EDMONTON - Dozens of Canadian Muslims in the western city of Edmonton have volunteered to prepare free meals for the city's poor residents to help break stereotypes about Islam.
It's a human obligation, Ahmed Ali, one of the volunteers, told CBC news.
We all might succumb to this type of situation, so it's good to give back.
Dozens of Muslim volunteers gathered at the Hope Mission on Sunday, June 10, to prepare meals for Edmonton needy.
For the whole day, they managed to prepare and hand out 800 roast beef dinners.
The meal has been a tradition in Edmonton for a decade.
Some of the Muslim volunteers saw the event as a way to repay their community which helped them one day.
Ali was one of those Muslims who know the challenges many inner-city people face.
As a child, Ali's family emigrated from Somalia, first moving to Italy and before arriving in Canada 12 years ago.
When they were still finding their feet in their new home, Ali says his family often relied on charities and organizations for food.
I know what it feels and how it means to get a hearty meal from someone who isn't related to you.
Muslim volunteers say the meal is a way to break down negative stereotypes that have been applied to Edmonton's immigrant and inner-city communities.
Yeah, that's going on over there, Ali said.
But recognize that this is also going on in your city.
Ali says it's a chance to disprove some of the stereotypes that plague both the city's immigrant and homeless populations - especially in the wake of media attention that Ali says often paints the communities in a bad light.
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.
A recent report from the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said that Muslims are expected to make up 6.6% of Canada's total population in 2030.
A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.