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Day 26 of Ramadan 2023,

Iftar needed to be at home because my cousin Sunny & cousin-sister-in-law Bushra were visiting.

The History of Canadian Muslims in Toronto Jane’s Walk


Following an Islamophobia incident in North York in late 2015,

HïMY SYeD led “The History of Muslims in Toronto – A Special December Jane’s Walk” a few days before Christmas.

It was well attended; much was learned, much was understood.

That very long walk was intended as a never-to-be-repeated event.

Yet Islamophobia persists… Quebec City Mosque Attack, and then Etobicoke, and then London.

Hate-motivated incidents continued throughout Ramadan 2023, with physical attacks in Markham, Montreal, and threats in Kitchener and elsewhere.

The History of Canadian Muslims is a new addition to this year’s Jane’s Walk transforming this into a “National” Jane’s Walk.

An overview of Muslim Presence in the Americas, and Ontario, since the 7th Century C.E. will be discussed.

This Jane’s Walk explains how 3rd, 4th, & 5th Generation Muslim Torontonians helped build our city, and our country.

This Jane’s Walk will visit at least five locations in The Junction and High Park neighbourhoods to reveal that history.

Walk stop locations:

  • The little known history of The Albanian Muslim Society of Toronto – The pivotal role of its founder, Reggie Assim
  • The Dundas Street Mosque – The City’s First Masjid
  • The Junction – Toronto’s First Muslim Neighbourhood
  • Former Location of High Park Sweets – Bloor Street West
  • Toronto’s FIRST Halal Butcher Shop – Roncesvalles Village
  • Jami Mosque – Toronto’s Second Islamic Centre and its national significance

TIME: Sunday May 7 2023 – 4:00 p.m.

MEETING POINT: Annette Street at Runnymede Avenue, Sidewalk on South West Corner of intersection.

WALK LEADER: Holding Orange “Walk With Us” Jane’s Walk sign; wearing a Green Square🟩

NEAREST PUBLIC TRANSIT: Runnymede Bus stop at Annette Street

WALK END LOCATION: Jami Mosque, 56 Boustead Avenue

Please help get the word out and as important…

…Join This Special Jane’s Walk!

See YOU on Sunday May 7 2023, and Thank You!

​As part of the Green Square Campaign🟩,

Green Squares (with safety pins) will be available for all who wish to wear one during this Jane’s Walk.

“NCCM CEO Stephen Brown and Jagmeet Singh,

Leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party,

Call for emergency debate in parliament on the rise of hate against religious institutions.”

NCCM – Monday April 17 2023



After organizations like NCCM have been pushing all parties to take action,

Leader Jagmeet Singh of the NDP is tabling a request to the Speaker to convene an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the increased attacks on religious institutions,

Including in the aftermath of the attacks on mosques like the Islamic Society of Markham.

Enough is enough.

We need to see policies that will help all people in Canada stay safe through effective security programs,

Stronger community outreach programs,

Online harms legislation,

And hate crime legislation.

We will be in the House of Commons today to answer questions about the need for this emergency debate this afternoon.

Please support us by making a donation today,

Or calling your local MP to support the emergency debate convening today.”

National Council of Canadian Muslims

Monday April 17 2023

“Hon. Anthony Rota, MP
Speaker of the House of Commons
222-N Centre Block
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

April 17, 2023

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I am writing to you to give notice under Standing Order 52(2) that I will be seeking leave at the appropriate time later today to propose an emergency debate on the recent islamophobic and antisemitic acts on the heels of record high incidences in police-reported hate crimes in Canada.

As you are aware,

over the last few weeks we’ve seen brazenly hateful acts perpetrated at the Islamic Society of Markham and the Bagg Street Shul in Montreal,

which are among the oldest places of worship serving their respective communities in Canada.

These horrific incidents that happend over a short period of time are emblematic of the recent Statcan data on the sharp rise in police-reported hate crimes,

which reached a record high with a staggering 67% increase in hate crimes targeting religion.

Mr. Speaker,

the importance of this requested debate cannot be understated.

There is no place for hate in Canada and Canadians of all backgrounds should be able to practice their faith without fear and intimidation.

Given the federal government’s responsibility in responding to public safety and ensuring Canadians are safe from threats and violence,

these recent hateful acts and the rising incidents of hate crimes cannot go unaddressed by Parliament,

it’s imperative that all parties are afforded this opportunity to clearly denounce these incidents and debate the urgent measures needed to prevent further harm to our communities,

including immediately improving and expanding the Security Infrastructure Program to make places of worship safer,

ensuring that all major cities have dedicated hate crime units and combatting online hate that is emboldening these acts.

As always,

I thank you for your careful consideration of this application.


[ signed ]

Jagmeet Singh

Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada

MP for Burnaby South”

Bedri Bylykbashi is a former Vice-President of Albanian Muslim Society of Toronto

We met and spoke after Iftar Dinner and before Isha on the third floor of the Society’s building at 564 Annette Street.

Brother Bedri shared some of Toronto’s Muslim History.

The Albanian Muslim Society of Toronto, at 564 Annette Street, a few steps west of Runnymede Road, is our stop on Day 25 of Ramadan 1444 / Ramadan 2023.

“Zoti bereqet e gjitha të mirat Naim Gallapeni me familje për shtrimin e Iftarit sonte ne Xhaminë Shqiptare.

Vërtet ambient i mrekullueshëm në këto ditë të mbetura të Ramazanit.

