Canada: Islamic Heritage Display aims to educate people about Islamic heritage


Canada: Islamic Heritage Display aims to educate people about Islamic heritage

As Canada celebrates October as Islamic Heritage month, Cambridge city hall hosted an event this month to spread knowledge about Islamic civilization and foster more understanding inside the community.

Did you know that the mathematician and astronomer who introduced numerals and algebra to European mathematics was Muslim? Iranian scientist Khwarizmi is known as the “Father of Algebra.”

And how about this: the fig plant is one of a few plants mentioned in the Holy Quran, along with its health benefits. These are a few historical stories that are part of a visual display at Cambridge city hall in Ontario, Canada, for Islamic Heritage Month.

Muslim Women of Cambridge is behind the showcase aimed at educating people on Islamic history in an effort to better understand one another.

“Conversations like this bring people together … to know each other more as a neighbor and as a friend, to learn about each other,” said Abiha Syed, co-chair and one of the founding members of the group that launched in 2017, noting Islamophobia has been on the rise over the last few years. “It’s with the hope that we can reduce hate and spread more love,” she said.

The display features historic artifacts, calligraphy, profiles of Muslim figures and significant foods; it even offers hijabs for people to take home for free.

It includes a miniature Kaaba, which is at the center of Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca, where Muslims go for pilgrimage each year.

Fauzia Wafai, the group’s community engagement coordinator, said there are several profiles of historical Muslim figures. “Muslim heritage is rich in a sense that all the scholars, learners, scientists, mathematicians, authors have … made huge, huge investments of their time and did enormous work,” she said. Wafai said, previously, the group has set up its displays at local libraries and other spaces, but this year, the group intentionally chose to partner with the city. “I wanted to show this display to the public as acceptance from the city as well,” said Wafai.

Mayor Kathryn McGarry came by to see the display on Monday and spoke with members of the group. “This is why it’s so important to have these kinds of displays. It educates others; it helps us to understand the richness of all of our cultures,” said McGarry. “We are a diverse inclusive community. This helps to celebrate this particular aspect of our diversity.”

“I am hoping that everybody who visits the city of Cambridge downstairs right now comes past the display during October to see what we’re all about,” she said.

Source: CBC/Radio-Canada

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