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.

P.E.I.’s first permanent mosque opens in Canada

News Agencies – July 14, 2012

 

Muslims on Prince Edward Island are celebrating the opening of the province’s first permanent mosque. They’re hoping the new $700,000 place of worship on MacAleer Drive will attract new immigrants to the Island. Currently, about 100 Muslim families live on the Island.

“We have been dreaming for this space for the past 40 years,” said Dr. Najam Chishti, president of the Muslim Society of P.E.I. “I have lived 32 years on the Island. And it’s a really historic day at the birthplace of Canada.” For the past eight years, Muslims have prayed in the basement of a building in Charlottetown’s downtown.

Besides offering a space for worship, the new mosque will offer youth and social programs for the community. The mosque will also act as an Islamic Centre, so non-Muslims can also learn about the religion. Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, who was on hand for the opening, and said the mosque will give Muslims an added incentive to stay on P.E.I. in addition to helping attract immigrants.