Muslim youths looking to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples

Muslim youths looking to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples

Muslim youths will be engaged in a project that aims to build trusting relationships with Indigenous communities.

“We will be launching this initiative on Orange Shirt Day, i.e., the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation when Canadians will reflect on their commitment towards the Indigenous communities,” says Imam Irshad Osman, a project facilitator. “This will be a youth-oriented first step in a continuing journey in Muslim-Indigenous dialogue.”

“The program aims to introduce Muslim youths to Indigenous history, culture, spirituality, and values.”

Imam Irshad Osman

Imam Osman and his co-facilitators, Imam Noman Tarek and Taha Ghayyur, started the initiative for Muslim youths as they felt the need to raise awareness about Indigenous peoples in the Muslim commnunity.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued 94 “calls to action” in their 2015 report to further the reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples,” says Imam Osman. “However, public awareness for such measures among Muslims, who are part of settler colonialism history through migration, is lacking and, even if it does, that would be limited to advocacy and relief support.”

The project will be offered to Muslim youth, aged 13 – 20, and will include an education module, as well as meetings with Indigenous Elders and visiting a First Nations reserve.

On Thursday, September 30, 2021 Canada will mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.This day fulfills the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call-to-Action #80 and will serve as a day of remembrance, reflection, action and learning. Since 2013, September 30 has been known as Orange Shirt Day, a day to recognize the tragic history and long-standing effects of residential schools.