The easing of COVID restrictions in Ontario is well-timed as Muslims begin celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. The 30 days of religious observance begins on April 2 and ends on May 2, marking a time for spiritual growth, reflection and spending time with loved ones.
During this holy period, members of the Muslim community will engage in prayers and fasting between sunrise and sunset. In the evening, Muslims will come together for iftar, which is an evening meal taken at sundown to break their daily fast.
For many Muslims, this marks the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that in-person gatherings will be possible. Unlike the past two years, celebrations and gatherings needed to be cancelled or held virtually. However 2022 marks a milestone with the return of traditional celebrations unencumbered by restrictions.
Regrettably, in recent weeks we have witnessed senseless and heinous attacks towards Muslims. In Mississauga, we heard of an assailant entering a mosque with bear spray and an axe with intent to harm people. Thankfully, he was subdued and no serious injuries were reported. Undoubtedly, this has left many Muslims feeling unsettled and vulnerable. It is unfortunate that Muslims must remain vigilant during this holy month.
We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder when strongly denouncing acts of hatred and Islamophobia that continue to rise. Nevertheless, the resilience and unity among the Muslim community has been ubiquitous and strong.
To all our Muslim staff, members and friends, we wish you “Ramadan Mubarak”.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer