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On Refugees and Muslims

(MULTIPLE PHOTOS) This weekend was filled with intense emotions around refugees and Muslims. A weird pairing but perhaps telling about our current political state. On Friday came good news as the father of a Muslim refugee family that a group of us sponsored landed a full time job. He's only been here about 2 months, but he will now do English schooling all morning and work from 3-11pm each day. They experienced horrors in Syria but they seem optimistic and determined. The same day brought bad news. The American president banned refugees and those from certain (Muslim majority) countries from entering the USA. To ban refugees escaping war and persecution, the neediest amongst us, is a move that I struggle to comprehend. The next evening, I was moved & inspired at a gala honouring prison chaplains when Canada's Minister of Immigration and Refugees spoke. In one of life's ironies, the minister Ahmed Hussen, came to Canada as a Somalian refugee (Somalia is now black-listed in the US). Hussen got 2 university degrees, raised millions to revitalize the poor Toronto neighbourhood he grew up in, and is now a government cabinet minister. An impressive person. Everything finally crashed the next day when a Quebec mosque was attacked and people killed for no reason other than their identity. Finally, tonight, I just came from a vigil held in my small town where 500 people showed up to the mosque to express solidarity and love to the local Muslim community. Fear of others causes so much violence. And yet, so much can be gained when overcome.

The Rt Honourable Ahmed Hussen, former refugee, now Canadian government minister

Flyer for the vigil in Guelph where 500 overflowed the mosque

Three packed rooms at the vigil. Not bad at all.

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