The favored annual arts, tradition and leisure pageant, MuslimFest, is hitting the street this weekend for a drive-in occasion within the parking zone of London’s Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario.
The drive-in MuslimFest, which is able to run on Sunday from 1 p.m. to Four p.m., marks the primary time that the pageant has left the Higher Toronto Space since its launch in 2004, and comes as different Islamic Historical past Month occasions are happening throughout the nation.
“This 12 months we tried, for the primary time, to get them to come back to London, and so we’re excited that they put their efforts collectively and obliged,” stated Dr. Munir El-Kassem, the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario’s director of spiritual affairs, in an interview this week with 980 CFPL’s Devon Peacock.
“It’s a pageant of tradition. It’s a pageant of individuals coming collectively,” he stated.
Described by its organizers as the biggest Muslim occasion in North America, the pared-down London version — the traditional pageant runs two days and has dozens of artists and performers and 1000’s of attendees — will nonetheless have loads of leisure over the course of its three-hour run time.
“It’s a celebration of artwork and music with out devices,” generally known as nasheed, El-Kassem stated.
“There can be crafts, there can be meals, there can be every kind of distinctive stage occasions … and this 12 months, due to COVID restrictions, we’re observing each little security element that we’re required to watch, and other people can be having fun with this system from the consolation of their vehicles.”
London is dwelling to Ontario’s first, and Canada’s second, mosque — the London Muslim Mosque on Oxford Avenue, which opened its doorways in 1964 — one thing El-Kassem believes performed an element within the pageant agreeing to come back to the town.
“They realized the significance of London for the historical past of Muslims. They usually additionally know that London has the biggest per-capita Muslim inhabitants within the nation, and the second in North America after Dearborn within the [United States].”
In accordance with the newest figures out there, London correct had a Muslim inhabitants of 15,780 folks in 2011, about 4.three per cent of the town’s then 360,720 inhabitants, making it the second-most distinguished faith within the metropolis behind folks of Christian religion who accounted for 62.eight per cent. London’s inhabitants grew to 383,822 by 2016. Up to date figures are anticipated to come back with the 2021 Census.
“The organizers are utilizing London as an experiment to transcend the GTA, however London undoubtedly can be on their stops for his or her annual excursions, as we had been informed,” El-Kassem stated.
Registration for Sunday’s occasion, which is open to all, is required. Tickets price just below $17 every. Extra data can be found online or by contacting the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario.
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