Why Give to the Poor in Canada?
- Charity begins at home! Without belittling the need to contribute to various humanitarian causes internationally, Muslims in Canada must take care of their own neighbourhoods first.
- Over a million Canadians identify themselves as Muslim, according to the 2011 National Household Survey. Muslims represent 3.2 per cent of the country’s total population.
5% of Greater Toronto Area is Muslim. Muslims in certain suburbs constitute 10% of the total population. If we collect and distribute Zakat locally, we could do a lot more for Islam and Muslims in Canada.
- Muslim population in Canada has increased by 82% over the past decade. Islam is the fastest growing faith in Canada. With this increase in population comes the urgency to provide appropriate social and welfare services that many in the Muslim community need.
- The 4 poorest of all ethno-racial groups in the Greater Toronto Area, with more than 50% of their members living below Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off, are Somalis, Afghans, Ethiopians and Bangladeshi populations – all from predominately Muslim countries
- At least 30 per cent of Pakistanis and West Asians in the GTA are qualified as poor
- In 13 neighbourhoods deemed “at-risk” in Toronto by United Way, more than half have
Homeless in the GTA: Finding affordable housing especially tough for women
Roberts is one among a growing number of women who are having to wait longer and longer to find homes in Durham Region, says Atiya Siddiquei, manager of the Muslim Welfare Centre, the region’s only shelter that caters specifically to women and children who are homeless but not fleeing abuse (there are separate shelters for that in Oshawa and Ajax).
“Honestly speaking, it’s really getting tougher and tougher every day,” she sighs. The 40-bed shelter is usually filled to capacity. Read more…
For Muslim poor, a shameful admission
On the corner of Dundas and Chestnut Sts., Ahmed dumps a handful of pennies and quarters on the sidewalk, and begins counting his day’s earnings.
“Asalamu alakum, can you spare some change?” he shyly asks two men as they rush past him and into Masjid Toronto, a downtown mosque.
A former teacher, Ahmed left war-torn Iraq five years ago for Canada. “I came here but couldn’t find a job, couldn’t make money,” he said. “Now I am homeless. I live in a shelter.” Read more…