To preserve Uyghur Culture, Uyghur Canadians opened religious and cultural Center
On Saturday, September 25, the Uyghurs of Canada celebrated the opening of a new Uyghur Community Center, the Uyghur Canadian Islamic & Cultural Center in Hamilton, Ontario.
Politicians, Christians, and Muslim leaders from Canada joined Uyghur activists, as well as religious scholars (ULAMA) from Turkey, Australia, Europe, and the United States.
“This is a historic event for Uyghurs in Canada as well as for Uyghurs around the world, in our homeland East Turkistan, the Chinese government has been committing genocide against our people and also banned our faith and culture, our identity from being practiced, We Uyghurs In Canada, are making all efforts to keep our identity, culture, and religion alive. We thank the Canadian people for supporting the Uyghur people. We thank Mount Carmel Church for understanding us and helping us to make this happen. By the way, We are grateful to the Canadian Parliament for recognizing the Uyghur genocide. ” Tuyghun Abduweli, the President of Canadian East Turkistan Association, told Uyghur Times.
Mount Carmel Church was built in 1873 and, after being converted into a mosque, was named the Islamic and Cultural Center of the Canadian Uyghurs.
The last pastor of Mount Carmel Church, Robin Wilkie, also attended the opening ceremony. He is glad that the building, which for many years was a place of worship, today again accepts believers, even if adherents of a different religion.
Wilkie called the pressure and extermination policies China is using against the Uyghurs unacceptable.“I heard that children are forcibly separated from their families and sent to boarding schools,” he said.
According to Tuyghun Abduweli, Uyghurs in and around Toronto have long needed a center where they can pray and hold social events.
Alimjan, an Uyghur Canadian activist, told Uyghur Times that the center is not only a religious center but also a cultural and advocacy base for Uyghurs in Canada.
Sameer Zuberi, a Liberal Candidate In Pierrefonds, who also joined the event, said on Twitter sharing a photo with Kamila, the wife of Huseyin Celil who has been imprisoned in China for 15 years: Today, I attended the #Uyghur Canadian Islamic & Cultural Centre grand opening in Troy, Ontario. Beside me is Kamila Talendibaeva, #HuseiynCelil’s wife. My thoughts are with Mr. Celil, who has been jailed in China for more than 15 years. Hoping for Mr. Celil’s release soon.”
Dolkun Isa, the President of the World Uyghur Congress, has also traveled from Germany to attend the ceremony. He said, “ We congratulate the Uyghur community of Canada. Your hard work and unity are a good example for Uyghurs around the world.”
Rushan Abbas, the Executive Director of Campaign for Uyghurs said "It is so wonderful to see our brothers and sisters in faith altogether in such a great occasion to celebrate our unity and bond with the opening of this Uyghur Mosque in Toronto. The values all humanity share, the
human dignity that we glorify, the compassion and empathy we all embrace, what brought us together today is under attack with Beijing’s war on freedom and democracy and the Uyghur genocide while Uyghur women’s bodies being the battlefield."
"while the CCP is destroying more than 16,000 mosques in East Turkistan, it's important to have established this Uyghur mosque in Toronto. The Uyghurs are at the forefront of this battlefield against the fight with the CCP's war on Islam, and the Uyghur mosque is a vital step onward.", Said Abdulhakim Idris, the Inspector General of World Uyghur Congress in his speech provided to Uyghur Times.
After the official ceremony, the guests were treated to national Uyghur dishes.
The building of the church was purchased for 610 thousand Canadian dollars; the mosque will soon be open for prayers.