(July 28, 2015) – Excitement is building for MuslimFest, the biggest Muslim festival in North America, which is set to begin this Friday in Mississauga, a suburban city in the Greater Toronto Area.
Featuring local and international artists, concerts, stand-up comedy shows, workshops, films and documentaries, the festival that celebrates the vibrant Canadian Muslim culture will run until Sunday evening.
“MuslimFest returns to Mississauga Celebration Square in its 14th year and will attract 25,000 visitors and welcomes everyone,” Sana Khawaja, Media Relations Officer of MuslimFest, told IQRA.ca. “The essential role of art, based in traditional and contemporary interpretation of faith, is prevalent throughout the festival, and the event will showcase entertainment that is hundreds of years old but also retains a lineup of new performers ready to become household names.”
“It is this cultural fusion that sets MuslimFest apart and enjoyed by attendees of all backgrounds and age groups.”
The festival has drawn praise from politicians and civic leaders across the region for showcasing the province’s diversity and promoting understanding among citizens.
“MuslimFest unofficially begins on Friday, July 31st with the first ever Canadian premier of American Sharia, a movie directed, produced and starring Omar Regan,” said Sana Khawaja. “The evening will also include an Art Exhibition showcasing inspirational pieces on why faith matters and the Talent Performance segment allows new artist to demonstrate their skills.”
“Friday’s itinerary aims to stimulate discussion regarding Muslim identity in entertainment and have local performers recognized by their community.”
Throughout the weekend the main stage will host live performances including local musicians Yusra and Moez Shihab, Canadian artist Dawud Wharnsby, performances by CNN contributor and Comedy Central’s Dean Obaidullah along with Allah Made Me Funny star, Preacher Moss
For the first time the festival will feature Julien Breton renowned for his Light Calligraphy.
Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, Mississauga is Canada’s 6th largest city and is part of the Greater Toronto Area that has a population of over 6 million people.
“Attendees will be able to indulge in an international culinary experience and walk through a modern Silk Road bazaar where merchants will be selling cultural clothes, interior design pieces and ornaments from across the world,” Sana Khawaja told IQRA.ca. “Children can enjoy camel and carnival rides, break a sweat at basketball tournaments and get creative at the all-day Arts and Crafts Tent.”
“Attendees will also be able to visit the Amphitheater for drumming and poetry sessions and workshops for youth.”
Launched in 2004, MuslimFest is a joint initiative of DawaNet, Young Muslims Canada, and Sound Vision.
It aims to connect with the broader community through the language of art, humor, and meaningful entertainment.
In its first year in 2004, about 4,000 people attended the one-day festival. It has since been expanded to two days and moved to the city’s public outdoor square, Celebration Square, where it attracts more than 25,000 visitors each year.
The festival was chosen by Festival and Events Ontario (FEO) as one of the top 100 festivals in the province in 2013.
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.
Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011. Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.
Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world and has been ranked the best place to live in a recent report on urban safety published by the Economist. The city has recently excelled as the host of the recently concluded Pan American games.
A recent survey has showed the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian.