By Trevor Robb, Postmedia Network, January 09, 2016
Hundreds of Syrian refugees new to Edmonton were treated to dinner and conversation at a friendly meet and greet event at a southeast community centre Saturday.
For Fahima Khan, it’s been over six years since her husband came to Edmonton from Syria, but she says her family was still very eager to meet the new refugees arriving in Edmonton.
“They get to know people, and they get to share their point of views and what happened to them. And they feel good about it,” said the 36-year-old Afghanistan-born Edmontonian. “The most important thing is that they have arrived here safely and are healthy. That’s the most important thing.”
Saturday’s meet and greet was put on by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Edmonton, and held at the Leefield Community Centre, 7910 36 Ave. Since 2012, ICNA has raised over $1 million to provide health care, education, winter supplies, and food and water to needy Syrian refugees and aims to bring 100 Syrian families to Canada over the next three years.
“Recently, we welcomed a number of families who arrived in Edmonton at the airport, so we thought it would be nice to bring them here, have dinner with them, and get to know those Syrian refugees so that we can have a direct link with them, and basically help them in any way, shape or form,” said Dr. Umar Qasim, with ICNA Edmonton.
The event comes just one day after a group of Syrian refugees, including children, were pepper sprayed at a similar meet and greet event in Vancouver. Police are still searching for the suspect, described as a man wearing a white hoodie who was riding a bicycle at the time.
But isolated events like these don’t worry Qasim.
“It’s very safe within the Edmonton community, and there is a lot of good in the Edmonton community. A one-off incident can happen anywhere,” said Qasim. “Just because one person acts alone, doesn’t mean they represent the other 35 million people (in Canada).”
The federal government has committed to welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of next month.
Article Courtesy: Edmonton Sun