Canadian Muslims gathered across the country today to pay their respects to Canada’s soldiers as eight mosques with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held their own respective Remembrance Day ceremonies on Friday.
Close to 30 Muslims gathered at the Baitun Naseer Mosque in Cumberland – all of them donning bright red poppies on their lapels as they took part in an afternoon prayer.
Imam Imtiaz Ahmed said this year’s service is extra poignant given the recent attack on parliament that left Canadian Soldier Nathan Cirillo dead.
“As Muslims, we reject and denounce these nefarious attacks, which were committed by these individuals at the very heart of our democracy,” said Ahmed. “It is even more important to us to show the world and Canada in particular that we, the Muslims, are with Canada and we show our support for Canada.”
He said paying tribute to soldiers isn’t only important for maintaining strong relationships with non-Muslims in Canada, but also for practicing Muslims who may be leaning towards extremist views. He said the Quran condemns such acts of violence.
“It is very important to denounce such acts and to tell the people that Islam has nothing to do with this,” said Ahmed. “Islam teaches that you should honour your country, you should serve and protect your country, so it’s very important to us to get this message across, not only for Canadians, but also for the Muslims who think that killing an unarmed soldier maybe they are doing a favour to their religion, but they are not in reality.”
Devout Muslim Aleen Ahmed took in the ceremony in Cumberland Friday. He says that it’s a religious duty for all Muslims to honour and remain loyal to the country in which they live.
He said all soldiers have given their lives so that Canadians can live in a free world and he won’t forget the sacrifices they’ve made.
“All those who have laid their life for the country, even 100 years before for this country or even three weeks before, they are all to be honoured and honoured from the heart,” he said.
Seven other mosques from Toronto to Vancouver held Remembrance Day services where they sold poppies and honoured the Canadian military. All proceeds are donated to the Royal Canadian Legion.