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October declared Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario

Andrea Horwath is pictured at the Ontario Legislature on April 5, 2016.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

October will now officially be recognized as Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario after the legislature unanimously passed an act Thursday.

It began as an NDP private members' bill, and party leader Andrea Horwath says it's an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the history of Islamic culture.

Horwath says she also hopes it's also a step toward eliminating Islamophobia, noting that in her city of Hamilton, a fire was set at a mosque recently.

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Canadian Islamic History Month has been officially recognized federally since 2007.

Farheen Khan, with the International Development and Relief Foundation, joined Horwath at the legislature and says it's important to profile and highlight the positive contributions of Muslims.

The news comes as Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the current and fifth caliph and leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is slated to be in Toronto on Friday for a three-day Islamic convention.

He'll deliver a sermon to thousands of attendees representing more than 20 countries, and to Muslims worldwide via the global satellite TV network Muslim Television Ahmadiyya.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story by The Canadian Press included an incorrect spelling of Ms. Khan's first name and said she worked for the International Development and Relief Organization. In fact, she is with the International Development and Relief Foundation. This version has been corrected.

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