P.E.I. Muslims refuse to be intimidated

News Agencies – October 8, 2012

 

Zain Esseghaier has been a Charlottetown, Prince Edward Islam resident for the last 33 years, married an islander and raised a family here. Though his modest two-story mosque has been the target of three serious threats over the past year — last week a bottle of gasoline was left at the entrance and the structure plastered with “Defeat Jihad” posters — he remains steadfast, refusing to be intimidated.

Four years ago, the native of Tunisia and his fellow Muslim Society of P.E.I. members set about finally acquiring their own place of worship. A cross-country fundraising campaign raised about $500,000, enough to purchase a plot of land in an industrial park and build Masjid Dar As-Salam mosque. Last October, two days after a community celebration to mark the official groundbreaking at the site, a pig’s head was left nailed to a post on the property. Just over a month ago, a contractor’s truck parked near the mosque overnight was set ablaze.

In all, P.E.I. boasts roughly 500 Muslim residents, most of whom live in Charlottetown and pray together. Before having their own mosque, they would worship wherever they could find the space, from a temporary basement mosque to gymnasiums to university classrooms. Building the mosque was a way of retaining the province’s Muslim population, said the society’s president Najam Chishti.

Spain remembers terror bombings four years ago

On Tuesday, Spaniards remembered the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and injured over 1,400. King Juan Carlos attended a memorial ceremony commemorating the terrorist blasts four years ago. The ceremony took place outside of Atocha station, which was the destination of each of the four commuter trains targeted in the attacks. Other memorials were held elsewhere in and around Madrid on Tuesday, seemingly drawing less attention as the years go by, and paling in comparison to the reflection on the first anniversary. The attacks were carried out by radical Muslim groups and persons wearing backpack bombs, and carried out on behalf of al-Qaeda. Last October, a Spanish tribunal convicted 21 of 28 defendants in the case of various charges. The verdict said that the cell acted to wage holy war, and failed to mention the Spanish government’s support for the Iraq war – an assertion that had been made by militants in a video found just after the bombings.