1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 54

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of a group of 12 young indigenous leaders visiting the Senate in celebration of National Aboriginal Day. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Dyck and the Honourable Senator Patterson.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Muslim Youth in Canada

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: On Saturday, June 11, 2016, I had the pleasure of attending the twenty-first annual Iftar Mahfil, or breaking of the fast, of the Canada Bangladesh Muslim Community in Ottawa.

This event, which brings together hundreds of Canadians within Ottawa’s Bangladeshi Muslim community, is organized and run from beginning to end by volunteers from the Canada Bangladesh community.

Today we have in the gallery students from the Canada Bangladesh Muslim community. I asked them to attend today and to visit our place of work, the Parliament of Canada.

Honourable senators, I rise here today to recognize the hard work of these young men and women and also recognize some who have excelled in their work. While I cannot mention each student here today by name, I want each one of them to know that we do recognize all their efforts and hard work.

There are seven students who have won prizes for their exceptional writing skills of what it is to be a Muslim in Canada from the Canada Bangladesh Muslim Community’s annual youth essay competitions and one student who has won the Canada Bangladesh Muslim Community Student of the Year scholarship.

These students are: Sameer Ashraf, Tanvir Ahmed, Ahnaf Sabeer Khan, Tabassum Howlader, Nahiyan Ishtiaque, Jibran Hossain and Abrar Kazi.

Honourable senators, I would like to take a moment to speak about Abrar Kazi.

Abrar Kazi, the recipient of the 2016 Student of the Year scholarship, has received multiple awards during his academic career. Abrar obtained a score of 142 out of 150 in the University of Waterloo’s Gauss Math Competition, placing first in his school. He placed fourth out of 208 in the University of Ottawa’s Horizon Math Competition.

He completed high school in three rather than the standard four years it takes to complete high school in Ottawa. Abrar also graduated with a 97 per cent average in his Grade 12 year.

Finally, Abrar has accepted a $16,000 scholarship from Carleton University, where he intends to pursue his undergraduate studies in math and computer science in the fall.

Speaker, the students want me to thank you and the Black Rod. They specifically wanted me to tell you that the two of you have welcomed them here today, as have all the senators, and they will always remember your courtesies.

Honourable senators, in a world which is plagued with negative stereotypes of Muslims, especially young Muslims, I ask you to join me here today in recognizing these hard-working Canadian youth. These remarkable people will become our future leaders who will continue to build this remarkable country of ours — Canada.

To the young people, I know I speak for all here that Parliament belongs to all Canadians, and you are always welcome to visit us again. The Parliament of Canada belongs to all of Canada.