together in our diversity because of events like this. Because of how I see community members reaching out to one another and building relationships."
Canada celebrated its 152nd birthday on Monday.