The groundbreaking ceremony of the first Muslim cemetery in the Greater Toronto Area took place on September 18, 2011. It was a historic occasion, one of the most moving aspects of which is the friendship that has formed between the Chair of the Cemetery Committee (Sabi Ahsan, a real estate agent who is a devoted member of his mosque) and the landowner who brokered the deal (Yosi Behar, an Israeli Jewish Canadian). Their mutual admiration and respect goes well beyond a business relationship. Their bond is a model of what it means to live in Canada (and they both spoke of this at the ceremony, which was attended by municipal, provincial, and federal dignitaries, many of whom had helped the pair achieve this remarkable goal). Both men are committed to unity within their own communities and between the Jewish and Muslim communities and the wider community in Canada. Hopefully their bond is a sign of things to come for the success of the project.
The story of Yosi and Sabi has already been broadcast on television and other media, and will no doubt continue to be shared around the world. We at The Behar Group hope to see more ‘good news’ stories about Muslim/Jewish relations highlighted in the media in and beyond the coming year. There are many stories to tell as we work towards marginalizing those who wish to divide us, and empowering those who are messengers of peace and harmony.