One Love Canada spreads nothing but love!

Posted on Feb 19, 2017 by Anela Jadunandan

Group Photo at One Love Gala
Group Photo at One Love Gala

With today's troubling news all around, it was no wonder people flocked to the One Love Gala, inspired by the great Bob Marley done in celebration of Canada's 150th Birthday. It was a Red, White and black (tie) event that carried into the evening at the Elite Banquet Hall in Etobicoke on Jan 28, 2017.

Tasheka, Anela, Bri-ann Swan, MP Iqra Khalid, Sherry and Habeeb
Tasheka, Anela, Bri-ann Swan, MP Iqra Khalid, Sherry and Habeeb

Imam Habeeb Alli, the brainchild behind this initiative has done this 4 times before. Each year it only gets bigger and better. It is his way of bringing awareness of Canada's chaplaincy and the great work they do. Canada's new Immigration and Citizenship Minister, Ahmed Hassan (York-South Weston), made a surprise visit and got a standing ovation for his rousing speech. MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills) also took to the stage and imparted some words of enlightenment. She said we are proud to live in Canada, a country where respect and understanding among the diverse communities has no match in the world.

Iqra Khalid, Federal MP at the podium
Iqra Khalid, Federal MP at the podium

Performers included Renee Henry who gave us a powerful rendition of Oh Canada as the red and white, maple leaf neon lights on the podium also twinkled to the rhythm. The mostly Muslim volunteers and theme was applauded by the various faith leaders and friends who attended.

Drum Player
Drum Player

Toronto's own Bri-Anne Swan, singer, song-writer, artist and Pastor for United Church in Toronto, is an avid advocate for people on death row in the US. A woman with heart, spirit and talent was the special guest for the evening. She sang and told the story of her meeting with a prisoner on death row in Texas. Becoming his inspiration and mentor during his last days was a true expression of love and compassion.

Imams Hamid Slimi and Imran Alli
Imams Hamid Slimi and Imran Alli

Then it was Awards time where several members of the community received beautiful mementos for their outstanding leadership, academic achievement, community service, advocacy, volunteerism and love. The awards were the: Malcolm X Social Justice Award,
Tayibah Taylor Award, Ghulam Sajan Award, Lyla Ali Education and Community Service Award, and the Carl Rayaz Jadunandan Humanitarian Award. A list of the awardees can be found at:

The six Interfaith speakers gave ode to our spiritual sense of gratitude for living in a great country like Canada.

The silent auction, door prizes, fabulous dinner and entertainment left no stone unturned.

Tasheka Lavaan, Anela Jadunandan and Karan Singh were the emcees who held it together for the evening. To top things off, Mehboob Shaikh, Naz Khan and DJ Riyad kept the crowd on their feet for the rest of the evening.

Inspiration, Selfies, Food, Fun, and Music. Bob Marley would have been proud!

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