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.
There was dancing, but no boys – in mixed company, young Muslim women cannot dance or wear revealing clothing. No one was sneaking in alcohol – drinking is strictly forbidden by Islam. And there was no prom Queen: Instead, every graduate wore a tiara. The “Sister’s Prom” has become an annual event among Toronto’s Muslim community, and is also a symbol of the balance that defines the lives of modern young women born and raised in Canada, faithful to Islam. They have ambitions to be doctors, engineers and community leaders, while embracing the rules placed upon them by their religion – no dating, for instance.
Toronto architect Zak Ghanim designed the upgraded 25,000 square-foot mosque to accommodate the tremendous growth of the central Toronto Muslim community and to give the location a traditional Islamic look with minaret, domes, and adorning crescents. The new mosque will feature a large prayer hall for thousands of worshippers, an upper mezzanine for segregated women’s prayer, and seven domes on the roof — six of them glass skylights. Thus far, Hanif Shaikh, president of the Madina Mosque, notes the changes have been readily accepted within the broader community. There has been no community protest over its renovations, no rejection by the city, no contentious appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, and no vandalism. The remodelling is expected to take two years.
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