Ontario is backing up a London MPP’s push to make October the official Islamic Heritage month.
The legislature unanimously supported bill 23, put forward by London-Fanshawe New Democrat MPP Teresa Armstrong last month, falling in line with the federal government, which declared October as Islamic Heritage month about a decade ago.
“This is to highlight contributions made by Muslims, and especially in our city,” Armstrong told 106.9 XFM, about the bill inching closer to a larger NDP plan to fight Islamophobia in the province.
It wasn’t a smooth road for Armstrong, who has three failed attempted at pushing for a unanimous vote for the bill within the last two weeks. The New Democrats eventually received the unanimous consent last Friday in order to implement the change within the current month.
Asiya Barakzai, vice president public relations for the Muslim Students Association at Western University, is anticipating new event changes for the club, following the recognition.
“Having an entire month where the entire city is dedicated to raising that awareness all throughout is needed because a lot of people are ignorant about what Islam truly is and that’s where a lot of discrimination and hate can come from,” she said.
With thousands of online followers making up of predominantly students, the Islamic club has left its mark on many. For Barakzai, having a devoted month to recognize Muslims is a no-brainer.
“Starting by eliminating that ignorance and educating people is the best way to address and prevent issues of islamophobia later on,” she said.
London was among six Canadian cities that pledged to stand together against Islamophobia last summer through an initiative by the National Council of Canadian Muslims.