Toronto park named after Muslim community workerWritten by Staff Writer
If you happen to be visit Scarborough this summer, you may want to check out Major Abbas Ali Park. The McLevin Community Park in Scarborough was recently renamed as a tribute to a man who reflected Islamic values throughout his life, earning him the respect of many Canadians.
The late Muhammad Abbas Ali, a British Indian Army veteran of the Second World War and who served in the Pakistan army, spent almost three decades working tirelessly for the community around McLevin Avenue where he had founded the Muslim Welfare Centre of Toronto.
"We don't find men like him that easy," Councillor Raymond Cho of Scarborough-Rouge River is quoted as saying. Mr. Cho initiated the renaming of McLevin Community Park to honour Mr. Abbas's charity work.
Mr. Abbas passed away last spring at the age of 88.
Scarborough Community Council supported and the decision to rename the park came on April 27 as a dozen supporters filled council chambers.
"We are very happy that (the park was renamed)," said Qaiser Naqvi, secretary and founding member of the Muslim Welfare Centre.
"Major Abbas was a personality. All his life he was a charity worker and humanitarian."
“Congratulations,” announces the website for the centre which operates a food bank, Meals on Wheels, a women's shelter, a medical clinic and a space for worship. The centre also supports orphans, disaster relief and water projects overseas.
"His dedication was to serve the needy irrespective of religion, nationality, caste or creed," said Naqvi. "He was an asset to the community...everybody would love to see a park named after him to honour his service to humanity."
By all accounts, Mr. Abbas, a father of seven, was a dynamo. At the age of 77, he skydived at 10,500 feet for a fundraising event. He was also honoured as the first person in modern history to walk across the Arabian Peninsula to Makkah and Medina for Hajj in 1981.
Mr. Abbas was the recipient of many awards including the UNICEF Award for service to children, the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship Award and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award.
His 77-year-old wife, Sarwar Abbas, has pledged to continue working for their causes.
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