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|Written by Staff Writer|
|Sunday, 15 July 2012 19:46|
Pleasant weather, a cool spot beside the Rideau Canal, delicious food, and lively games for the kids made for a memorable celebration of Canada’s 145th birthday.
According to organizers, the July 1 celebration at Strathcona Park, organized jointly by the Muslim Coordinating Council (MCC-NCR) and the Indonesian Canadian Congress was a smashing success.
“We received nothing but positive feedback from so many people that it was heart-warming to hear it, and very pleasant and encouraging - especially as this was the first time MCC-NCR had participated in celebrating Canada Day, and jointly with the ICC group,” said Sarwat Humayun, coordinator of the MCC-NCR email list.
Among the dignitaries that attended the event were Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi and City of Ottawa’s equity and diversity committee chair Wayne Sprague. The speeches were brief however, the emphasis being on children’s activities.
“It was a lot of fun, especially for the children. They won prizes for the games, received goody bags before leaving, and all who answered the quiz questions that (moderator) Saad (Rashid) posed, won prizes that Kelly Clearance Outlets very generously donated,” said Ms. Humayun.
“We had a good turnout and lots of Indonesian and Pakistani food. And of course the delicious cakes. A bonus was the gola gunda (homemade snow-cone) machine that the Canada Pakistan Association lent us.”
With MCC-NCR President Mohammed Zakaria Khan being on holiday, the function was arranged by Vice-Presidents Jaffar Hashmi and Saad Rashid, Secretary Anwarul Haq, Treasurer Dania Balaa, Joint Secretary Rony Roselli and committee co-chairs Atiq Rehman, Sarwat Humayun and Mahmuda Khan.
In keeping with the goal of the MCC-NCR, the event sought to unite Muslims and build ties with Canadians of other faiths. In this too, the organizers say the event was successful.
“More then 20-25 passers-by of various age groups and families in the park joined the celebration. They were very pleased and passed positive remarks to us. They enjoyed the food and kids loved the give-away gifts. The place was right and the occasion was right. We conveyed a message of openness to the community at large,” said Mr. Haq.
The Department of Canadian Heritage supported the function.
The council has nominated about 50 Muslims for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award and is encouraging Muslim organizations to nominate qualified people.
The council is also planning an iftar (meal to break the fast) this Ramadan for Carleton University, University of Ottawa and Algonquin College students. MCC members will bear the costs and Ottawa Muslim Association has donated $250.
A community dinner is envisioned after Eid-ul-Adha. In the meantime, the council is seeking tax-deductible status from Canada Revenue Agency as it works to improve its services. ■