I think that was really a productive session that we had
We’re thinking about constructing religious infrastructure and not thinking about the community outside of our, of our box
We’ve created, uh, a lot of programming where we, um, educate the media about Islamophobia. We educate community leaders, even, uh, police officers on when they attend on call to the mosque on how to deal with, uh, Muslim individuals. And if you recall, we had, uh, the New Zealand shootings that happened a couple years ago, and mind you, us, our family being from Fiji –New Zealand and Fiji are neighbors — so we actually knew one or two people that perished in that mosque during those shootings from, uh, being priests in the local cities in Fiji.
And yeah, we’re, we’re bad about it
This is the, this is something that I learned, uh, when dealing in, during my IVLP Program, it’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to be sad, because having those feelings inside is what’s gonna break you, but we need to have interaction. We need to communicate to understand each other’s feelings.
10 years ago, uh, I would never see, um, a priest or a rabbi or, um, a guru, or have any, any ethnic background in my mosque.
() And this happens with a lot of organizations – like we think within the box, we’re, we’re in a different mindset. And once we had all of this put together, then you said, “Hey, you know what? We can’t be always in our box together.”
And we, we in our main office in Richmond, British Columbia, which is the same city as where our airport is, is on a street and you can Google it. It’s called “The Highway to Heaven.” On that street, you have every single ethnic group’s places of worship. “Highway to Heaven” in Richmond. So you have a synagogue, you have a church, you have a Sikh gurdwara, you have a Hindu mantra, and you have a Shia mosque and you have a [inaudible ], all on the same block. So, this is what, uh, created and broke the ice. It just so happens in the area. And this is so weird that in that area, um, they were running, if you know, a little bit about plumbing, they were running on septic tanks. So every couple of months, a truck would have to come and take the sludge out of all of the people’s tanks.
And what happened was the city wanted to change that into a full sewer system. But in order for us to change into a sewer system, the pipes needed to go through each other’s properties, right? And we never spoke to each other. And when this initiative came and we had a community meeting, that’s what broke the ice, something so small, and it created a, a, a connection and it created an interfaith dialogue. It created a lot of awareness. ()
Um, now, uh, its comes nowadays. It’s like, we have a church payday loans Hawaii, a Fijian church, uh, right next to us. And during, on Friday prayers, they give us their full parking. Some people park like they’re parking, uh, you know, uh, like on the middle of a dark road, and they’re tolerant because they understand.
When we had the, uh, New Zealand Massacre, there were individuals that were coming to our mosque with flowers, me growing up. I never experienced that. I never saw that, that someone would be coming to my mosque with flowers. Um, and, uh, these were the changes that we seen, that the people around us actually understood who we are. And, uh, they tolerated us. They might not agree. We might not agree, but that doesn’t mean that we should be able not to coexist.