Regina’s Muslim community is busy preparing for however many Syrian refugees the federal government wants the Queen City to take in.
Immigration Minister John McCallum is set to announce his plan Tuesday on how and when refugees will resettle into Canada. As that happens, the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan (IAOS) in Regina has been hard at work in anticipation of what’s to come. The IAOS has gathered together the services of dozens of volunteers who are willing to donate their time, effort and money to make sure the transition for refugees goes as smoothly as possible.
“We will support that and do whatever it takes us to serve the newcomers,” said IAOS Regina board director Hossam Farouk.
He explained how volunteers have already held a number of food, clothing and furniture drives. The intention is to put together welcome dinners and make sure refugees have the proper winter clothing when they arrive.
Farouk said some people want to help teach English or serve as transportation so that newcomers can easily find grocery stores and health clinics.
“When they come, some of them still have, maybe, injuries. So we need to work together to help them,” he said.
A Facebook page entitled “We Can All Help” was created to help co-ordinate volunteer efforts.
Farouk insisted things have not changed in the Muslim community in the Queen City after the terrorist attacks in Paris; he’s treated with the same respect and dignity as he’s always been. In fact, after stories emerged out of Ontario where a Mosque was burned and two other perceived hate crimes took place against Muslims there, people in Regina delivered flowers and cards of support to the Mosque on Montague Street.
“Muslims are not taking a part of the community. They are involved in the community,” he stated. “I, myself, expect (the refugees) will serve Canada and work for a better future for Canada.”
Despite dozens of people coming forth to lend a hand in the resettlement process, Farouk is still hoping more volunteers will step up to help. Besides the Facebook page, those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the volunteer contact form.