On Wednesday May 12,, I had the opportunity to wish the Muslim community in Manitoba well on the Festival of Eid-al-Fatr, a festival which marks the end of Ramadan.
The Muslim community in Manitoba is growing and is now about 17,000 strong. Muslims are contributing in so many ways to our province.
Several years ago now, we had many, many refugees who arrived from Syria and now call Manitoba home. It was an initiative of the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau to accept people who are refugees and from a country which was and still is experiencing a very difficult period.
But we now have in Manitoba young people who came from Syria who are graduating from high school and university and getting jobs and helping to build our province.
Among the many Muslims who have come to Manitoba are about 4,000 whose family originally came from Bangladesh. For my wife Naomi and me, this is special because our son Tom is married to Nadine Jahangir, whose family was from Bangladesh. When they were married about nine years ago, the ceremony incorporated both Muslim and Christian traditions. Today, with their son Zayd, they are helping to build our community of Canada.
And so today on Eid, even though we cannot gather as we usually could because of COVID, we celebrate a major Muslim festival and we celebrate the fact that, as Manitobans and Canadians, we continue to help each other and to build a better province and a better country together.