Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer:
Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and it begins on the first sighting of the crescent moon. It was during this auspicious month that the holy Quran was revealed to the holy prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him.
As a proud Ismaili-Muslim senator, I am honoured to commemorate this joyous occasion with my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters around the world.
Muslims celebrate this month by participating in prayers and fasting during the day. After sunset, families and friends gather for Iftar, the evening meal.
During Ramadan, Muslims also remind themselves of people around the world who live hand to mouth in war-torn countries. At this time I am painfully aware of the conflicts that devastate Muslim countries.
I think of the crises like the plight of the Rohingya, who are currently suffering through a brutal ethnic cleansing across Myanmar.
I think of the people like Rehena Begum, a Rohingya woman who had to walk for four days with her baby to reach the river separating Myanmar and Bangladesh. She had to flee her home after Myanmar’s military burned down her home and slaughtered the rest of her family.
When Rehena Begum climbed on a boat to cross the river, Myanmar military came to their boat and started opening fire on anyone who tried to cross the river. While Rehena Begum’s boat managed to make the trip, each other boat that attempted the journey was gunned down and sunk.
This Ramadan, I think of Rehena Begum, her child and the countless other Rohingya who were senselessly killed when trying to escape over the border.
I respectfully ask that Canadians spare a thought for those who cannot celebrate this holy month in the sanctuary of their own homes.
I would like to invite Canadians of all faiths to take the opportunity and join in the Ramadan celebrations when Muslims celebrate Iftar or for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
Ramadan Mubarak to all.