Statement of Solidarity #Black Lives Matter

As millions of people around the world unite to speak out against the killing of George Floyd, many are grappling with grief, anger and anxiety. We are heartbroken and outraged at the senseless violence targeting the Black community and recognize that systemic racism is a problem not only in the United States but here in Canada and around the world. The belief that there is little to no racism in Canada is in itself a barrier to addressing it. We acknowledge that we can all do better and need to look inward to see how we can make long-term and sustainable change and on both individual and communal levels must engage in these important conversations.

To our Black friends, congregation members, neighbours, and valued community members, please know that we see you, we hear you, and we stand alongside you. Taking responsibility and striving to do better is fundamental to the mission, vision, and values of the Interfaith Council of Peel and what we stand for.

We call upon our leaders to address ongoing racism in all sectors and levels of society. We challenge our faith communities to act on local and national levels to support Black and Indigenous people both directly and on a systemic level. We must all do the hard work together advocating for policy change and for confronting racism within our own communities, including our congregations. Each of us must do the hard work of looking inwards and confronting our biases, fears, assumptions and privilege. We must take on the task of educating ourselves on how white privilege and systemic racism contribute to injustice and inequality in Canada. We need to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations as we do the deep listening work of learning from the lived experience of the Black community, whose voices and stories guide the rest of us in our fervent work to confront and put an end to racism.

Our faith traditions call upon us to work together towards making this world one of justice, wholeness, and compassion. We encourage each of you to connect with your own faith community to reflect on the challenging days that have passed, join together in prayers for justice and healing and commit to a process of learning and discernment together. We encourage faith communities to create ongoing opportunities for engagement efforts to confront systemic racism, shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people. The work of these critical conversations and active participation in standing up for racial justice is ongoing. While this is a challenging time, we draw strength knowing that as communities of faith we can continue to learn and push for change.

affirmed by Interfaith Council of Peel Steering Committee

June 10, 2020

Calls for Prayers

The letter of support sent by ICP to the Mayor’s Office May 2020 over the Council’s decision to allow the broadcast of calls to prayers during Ramadan.

Dear Mayor Bonnie Crombie,

The Interfaith Council of Peel supports the City of Mississauga’s resolution to approve the broadcast of calls for prayers to all faiths in the city. In this pandemic time, so much has been taken from us, and especially from communities of faith who yearn to gather not only for worship and celebration, but also to do good work in our neighbourhoods and our city, and to support one another in both good and challenging times.  Rather than thinking of this simple action as divisive, or favouring one group over another, may it be a reminder that members of our community are deeply missing each other, that our lives personally and collectively have changed.  May this call be a reminder to take just a few moments to think of those who cannot gather: celebrating families and grieving families, friends and social groups, even sports teams – and faith communities; to be thankful for healthcare workers, police, fire and EMT’s, and people on the front lines, for workers who are performing essential roles to keep us safe and to keep our communities going; to pray for courage for our leaders who are making hard decisions; to pray for people who face hate and discrimination brought on by fear and anger.  Each faith has ways that outwardly inspire and encourage their congregations and we are in support of the City and Mayor’s efforts especially in this very challenging time to enable faith communities and faith leaders to reach out and support our diverse community and bring us together in a spirit of hope and comfort. 

The Interfaith Council of Peel

Chair: Rabbi Audrey Pollack, Solel Congregation of Mississauga

Co-Chair:Urz Heer, Canadian Sufi Centre

Rowshan Shams, The Bahai Community of Mississauga

Wilson Yau, Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple

Rev. Joanne Hedge, Applewood United Church

Pastor Richard Edwards, Mt.Zion House of Praise

Varsha Naik, Hindu Faith Community
Arliene Botnick, Solel Congregation of Mississauga

Rabia Khedr, Muslim Council of Peel

Amtul Ahmad, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat

Seema Khan, ISNA Canada

Harmanpreet Singh, Sikh Faith Community

Fred Mirza, Zoroastrian Society of Ontario

Rev. Fiona Heath, Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga

Andrea Rowe – Greening Sacred Spaces Peel-Halton

Ashley Bigda, Community Relations PDSB

Michelle McLeish, Region of Peel Human Services & Community Relations

In Solidarity

The Interfaith Council of Peel expresses our deepest condolences to the Christian community in Sri Lanka and worldwide, following the horrific attacks on Easter Sunday. On a day of rejoicing for the Christian community, a day that heralds the promise of peace and redemption, innocent lives were cut off by cruelty and hate. 

We extend sympathy to the mourners and pray for the healing of the survivors and all who were injured in the attacks at Anthony’s, St. Sebastian’s and Zion churches, the Shangri-La, Kingsbury, and Cinnamon Grand hotels, and in the streets.

Sunday’s atrocity follows upon the mass murder of Jews at prayer in Pittsburgh in October and the massacre of Muslims at prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand last month. Each of these attacks are horrifying in their own right. The terrorism perpetrated against those innocent lives, as they gathered in prayer, is a threat to free religious observance worldwide. As people of faith, we stand together against violence targeting religious groups and violence perpetrated in the name of religion. 

We stand with our Sri Lankan and Christian friends and neighbours at this painful time.

Ring of Peace – Solidarity with Solel

Dear members of the Interfaith community:

Last weekend, a horrible incident took place in Pittsburg and members of the Jewish community were attacked. A gunman murdered 11 Jews at prayer in a Pittsburgh synagogue last Saturday – while screaming “all Jews must die”

Members of the interfaith community have condemned this and also expressed an interest in standing in solidarity with Jews against this act of hate and have thus organized a peaceful show of support via a ‘Ring of Peace’ THIS Saturday morning before Solel’s Shabbat service.

What: Ring of Peace around Solel Synagogue
When: Sat Nov 3, 9:30am-12:30pm (Service is from 10-11:30am)
Where : 2399 Folkway Dr, Mississauga, ON L5L 2M6
Who: Anyone
Why: To show solidarity with the Jewish community

How: Form a human chain (aka Ring of Peace) standing outside around Solel Congregation (Synagogue)

Attire: Dress warm. Wear winter gear and comfortable shoes as we will be standing outside the synagogue

Some considerations:

Please use public transit or carpool and use side street parking (so as to not inconvenience members who need to park)
Please do not block entrances while standing and allow congregants to easily walk in.
Please be respectful, do not chant or sing and allow for our silent presence to be appreciated by those mourning in the community.
Please do not be disruptive of the service taking place inside.
You may greet congregants by saying Shabbat Shalom which means ‘peace on the Sabbath’


More info about Shabbat-

Background on Ring of Peace:

Urz Heer- Co-Chair of the Interfaith Council of Peel

Imam Dr Hamid Slimi – Founder of the Muslim Council of Peel