Al-Rashid : Canada's First Mosque


Al-Rashid mosque is a fixture in Edmonton's Muslim society, dating back to the 1930s. It was the first mosque to be built in Canada, and the second in North America overall. And its creation would not have been possible without the initiative of Muslim women and their peers.

(Photo credit : muslimcanada.org)


In the early 1930s, Edmonton's Mayor John Fry was approached by a group of Muslim ladies led by Hilwie Hamdon, asking for a plot of land on which a mosque could be built for the growing Muslim community. She, along with friends, collected funds from a diverse range of Edmontonians including Jews, Christians and Muslims to construct the mosque. An amount of $5000 was needed to buy the land that was located next to Royal Alexandra Hospital. and the community rose to the challenge.


The mosque was built by Ukrainian-Canadian contractor Mike Drewoth in a style resembling the Eastern Christian (Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox) immigrant churches and opened its doors on December 12, 1938. Serving as a religious and community centre, its presence attracted many Muslim families, and over the years the community flourished to over 16,000 Muslims by the early 1980s. To accommodate the rise in numbers, a new mosque facility was needed. (Photo credit : alrashidmosque.ca)


In August of 1982, the new Al Rashid mosque opened its doors with the capacity to serve over 20,000 congregants.


Many programs and services were born in the basement of the new facility, but as the community grew they branched out and became separate institutions. This resulted in one of the strongest webs of interconnected Islamic institutions that cater to children from birth to post-secondary education.


Edmonton Islamic Academy is one of the most notable projects of Al Rashid, a state-of-the-art school that offers Islamic education to over 1400 students and created jobs for over 130 Muslims.


Today the Edmonton Muslim community consists of over 60,000 members from more than 62 ethnic backgrounds. Al Rashid Mosque serves them as the prominent Islamic organization that leads public outreach activities, and provides religious, recreational, and educational facilities to support the practice of Islam.


Al Rashid also fosters interfaith understanding, with the aim to continue to live in harmony and prosperity with Canadians of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.


Sources : Wikipedia, alrashidmosque.ca, Atlas Obsura


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