Community & Service
Special Ceremony of Re-affirmation of Canadian Citizenship
organized by the Ismaili Muslim Community of Mississauga on Saturday June 21, 2008 at the Rivergrove Community Centre, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
The City of Mississauga, situated on Lake Ontario, to the west of Toronto, is Canada’s 6th largest city. Over the last 40 years it has experienced considerable economic growth and development, and settlement by immigrants from all over the world. The settlement of the Ismaili community in the city can be traced to the early 1970’s when many members immigrated to Canada from the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Later, many Ismaili immigrants from the Indian sub-continent, and Central Asia also settled in the city. There are now approximately 800 – 1000 Ismailis now settled in the Mississauga area. Over the years most of these Ismaili immigrants who settled in the Mississauga area have undergone the process of acquiring Canadian citizenship and all are now well integrated into the Canadian multicultural mosaic.
In numerous country surveys done by the United Nations and other agencies, Canada ranks among the best countries in the world to live in and Canadian citizenship is one of the most prized in the world. All landed immigrants to Canada are eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship after three years of residency in Canada. The process of applying for Canadian citizenship consists of completing a series of tests on Canadian knowledge and interviews with a Citizenship Judge. After successfully completing this process, Canadian citizenship is granted as part of an elaborate oath ceremony conducted by a Citizenship Judge where a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is presented to the applicant. The ceremony represents a major emotional and milestone event in the life of every immigrant to Canada. After the granting of Canadian citizenship, an immigrant to Canada is henceforth entitled to full rights and privileges and benefits and responsibilities that Canada grants all its citizens.
Over the years, the Ismaili community volunteer corps in Mississauga has also been a regular host community of Canadian Citizenship court ceremonies where new citizens of Canada are sworn in by the Citizenship Court judge. This gesture has been a major outreach contribution by the Ismaili community to the community at large of Mississauga.
To commemorate the 35 years of the settlement of the Ismaili Muslim community in the City of Mississauga and Province of Ontario and Canada, a Special Ceremony of Re-affirmation of Canadian Citizenship was organized by the local Ismaili Community to recognize the importance of and reaffirm their Canadian citizenship.
The event was organized under the auspices of the local community leadership comprising Mukhi and Mukhiani Minaz and Parin Sidi and Kamadia and Kamadiani Al Karim and Shenaz Jaffer and Mr. Mahendi Ladhani and Ms Romina Kassam. Over 100 Ismailis residing in the City of Mississauga attended the event to re-affirm their Oath of Canadian Citizenship. The event was organized in the context of a Citizenship ceremony court and Mr. Arif Kassam, a member of the Ismaili community, acted as the Clerk of the Court.
The Citizenship Court was presided by His Honor, Judge Kris Mohan, and was graced by the Mayor of Mississauga, Her Worship Hazel McCallion, local Member of Parliament for Streetsville, Mississauga, Mr. Wajid Khan, Mr. Joe Carelli, Manager Citizenship Office and other dignitaries. In his opening remarks, Judge Mohan recognized the contribution and exemplary voluntary services that Ismaili community of Mississauga renders in all spheres of public and private activity and referred to the members of the Ismaili community as excellent Canadian citizen role models. Judge Mohan then led all the members present in taking the oath of citizenship and presented certificates in recognition of the reaffirmation. The dignitaries than congratulated all present and in her speech, Her Worship the Mayor of the City of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion also recognized the Ismaili community and its dedicated volunteers and the services they perform for the community at large. Mr Wajid Khan, Member of Parliament, Streetsville, also complimented the community and mentioned the Aga Khan Foundation and its development work and programs in areas such as education, gender equality and health services in Asia and Africa. Closing remarks were made by the local Ismaili community leadership and the ceremony then concluded with the recital of the National Anthem – “O Canada” by Aliya Fazal. There was a reception with light refreshments for all who attended.
In summary, the Reaffirmation of Canadian Citizenship event marked a special milestone for the Ismaili community of Mississauga as it provided an opportunity for members to reflect on their 35 years of settlement in the City of Mississauga and being citizens of Canada and also recognize the Golden Jubilee of Mowlana Hazar Imam and the Imamat’s contributions to the world at large.