01 - TIBA Musallah - 726 12th Avenue - New Westminster, British Columbia - Sunday July 3 2016

After Fajr prayers at Masjid Al Salaam, a brother approached me and asked if I needed a drive anywhere. We struck up a conversation and turns out he’s originally from Montreal and has been in Greater Vancouver for past two years.

We join a friend of his in the underground parking lot beneath the masjid and they learn about 30 Masjids. They are very inquisitive and fascinated with 30 Masjids in 30 Days as a Concept, they keep asking me all sort of questions.

Sometimes, I find myself being “pitched” a new masjid or a new prayer space, musallah, to visit for this blog. That happened this morning.

The first brother was selling me on Tiba Musalla, they would be finishing the Qur’an Recitation, tonight, their Khatm Al-Qur’an.

They tell me the space is big enough for fifty. Regularly thirty show up for prayers. Tonight though, would be the big night. Perhaps the biggest as it’s almost the end of Ramadan, and it’s a weekend evening.

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Sharif Senbel - Masjid Al Hidayah and Islamic Cultural Centre, Port Coquitlam - Vancouver Sun December 1 2009

Architect Sharif Senbel inside Masjid Al Hidayah and Islamic Cultural Centre in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Photo Credit: Vancouver Sun, December 1 2009.

This ten minute podcast was recorded sitting in Masjid Al Salaam’s Noble Courtyard, essentially a public square inside this Islamic Centre, hence the many ambient voices in the background.

 

Sharif Senbel is a Vancouver based Snowboarder, Windsurfer and Walk-The-Walk Eco-Activist.

Devout Muslim. Award Winning Architect. Sharif Senbel designs Ecological Masjids.

Including Prince George Islamic Centre where I was yesterday and this morning for Day 26 and Night 27 of Ramadan 2016.

Alhumdulillah, for second night in a row, I broke fast inside a Senbel designed building, Masjid Al Salaam & Education Centre, 5060 Canada Way in Burnaby, British Columbia.

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00 - Jumah al Wida - Last Friday of Ramadan - Prince George Islamic Centre - Canada Day - July 1 2016

 

It’s the morning after the 27th Night of Ramadan 2016.

Br. Iftikhar, a Doctor in Prince George was kind enough to open his home’s guest room allowing me a few hours of rest before my Greyhound bus ride south to Vancouver.

Afterwards, en route to the Bus Terminal, what began as recording our conversation to save me the trouble of active notetaking, turned into this podcast covering the past twenty years or so of History of Prince George’s Muslims and their Masjid, The Prince George Islamic Centre.

It indeed is a unique Muslim Community among all the many Muslim Communities 30 Masjids has visited thus far.

InshAllah, give it a listen.

By podcast’s end, you may be inspired to visit Prince George to spend time with this community and see for yourself…

Who knows?

You may end up moving your family there!

What does become very clear though, is that without a Masjid, Northern or remote communities in Canada, have a very hard time retaining Doctors for the long term.

This is akin to what we found at University of New Brunswick Saint John and their Muslim Prayer Space on Day 10 of 30 Masjids CANADA.

Previous to Prince George getting its own Islamic Centre, Muslim Doctors may have spent the absolute minimum time here, say six months, before leaving for good.

The existence of a Masjid, and by extension presence of an active local Muslim Community, even if only numbering in dozens of families, is enough to keep Doctors for the long haul. Perhaps even beyond retirement.

The high taxes these Muslims Professionals pay, is an added incentive for the local municipality to do whatever they can to ensure Prince George at large is getting the best health care possible.

Minor Correction: Near The End of the podcast, I state it’s Day 28, Got ahead of myself there, again. Today is actually Day 27 of Ramadan 2016.

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05 - Jumah al Wida - Last Friday of Ramadan - Prince George Islamic Centre - Canada Day - July 1 2016

When planning 30 Masjids CANADA earlier this year, it was always a personal priority to make it to Prince George and pray Jumah-tul-Widah, the Final Friday Prayer in Ramadan.

