Edmonton’s Muslim community comes together at the City of Edmonton’s first Iftar

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi joined over 120 members of Edmonton’s Muslim community to celebrate the City’s first community Iftar event at the ARCA Banquet Facility.

Many guests broke their fast with a date and water at 8:14 p.m., when the sun set on April 3. The celebration, known as Iftar, is a community meal after the evening sunset prayer to break one’s fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan

Nasim Kherani from the Canadian Council of Muslim Women was happy to “be all together again”.

“It’s such a humbling experience. It’s so nice that all the diversity in the community brings us together,” said Kherani. “Everybody’s related is their own faith. I believe that there is one destination, but we are taking different roads to get to the same destination.”

Nasim Kherani in conversation at the City of Edmonton Iftar. April 3, 2023.

Edmonton has an ethnically diverse Muslim population who have roots all around the world. This event brought many together to celebrate Ramadan and the values of compassion, generosity, and the community that it represents. Ramadan runs from March 22 to April 21 in 2023.

“I think it sends a really strong message to the Muslim community about how much this Council cares about inclusion and about celebrating all different faiths,” said Ward Councillor Erin Rutherford. “Being the ward representative of this area, it’s always great to connect with community and see a lot of familiar faces.”

Councillor Rutherford meets with residents before the fast is broken. April 3, 2023.

The City of Edmonton partnered with the Al Rashid Mosque and Islamic Relief Canada to help plan and coordinate the event. Al Rashid Mosque (Canada’s First Mosque) has a deep history in Edmonton and provides programming, education and services to the community. Islamic Relief Canada works with communities around the world to strengthen their resilience to disasters and provide vital emergency aid.

On behalf of the City Manager, Chief-of-Staff Salima Ebrahim spoke before the call to prayer, welcoming guests to the City’s first Iftar and sharing about the City’s focus on building an anti-racist and equitable city and corporation.

“We still have work to do to make Edmonton safe and welcoming for Muslims and other racialized groups,” said Ebrahim. “But as I look out into the crowd tonight and see such a large gathering of diverse Edmontonians, I am inspired to continue the work that still needs to be done and create more opportunities like tonight.”

Salima Ebrahim, the City Manager’s Chief-of-Staff speaks at the Iftar. April 3, 2023.

“As a city, we remain committed to fostering diversity and inclusion, and condemning and battling Islamophobia and racism,” said Ebrahim. “We’re proud of the work we’re doing to build an anti-racist and equitable city and corporation through our Anti-Racism Strategy and support for diversity and inclusion.”

The City of Edmonton is committed to building and strengthening relationships with diverse communities that contribute positively to our city. The City’s anti-racism strategy continues this work to support anti-racism initiatives and ensure the equity of our racialized communities.

“There’s a lot of strength in diversity,” said Kherani. “It eliminates the weaknesses, but brings all together with diverse talents.”