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Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association, Prairie Region Holds an Interfaith Symposium
On Sunday 6 March 2022, women from all walks of life participated in a virtual Interfaith Symposium organized by Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association of Prairie Region in Canada.
The theme of this year’s symposium was ‘Justice in an Unjust World.’ After recitation from the Holy Quran, the symposium started with a brief introduction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community by Shazia Rehman, the moderator of the program, reflecting upon its involvement in various community projects at regional level. The Prairie Region comprises of three central provinces of Canada including Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and is headed by Dr Fozia Zakariyya at the regional level.
Following four speakers delivered presentations on the topic from their faith perspective:
- Stephanie Molloy, a retired Jesuit University Campus Minister and a volunteer President of the Regina Multi-Faith Forum spoke on Christian teachings.
- Mandhir Kaur Mannu, an Indian Gold Medal recipient and award winning broadcaster of the Winnipeg-based Punjabi language radio station “Radio Apna”, spoke from Sikh perspective
- Rabbah Gila Caine, a Rabbi for the Temple Beth Ora congregation in Edmonton, and one of the founders of the Israeli rabbinic women’s group “B’not Dinah” spoke from Judaic perspective.
- Dr. Amtul Qudoos Farhat a retired Pediatrician, with successful pro-active campaigns for Interfaith activities across Canada spoke from Islamic perspective.
What becomes apparent is that all scriptures give same message about justice:
You shall not be partial in judgment; hear out low and high alike. Decide justly between the Israelite and the stranger alike. Take no bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the plea of the just. Justice, justice, shall you pursue.(Exodus:28:13)
“The Lord Himself sits upon His Throne and administers justice. He beats and drives out the false-hearted. The Lord bestows glorious greatness upon those who are truthful. He administers righteous justice. So praise the Lord, everybody; He protects the poor and the lost souls. He honors the righteous and punishes the sinners.”-(Sri Guru Garath pg 89)
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute,” (Psalm 82:3).
O ye who believe!]be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do(The Holy Quran Ch:4 V:136)
More than 20 dignitaries including Members of Parliament (MP), Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Edmonton, Airdrie, Regina, Winnipeg and Chestermere and Councillors attended the symposium and appreciated the efforts of Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association for their voice in creating Justice in an Unjust World and interfaith harmony. They also thanked Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association for providing a platform for interfaith interaction and praised their positive contributions towards their communities. These dignitaries include:
- Hon. Rochelle Squires, MLA Riel: Minister of Families and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs and the Co-Chair of the Poverty Reduction Committee.
- Hon. Laura Ross, MLA Regina Rochdale : Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport.
- Councillor Ashley Salvador, an urban planner experienced in affordable housing, climate change, social isolation and inclusion.
- Councillor Keren Tang a public health advocate, community organizer and city builder.
- Councillor Jo-Anne Wright, a Volunteer Coordinator with University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees.
- Leah Gazan, MP Winnipeg Centre, the NDP Critic for Children, Families and Social Development as well as the Critic for Women and Gender Equality and the Deputy Critic for Housing,
- Leela Aheer, MLA Chestermere Strathmore and has previously served as Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, as well as a member of the Standing Committees on Families and Communities.
- Whitney Issik, MLA Calgary Glenmore, appointed the Associate Minister of Status of Women, also serves as Chief Government Whip. LA Regina Lakeview.
- Nicole Sarauer, MLA Regina Douglas Park, is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the opposition critic for Justice, Corrections and Policing.
- Meara Conway, MLA Regina Elphinstone is the opposition critic for Social Services, Housing, Human Rights, and Community-Based Organizations.
11. Carla Beck, MLA Regina Lakeview, serves as the Opposition Caucus Chair and is the critic for Education, Early Learning and Childcare and the critic for Labor.12. Councillor Heather Spearman, members of Airdrie City Council
13. Deputy Tina Mayor Petrow Vice Chair Community Services Advisory Board, Airdrie
14. Malaya Marcelino, MLA Notre Dame and the Official Opposition’s Critic for Immigration, and the Critic for Status of Women.
15. Bernadette Smith, MLA Point Douglas, the Caucus Chair for the Official Opposition and the Critic for Mental Health and Addictions.
16. Janis Irwin, MLA Edmonton Highlands Norwood, the Official Opposition Deputy Whip and the critic for the Status of Women.
17. Sgt.Denise Reavley, Regina Police Service, a Sergeant in the Cultural and Community Diversity Unit.
18. Councillor Funky , the first Black person to be elected to RMWB Council in 2021.
19. Heather McPherson, MP Edmonton Strathcona, the deputy whip, critic for foreign affairs, critic for international development, and deputy critic for Canadian Heritage. She previously served as the deputy House Leader.
The concluding remarks were given by the National Out-Reach Secretary Dr Alia Rehman. She thanked all the faith speakers, dignitaries, and all attendees for making the event successful. The event ended with silent prayer.