Trudeau said during his visit to an area convention that federal authorities will appoint the country’s first special envoy to counter Islamophobia
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Canada’s largest and longest-running Amadiyya Muslim Convention, in Bradford on Saturday.
At the 44th Jalsa Salana Canada, thousands from across Canada and around the world attended the three-day gathering – the only gathering of its kind in Canada
“After being apart for two years, isn’t it wonderful for all of us to be fighting for the Jalsa Salana?” Trudeau asked.
“The Ahmadiyya community plays an important role in helping us build a strong, diverse Canada. I know that so many are community oriented and that is why they have been there for each other and for their countrymen during these difficult last two years,” said the Prime Minister.
“In Calgary, Ahmadiyya youth launched the Neighborhood Helper campaign, delivering groceries and recipes to people across the city. Many of you have been on the frontline as health workers and essential workers, so many of you have been involved in community organizations and community leadership to help Canadians stand side by side for Canadians during this pandemic.”
In light of recent acts of Islamophobia in Canada, Trudeau highlighted the government’s investment in a new anti-racism strategy in the National Action Plan to Combat Hate, which includes funding for grassroots organizations fighting racism, intolerance and Islamophobia in communities across Canada.
“We have seen an unfortunate rise in hatred and intolerance towards Islamophobia in particular in recent years,” Trudeau said. “When families are afraid to go for a walk in the neighborhood in the evening and when mosques are vandalized, it’s unacceptable.
“An attack on one Muslim Canadian is an attack on all Canadians. Intolerance and hatred is undermining everything we have built in this country and especially everything we continue to build, so as a country we must continually step up and do more,” Trudeau said.
“Canada is a place of openness and respect and we need to keep it that way. Hate and intimidation should have no place here. Everyone must have the freedom to pray how they want and to be who they want. The pledge of Canada is a pledge of respect, hope and freedom. That is why we are gathered here and that is why you devote your life to it.”
Trudeau also announced that the government is in the process of appointing Canada’s first-ever Special Envoy to Combat Islamophobia.
“It will serve as an expert advisor to the government on how we can combat Islamophobia, religious intolerance, racial discrimination and more,” he said. “They will strive to address obstacles faced by Muslim communities here in Canada. We know we are all busy, but Canada is a country that did not come about by chance and will not move forward without these efforts. Working together, we can and will build a stronger, fairer and more inclusive Canada.”
The aim of the annual convention is to promote greater spiritual awareness among parishioners, strengthen bonds and promote peace.
“Love for all, hatred for none” is the slogan of the Ahmadiyya.
“We have a message that the whole world needs, all Canadians need the message that we have, that message is that Islam is a religion that promotes peace and love,” said La Khan Malik, national president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. “This conference will be used to spread this message of love and compassion for all people.”
After purchasing land at 10 Sideroad in 2003, this year was the first time the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held its annual meeting in Bradford after working with the City Council.
“The Ahmadiyya community is a wonderful asset to our city, from their focus on volunteering and community fundraising to their work as small business owners in the community,” said Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Scott. “We are delighted that Jalsa has now come to Bradford to host this national conference. I’m so glad we were able to work together to make this major event a reality this year and in the future.”
The first congress was held in 1891 by the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, in Qadian, India, where just over 70 people attended the event. Since then, the congress has grown into a worldwide event, gathering tens of thousands of members.
This was the smallest Jalsa yet as the group moves to larger events following pandemic restrictions, with $145,000 spent on local suppliers to help run it.