Men, women and children of the Dawoodi Bohra community of Vancouver marked this year’s Canada Day by raising the flag, singing the National Anthem in English and French, and remembering the lost indigenous children.
Mayor of Surrey, Doug MacCallum, sent a message that was read out during the celebrations. It said, “Immigration has played a critical role in the building of Canada, and I want to welcome those who have come to this country seeking a better life.”
As patriotic Canadians, the Dawoodi Bohras of Vancouver are committed to working with all communities in order to make a positive contribution to society. The Bohras also hold that love for one’s country is an integral part of faith. Addressing the congregation, the leader of the community, Amil Saheb, Sheikh Huzeifa Aftab, said, “We feel blessed to have experienced such a beautiful country with its beautiful people. The Bohras here strive to positively contribute to the society of Vancouver as well as Canada as a whole, and count themselves as proud patriotic citizens of Canada.”
He continued, “We also recognize that this land was inhabited and cared for by the Indigenous peoples for thousands of years – before any of us had the opportunity to call it our home. While we remain grateful for the national anthem that the children sang today, we mourn and grieve for the hundreds, if not thousands, of children who were robbed of the opportunity to see better days. As we celebrate this day we also remember the lives lost of those for whom Canada was their home. Let us resolve today to spread love and eliminate all sorts of hatred and make sure that this flag waves with pride.”
All attendees observed a 2-minute silence for the children of the First Nations, while the flag was lowered to half-mast.