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Canada: A model of peaceful pluralism

Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism, addressed participants of the Jalsa Salana 2014 International Convention in London, England, highlighting Canada’s leadership on human rights issues and emphasizing the importance of religious acceptance and inclusion, in both Canada and abroad.

Uppal was in London as part of the Canadian delegation to the Jalsa Salana UK 2014 convention, the formal annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. 

The convention aims to facilitate greater spiritual awareness amongst community members, strengthen community ties and promote peace. 

The event includes religious discourses and inter-faith sessions.

Speaking to participants, Uppal highlighted Canada’s internationally-respected approach to multiculturalism and religious freedom, emphasizing the importance Canada places on accepting all cultures while promoting their adherence to Canadian traditions and values. 

He also recognized the positive contributions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Canada, and praised the community for its commitment to peace, acceptance and equality.
A few quick facts:

Canada established the Office of Religious Freedom in February 2013 and has established itself as a world leader in advancing and defending religious freedom around the world.
The Office of Religious Freedom focuses on advocacy, analysis, policy development and programming relating to protecting and advocating for the rights of religious communities facing threat and persecution.

The opening of the Office was announced at the Ahmadiyya headquarters and mosque in Maple, Ontario.

The first Jalsa Salana convention was held on December 27, 1891 in Qadian, India, and was initiated by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

“Canada is committed to ensuring that all Canadians are free to practise whichever religion they choose without fear of violence or persecution,” said Uppal. 

“These values are ones which we aspire to see reflected not only in Canada but throughout the international community as well.  I commend His Holiness Hadh-rat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih and the international Ahmadiyya Muslim community for their efforts to promote peace and understanding around the world.”

Jason Kenney, Minister for Employment, Social Development and Multiculturalism, greeted the leader of the ancient Coptic Orthodox church upon his arrival in Toronto, on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian government.

Pope Tawadros II, who became the 118th leader of the Coptic Orthodox church on November 19, 2012, arrived in Toronto to officially begin his month-long Canadian visit. 

His first trip to Canada will include the consecration of the first Coptic cathedral in North America, Markham’s St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, visits to other parishes across Canada, meetings with religious leaders, and the delivery of a lecture at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, joined Kenney in Toronto to greet Pope Tawadros.

A few quick facts:
Copts are among the oldest Christian communities in the world, having preserved their traditions for nearly two millennia in Egypt. Canada is home to some 50,000 Coptic Orthodox Christians.
In March 2013, Pope Tawadros II appointed Canada’s first Coptic bishop, Bishop Mina.
Kenney attended the enthronement of His Holiness in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2012 on behalf of the Government of Canada.

“His Holiness is visiting one of the most vibrant Coptic communities in the world, here in Canada”said Kenney. 

“Canada’s growing Coptic Christian community has been a model of successful integration and reflects the very best of our country’s pluralism. We are deeply honoured that His Holiness has dedicated a full month to visit communities across our great country, and I look forward to discussing matters of shared concern with him, including the plight of persecuted faith communities throughout the Middle East.”

“Canada is pleased to welcome Pope Tawadros, his visit marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the first Coptic Orthodox community in North America,” said Bennett. 
“Through our Office of Religious Freedom we continue to work with the community in Egypt and elsewhere to promote the rights of Coptic Christians as well as to protect all those threatened and persecuted around the world.”

Posted: Sep 30, 2014

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