The Alberta government is proud to proclaim October as Islamic Heritage Month to celebrate the Muslim communities who are helping to build this province.
With this proclamation, Alberta joins other Canadian jurisdictions in officially recognizing and celebrating the contributions of our diverse Islamic communities.
“Alberta’s Muslim communities are an integral part of our cultural, economic, social and historical richness. I hope all Albertans will take this opportunity to learn more about Islam and how Muslims have shaped our province’s heritage and strengthened our diversity.”
~Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services
Muslims have been part of Alberta’s history for generations. Early settlers helped to connect the country by laying the tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway, built grain elevators in Alberta’s south and bartered for furs with First Nations. Today, Alberta Muslims are ethnically diverse, have a variety of professional backgrounds and represent many interpretations of Islam.
“Islamic Heritage Month is an occasion to celebrate the diversity of the people who follow the Islamic faith and to recognize their significant contributions to our communities as spiritual, political and social leaders. I am proud so many Muslims choose to call Alberta home.”
~Christina Gray, Minister of Labour
“As Albertans, we are privileged to witness and take part in the proclamation of Islamic Heritage Month. This recognition will last throughout the years as a reminder for every Albertan to be proud of our collective identity. This proclamation is about celebrating community and supporting our efforts towards making Alberta an even better place to live in.”
~Dr. Nahla Gomaa, interfaith chair, Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities
- The first mosque in Canada – the Al-Rashid Mosque – was built in Edmonton in 1938 and is preserved as a historical site at Fort Edmonton Park.
- The Al Kareem Mosque in Lac La Biche was the second mosque built in Canada.
- According to Statistics Canada, Islam is the fastest-growing religious group in the country, with more than 1.1 million members.
- The Aga Khan Garden, a 4.8-hectare garden made possible by a $25-million donation from His Highness the Aga Khan, was officially inaugurated on Oct. 16, 2018.
- Distinguished Alberta Muslims include feminists Hilwie Hamdon and Lila Fahlman who have Edmonton public schools named for them in recognition of their contributions.
- Larry Shaben served as an MLA representing Lesser Slave Lake from 1975 to 1980, and was the first Muslim in Canada to serve as a cabinet minister.
- Canada’s first Muslim MP, Rahim Jaffer, represented Edmonton-Strathcona from 1997 to 2008.
- Naheed Nenshi is the first Muslim mayor of a major city in Canada.