I was last here in 2004. In visiting friends who were studying at the Newish University of Northern British Columbia, I found myself alone without any Muslim Community to speak of.

Looking through the Phone Book, something people did back then, I only found a single Muslim sounding name, yet was unable to make a connection.

For the one Friday I was here back then, I prayed Dhuhr. I can’t say for sure, but knowing myself, it’s likely I prayed that one day, there would in fact be a Masjid in Prince George, and along with that, a local Muslim Community to go with it.

Alhumdulillah, in the time since, 12 years later, here I am attending not only a regular Congregational Friday Prayer, Jumah, but Jumah-tul-Widah, the last Friday Prayer of Ramadan 2016.

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00 - Isha - Laylatul Qadr - Masjid At-Taqwa - 10654 101st Street, Edmonton Alberta - June 29 2016

Having broke my Fast earlier in the evening at Al Rashid Mosque’s 7th Annual A Taste of Ramadan in Centennial Plaza, I made the short walk over to Masjid At-Taqwa in Downtown Edmonton at 10654 101st Street for Isha, Taraweeh, and ultimately Fajr.

It is the Night of the 25th of Ramadan.

One of the possibilities for Laylatul Qadr, The Night of Power.

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000 - A Taste of Ramadan - Centennial Plaza - Edmonton, Alberta - Wednesday June 29 2016

EDMONTON’S ANNUAL TASTE OF RAMADAN

Lots of free food, clothing, diverse culture, and activities for the whole family

On Wednesday June 29, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

CENTENNIAL PLAZA
101A Avenue & 100 Street
(South side of Library)

– Everyone is Welcome –

Welcome and Drum Song by Michelle

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00 - Old Masjid Quba Location - Parking Lot - Tuesday June 28 2016

 



Syed Hussain, a volunteer with Masjid Quba in Central Edmonton, is managing the Itikaf program here.

After Fajr, Dawn Prayers, the brother drove us around downtown showing me a number of sites of Interest to Canadian Muslims.

We recorded this podcast during the drive around Central Edmonton this morning.

Our discussion features The History of Muslims in Central Edmonton, and background of one its tireless Community Organizing Leaders, Sheikh Hussein.

We conclude the podcast by learning backstory of the Dome inside their Masjid.

01 - Masjid Quba - Dome INSIDE The Masjid - Tuesday June 28 2016

Minor Correction: Near the beginning of the podcast, I state it’s start of Day 24, Got ahead of myself there. Today is actually Day 23 of Ramadan 2016.



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Recapping what was learned yesterday visiting Lloydminster Islamic Centre.

00 - Lloydminster Islamic Centre - Saskatchewan - Saturday June 25 2016

Lloydminister Islamic Centre is literally a block and a half from the Alberta border.

You’ll easily find it at 4610 49 Avenue in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan :

“From HWY 16 go one block north on 49 Ave and it is located on the left. Lloydminster Islamic Centre is on the South of Post Office”

The Masjid is on a block that has as its neighbours: the town’s four-plex cinema, the Post Office on one side, the Native Friendship Centre as their other next door neighbour, and the Regional Municipal town hall a block away.

The building’s architectural design would stand out were it located in Toronto or even Vancouver.

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I was interviewed Kashmala Fida for her CBC News story about the new Masjid I found at 370 Somerset Street in North End Saint John, New Brunswick:

Toronto filmmaker Himy Syed discovered the modest-looking mosque on Somerset street in Saint John on his travels for his project, 30 Masjids (mosques) in Canada,.

According to those behind it, it’s the first of its kind in Canada — established specifically for Syrian refugees.

“They needed a place to pray that was convenient. Many of them don’t have cars or have other means of getting to the main Muslim Association of New Brunswick masjid over in Rothesay,” said Syed.

“It’s a bit scratchy but it does the job. It’s much appreciated, that location. It’s cozy, it’s small.”

Many Thanks to CBC New Brunswick’s Kashmala Fida for the interview and her story.