News Agencies – March 7, 2012
The province of Ontario has granted a license to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery
Corporation, allowing it to operate the site in Richmond Hill. The corporation says the
cemetery is a joint project between Sunni and Shia Muslim communities and will open in
June. The group plans to open the 14-hectare cemetery officially in June. It’s expected to
serve the needs of the estimated 300,000-strong Muslim community for at least 25 years.
He says the cemetery will be the first in the area which manages services according to
Muslim custom, operates on weekends and will have all graves correctly aligned toward
The 14-hectare land for the cemetery was bought for $6.8-million from a Jewish
company – Beth Olam Cemetery Corporation – which provided the Muslim corporation
with an interest-free mortgage. A Muslim cemetery to meet the needs of residents in
Ottawa and Gatineau, Que, is expected to open in June as well.
Each week, up to 60 ladies arrive at the Richmond Hill, Ontario space with their mats tucked under their arms, ready to stretch and sweat, swapping hijabs and long-sleeves for headbands and tank-tops. “The amount of women that wanted to participate was unbelievable,” says Fatima Jessa, who organized this hot yoga class. Jessa loved the movements, but found the heat too challenging with her head and arms covered. She also thought women in her community would attend a women-only class if they could practice without their religious garments.
After that initial class two months ago, Jessa approached Kris Mukherjee, owner of the Bikram Yoga studio, about offering a weekly male-free class for Muslim women. Many Muslim women seek support and resources to keep active without “losing integrity,” Jessa says. Some who sign up for this yoga class also attend all-female gyms such as Prima Donna Fitness and GoodLife Fitness for Women. Others are members of YMAA, which offers basketball, soccer, golf, hockey and Pilates.