Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has [on February 3, 2020], recognized Edmonton resident, Aatif Baskanderi, as the Canadian award winner of the Commonwealth Points of Light in honour of his exceptional voluntary service advocating for community cohesion and interfaith understanding.
Aatif Baskanderi grew up in a place where not many people looked like him or believed in the same things that he did. As a Muslim child of Pakistani immigrants, Newfoundland became home. His experiences growing up on “the rock” was like something out of a storybook. On this cold, isolated island in the Atlantic ocean, Aatif learned sincerity and appreciation for others that would set him up for remarkable success in life.
Next Monday, Pakistani Canadian Aatif Baskanderi will be starting a trip across Newfoundland sharing his personal story as a Muslim growing up in the province. Aatif will be travelling over 2000km across Newfoundland visit 7 towns over 11 days. Many of these communities have sponsored Syrian refugees. He will be speaking at high schools, libraries and the provincial university. He is currently crowdfunding on LaunchGood to cover the cost of making the documentary “Salaam B'y - A Story of a Muslim Newfoundlander”, based on this trip in collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Amar Wala, best known for his work The Secret Trial 5 (2014).