(Canada): Volunteering for community help decades ago,
a Canadian Muslim in Ontario’s city of Mississauga has received
the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to acknowledge her
passion to serve her country.
"Forty-five years of my Canadian life I have been serving the
community," said Malik Syed, who was awarded the medal on Friday.
"When I came to Canada I didn't know
I could do so much more in this community. This is a great
country," Mississauga.com reported quoting her as saying.
Coming to Canada decades ago, Syed,
of Indian origin, tried to offer help to her new community.
Trained as a teacher in India, Syed worked for several years as a
supply teacher in Ontario.
Later on, she volunteered with the Muslim Seniors Circle, which
was present to see the medal presentation, and regularly visits
hospitals to do what she can. Yet, her greatest pleasure has
always come from helping children. She added that she has
volunteered to serve not just the Muslim community, but the
broader Canadian community.
Her efforts were finally recognized
after she received on Friday the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond
Jubilee Medal at the Islamic Centre of Canada on South Sheridan
The medal was presented to the
Mississauga resident of nearly 40 years by Senator Salma
Ataullahjan, the first Canadian senator of Pushtun descent.
Receiving an award to recognize her
efforts, Syed, 70, said her husband, Amjad Syed, was even happier
for her than she was herself.
Created in 2011, the commemorative medal was made to mark the 60th
anniversary of the accession to the thrones of Queen Elizabeth II.
The medal also serves to honor
significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. Awarding
Syed her distinguished medal, Mississauga Senator praised her
efforts to serve the wider community, regardless of their faith.
"Malik has spent 45 years doing
volunteer work in Canada," said Ataullahjan. “It is so appropriate
she should receive the medal here in the Islamic Centre.”
Muslims make up around 1.9 percent
of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one
non-Christian faith in the North American country.
A recent survey has showed the
overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian. Yet, a
March 2012 survey by the Association for Canadian Studies and the
Canadian Race Relations Foundation found that more than half of
Canadians distrust Muslims, the lowest level of trustworthiness of
religious groups in the country.
Another recent survey by the
Canadian Studies (ACS) found that the Muslim minority in Canada is
still facing negative perceptions a decade after the 9/11.