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Muslims Celebrate Canada’s Iconic Mosque

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Considering it the center of their sizable community, Muslims in Edmonton are celebrating the diamond jubilee of Canada’s first mosque. “We want to send a message to the whole community, to thank them for what they did for Al Rashid Mosque from the beginning,” Khalid Tarabain, president of the Canadian Islamic Center and Al Rashid Mosque, told Leader-Post. Muslims are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the mosque in Edmonton, the capital of the province of Alberta. Built in 1938 to serve first Muslim immigrants, Al Rashid mosque is Canada’s first mosque. “People were congregating in somebody’s home or a hall that they could utilize, until the purpose-built mosque was completed in 1938,” said Sine Chadi, whose ancestors came to Canada from Lebanon in 1895 and were involved in building the iconic mosque. By the 1980s, Al Rashid mosque had fallen into disrepair and the city was contemplating demolition of the site. But in 1991, it was decided to move the mosque to Fort Edmonton Park at a cost of $75,000. About a year later on May 28, 1992, it was reopened in the park to accommodate more than 20,000 Muslims living in Edmonton at that time. Muslims hailed efforts of Edmonton officials and members of other religious communities in helping raise funds for the mosque. Tarabain, opines that Al Rashid mosque remains “the mother organization” for 80,000 Muslims in Edmonton. Muslims make up around 1.9 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population.