Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator
The Community Partnership Network (CPN) recently hosted a half-day seminar that explored the cultural and faith practices of Syrian Refugees and Middle Eastern newcomers. More than 90 CPN members attended the session hosted at the Wingate Studio of the Pacific Opera Victoria. The CPN is a network of more than 230 local businesses, agencies and organizations. The CPN is coordinated by ICA and works with CPN members to promote diversity and inclusion by organizing education seminars, training workshops and sharing of resources.
The seminar included a panel presentation with three guest speakers who spoke on a range of topics:
- Imam Ismail Nur (Masjid Al-Iman Mosque) – What are the five pillars of Islam? What are the key cultural practices associated with Islam?
- Adam Yaghi (ICA RAP Housing Coordinator) – What are the cultural and faith identities of the Syrian refugees? What are some of the cultural barriers faced by Syrian refugees in adapting to a new life in Canada?
- Salma Eddiani (ICA Settlement Youth Worker) – How can your organization more effectively work with Syrian refugee youth and families?
A Global Cafe activity followed the panel presentation, with participants sharing ideas and responding to key questions about how our community can more effectively engage Syrian refugees and other newcomers from the Middle East. Members of the Syrian refugee community and the Mosque attended the seminar and joined in the Global Café tables where they shared their experiences as newcomers to Victoria.
One CPN member remarked: “I absolutely loved the Imam’s presentation about the five different pillars of Islam. The seminar definitely left me wanting to learn more about the Muslim religion so that I can shed light on it when I hear people talking fearfully about Islam.”
To conclude the seminar, CPN members and guests enjoyed a Mediterranean-style lunch, creating new friendships forged over food and conversation. Overall, participants’ agreed the seminar was a valued opportunity to bring community members together to foster a deeper understanding of Islam and our Muslim neighbours.
To see more photos of the seminar click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/66839147@N02/albums/72157677091448134
To learn more about the CPN or to become a member click here: http://www.icavictoria.org/community/cpn/become-cpn-member/
CPN Diversity Seminars are made possible thanks to generous funding from the United Way of Greater Victoria.