Posted by Rafiq A. TschannenA giant cake was cut on Saturday afternoon in celebration of the open house for Masjid Dar As-Salam, the new Islamic centre in Charlottetown.
The Muslim community on Prince Edward Island now has a facility where they can gather, pray, celebrate and socialize. The project began over four years ago and members of the Muslim Society are thrilled to be able to hold their events and festivals in the new mosque located at 15 MacAleer Drive.
The Muslim Society of P.E.I. was established in 1990 to cater to the needs of the Muslim community.
Saturday was a historic day in Charlottetown as the full cooperation of the Island community made this project a reality, says Najam Chishti, president of the Muslim Society.
“On behalf of the society and the community, I would like to thank Dr. Sefau and his committee for a job well done. We would also like to thank the many Muslims and non-Muslims from coast to coast, and those outside of Canada, who helped us realize this mosque.”
When the project was first initiated, the society had less than $100,000 and it seemed like a daunting task to raise over a half a million dollars in six months. The fundraising committee, chaired by Dr. Suleiman Sefau, was successful in raising the much-needed funds.
Hundreds of letters were sent out, phone calls were made to friends and family, and fundraising dinners, food drives, silent auctions and coin collections all contributed to the finalized project.
“In addition to meeting the immediate needs of the community, such as the daily five prayers, Friday prayer, Sunday school, and Halaq, the reading of Quran and its teaching for both men and women, this building will also serve as an Islamic centre where we can welcome non-Muslims in a friendly environment that will help promote inter-faith dialogue, peace, and understanding,” Najam said.
“There’s a lot here for children and for women with small children, they can socialize too and there will be Islamic studies and Sunday school for children,” Farida Chishti said.
“We no longer have to rent a hall or place, we can have all of our events here.”
Mayor Clifford Lee was present at the open house on Saturday and said Charlottetown and the Island can certainly recognize the importance of immigration to P.E.I. and how this is a perfect example of a facility where members of the community can come together.
“We no longer have to rent a hall or place, we can have all of our events here,” – Farida Chishti.
“I wish much happiness here in your facility and this place of worship and because of what you people bring to the community. Thanks for the invitation and congratulations,” he said in front of a crowd of about 60 people downstairs in the mosque.
Like most Canadians, Island Muslims are passionate about social justice, civic issues such as health and environment, and they have actively participated in various local initiatives like fundraising for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, donating to the food bank, and fundraising for the Canadian Red Cross.
“In the end we hope this building will also be a place for dialogue and discussion and to have Island Muslims be actively engaged in the community we share,” he said in closing the open house.
Najam also acknowledged the local supporters of the project. Home Depot, Kent Building Supplies, Co-op, and Campbell Construction all helped out with making the project a reality.