Ottawa, Canada: A ceremony was held to distribute the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award. The event was attended by the recipients, the Mayor of Ottawa and city councillors, Members of Parliament and of the Ontario legislature, local imams, Muslim diplomats, leaders of other faith groups, and the media.
The event was sponsored by the Ottawa Muslim Association, which was formed in 1962 and which built Ottawa’s first mosque, and by the Muslim Coordinating Council of the National Capital Region, which was formed four years ago to prod Muslim organizations to work together to uplift the Muslim community, work with Canadians of other faiths to promote human rights for all Canadians and to speak to the government and the media with one voice. Muslims number some 65,000 people. The council includes 40 Muslim groups.
Last year the Canadian government announced that it will award the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals to 60,000 Canadians — 6,000 in each of the 10 provinces. Only Senators, members of the House of Commons, provincial premiers and 250 partner organizations selected by the Department of Canadian Heritage could make the nominations. No Muslim organization of the National Capital Region was considered worthy to be chosen as a partner organization.
However, Ontario decided that it would accept nominations from the public and choose the best among Ontarians. Member of Provincial Assembly from Ottawa Centre Yasir Naqvi sent this information to his constituents. MCC selected 50 Muslims who met the award’s criteria and its executive nominated the 50. MCC thanked Mr. Naqvi and urged all member organizations to make their own nominations as well.
Ten of MCC’s nominees were selected among 22 Muslims chosen from the area.
Ottawa Mayor James Watson, New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Paul Dewar, Conservative Party Member of Parliament Royal Galipeau and Liberal Member of Provincial parliament Yasir Naqvi praised Muslims’ ongoing contributions to Canada.
MCC and OMA presented their own awards to the recipients as well as to MCC;’ main volunteers and families of those who played a big part in building Ottawa’s first mosque.