top of page
Lines 1_blue.jpg

Students Come Together to Celebrate
Islamic Heritage Month | #StudentVoice


As October has just ended, it is important to reflect upon the heritage that is celebrated every year in Canada. Islamic Heritage Month, or Islamic History Month, is a month designated to recognize the approximately 1.9 billion Muslims around the world and acknowledge the intellectual advancements Muslims have made throughout civilization. 


Islam is a religion built on the fundamental belief in one God and following in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the final Prophet in a long line of prophets in Islam. Islamic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate Islam's rich and diverse culture, and foster an understanding of Islamic contributions in science, mathematics, art, and literature. In 2007, the Canadian Parliament officially declared October as Canadian Islamic History Month, acknowledging the significant contributions made by Muslims to Canadian society. The observance strives to oppose stereotypes, misconceptions, and discrimination against Muslims and to promote intercultural and interfaith dialogue. 


Laurel Heights Secondary School (LHSS) hosted an event celebrating Islamic Heritage Month. The event took place on October 26, and schools all across the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) were invited to attend the event and celebrate with fellow Muslim students. The event started with Laurel Heights’s Muslim Student Association President and Vice President introducing the event and reciting verses from the Muslim Holy book, the Quran.


A talk by a keynote speaker, Ali Saeed, followed. Ali spoke about several figures in Islam and their contributions to society. One of the most influential individuals mentioned in his talk was Ibn Haytham, an Arab scientist and mathematician who lived during the Islamic Golden Age. Ibn al-Haytham is best known for his work in the optics field, and the study of light and vision. His most famous work, "Kit,ab al-Manazir" or "Book of Optics", explored the properties of light, the nature of vision, and the workings of the human eye.


Another noteworthy figure he mentioned was Fatima al-Fihri, a Muslim woman who founded the world's oldest degree-granting university. She founded the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, which is still operating. After Ali Sameed’s presentation, students were directed toward the school's cafeteria, decorated with Islamic artifacts and Arabic calligraphy paintings by Laurel Heights students. 


Students were given a meal provided by Chef Signature, and the event was wrapped up with a Kahoot on Islamic History Trivia, which was perfectly suited for the event. It is important to highlight the students and staff involved in organizing and running the event, especially those involved in the Laurel Heights Muslim Student Association, as the event couldn’t have been possible without their involvement.


My favourite part of the whole event was the atmospheric sensation of unity formed by all of the students. I enjoyed interacting with students from different schools who all share the same belief. A point that the speaker Ali Saeed made that resonated with me the most was when he spoke about his time at LHSS. There were very few Muslims, and there was for sure never an event like this. I am very grateful to be living in a time where there is such a large and supportive Muslim community present and I can be comfortable around people with the same beliefs. Although there is always room for improvement, I am very proud of how far we have come as a community in terms of feeling comfortable practicing my faith. 


Recognizing Islamic History Month is of utmost importance for not only Muslims but especially those who don’t identify with the Islamic faith. Muslims are often the victims of several harmful stereotypes, and facilitating cultural awareness and understanding by recognizing the contributions of Islamic civilizations helps dispel these destructive misconceptions and fosters a more tolerant society. Islamic Heritage Month is a time to promote inclusivity regardless of cultural or religious backgrounds, as it inspires individuals to foster innovation and pursue their passions to make a difference in society. It is also when individuals are encouraged to engage in interfaith conversations to develop a mutual understanding, creating a more harmonious society. Preserving and sharing Islamic heritage, artifacts, and historical sites enriches the collective understanding of world history. Dedicating a month to Islamic Heritage offers the Muslim community an opportunity to come together, celebrate their heritage and share their contributions to society, fostering a sense of belonging and pride in their achievements. 


Overall, Islamic History Month, celebrated in October in Canada, is a crucial recognition of the diverse heritage of Islam and the valuable contributions of Muslims. This month-long celebration promotes cultural understanding, counters stereotypes, and fosters intercultural dialogue. The Laurel Heights Secondary School event exemplified the sense of community and unity such celebrations bring. It is essential for both Muslims and those from different backgrounds to encourage inclusivity, inspire innovation, and enrich our collective understanding of history. 

Written by Khadijah Asif, a Grade 12 student at Laurel Heights Secondary School (LHSS) in Waterloo


#StudentVoice Series

This article is written by a WRDSB student and is part of the Student Agency and Voice program. Student journalists embody WRDSB’s commitment to creating space for students to tell their stories. They are ambassadors for their peers as they share their personal experiences and stories about their schools and communities in their unique voices.


Read more #StudentVoice stories.

bottom of page