Allahu kabul agjërimin dhe ibadetet, gjithmonë së bashku në të mire e devotshmëri.

Dhashtë Zoti ta arrijmë edhe Natë e Kadrit dhe shpërblimet e saja.”

“God bless Naim Gallapeni and his family for the Iftar tonight in the Albanian Masjid.

Truly a wonderful environment in these remaining days of Ramadan.

Allah accepts fasting and worship, always together in goodness and piety.

God willing, we will reach the Night of Qadr and its rewards.”

Colour Me Salah has a booth at the Eid Souk happening this weekend, Saturday April 15 & Sunday April 16 2023, inside Square One Shopping Centre.

Let’s listen as Sister Sharika shares a little bit about Colour Me Salah…

They are children sized prayer mats, with black outline designs on white.

Children then use Acrylic Paint Markers to paint or fill in the design.

What the children are doing is manifold.

They are colouring, so that’s fun.

By colouring in the design of their prayer, they become Muslim Makers, and end up with a sense of ownership in the Prayer Mat, now with vibrant colours.

Salah, Prayer, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Colour Me Salah is an excellent way for Muslim Kids to exercise Self-Agency, first by making their own prayer mats, then by praying on them throughout their childhood.

It comes with a drawstring carrying bag, so taking care of their prayer mat helps introduce the concept of Responsibility too.

Two designs are available, one is a rocket, the other is a balloon theme.

So what might Colour Me Salah have to do with Masjids?

Both Prayer Mats designs choices includes a Masjid which the children would be colouring in.

For Parents who take their kids to Taraweeh Prayers,

Colour Me Salah gives the children something to keep themselves occupied with allowing their parents to focus on their Rakats.

If you can’t make it the Eid Souk at Square One during this final weekend of Ramadan 2023,

Colour Me Salah prayer mats are available online and can be found on social.

Eid Souk happening this weekend, Saturday April 15 & Sunday April 16 2023, inside Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

Tilawati Canada specializes in Coloured Qur’ans.

Sister Zeenah providing some colour about the Colourful Qur’ans.

Side by side by side by side on the same page:

  • English Translation of the Holy Qur’an
  • Trans-literation in Latin Script
  • The Qur’an in its original form in the Arabic language

These Rainbow Qur’ans are worthwhile to see in person if you can make it to Square One this Final Weekend of Ramadan.

This a Large Print Qur’an.

It is what you might see in front of the Prayer Leader, as they read and recite verses of The Qur’an during Taraweeh Prayer.

Small pocket size Colour Qur’ans, about two inches by three inches.

Each Juz, or 30th Part of the Qur’an, has its own colour along the edge of the pages.

This makes it easier to return to the page you were reading and it’s also something appealing to Muslim Children as they learn to read Qur’an.

Also appeals to Grown-Up Muslims who already know how to read Qur’an…

Alhumdulillah, Hamza Masjid, the Parkdale Islamic Education Centre (PIEC), can still be found at 1287 Queen Street West in West End Toronto.

My brother Amir needed to be in Parkdale this morning, so I took the opportunity to join him and make a 30Masjids’ stop at Hamza Masjid.

With so much time before the midday Dhuhr Prayer, it was still too early for the masjid to be open.

Nevertheless, I tried the door, maybe someone was inside doing Itikaaf, and the Masjid might yet be open?

SubhanAllah, the storefront door of the Masjid was locked at the top of this noon hour visit.

So no visit inside The Parkdale Islamic Education Centre on this, Day 24 of Ramadan 2023.

From outside then, a brief look back and an update with a photo taken from the outside…

Hamza Masjid first appeared on 30Masjids on Day 2 of Ramadan 2011 (!).

That story was one of the very first blog entries here.

Could I have imagined in Ramadan 2011, I would still be blogging about visiting 30 Masjids in 30 Days of Ramadan 13 Ramadans later in 2023?


During my first visit in 2011, this storefront masjid was renting the main floor plus basement.

My second 30 Masjids visit was four years later,

On Day 13 of Ramadan 2015, I broke my fast inside Hamza Masjid.

That was the end of June 2015.

During Ramadan 2015, it was still a rented storefront masjid.

The process to buy the existing property was a long one.

Decision to buy the building instead of continuing to rent was made in May of 2005.

Ten years worth of fundraising later,

Shortly after Ramadan 2015, on July 31 2015, 1287 Queen Street West was fully purchased for $1.2 Million.

Donations mostly raised from low-income Muslim families and new Immigrants to Canada who settled in Parkdale, made that million dollar purchase possible.

Hamza Masjid became debt free, now operating as a Trust, an Islamic Waqf.

Today in 2023, you can’t even buy a small house in most areas of Toronto for $1.2 Million, let alone in now desirable Parkdale.

An adjacent store front would allow for more prayer space, proper prayer hall for sisters, and services found and expected for a growing congregation.

Because of the important and urgent need for more space,

Fundraising continues:

Hamza Masjid, Parkdale Islamic Education Centre, is an important institution in the History of Muslims in Toronto.

1287 Queen Street West was rented in 1999 by Sheikh Issa, who converted the retail store front into a Musallah, becoming Parkdale’s first dedicated Muslim Prayer Space.

Sheikh Issa was a quiet humble man, originally from Uganda.

An immigrant who found roundtrip walks to Jami Mosque, Parkdale’s then nearest masjid, too far to make for all five daily prayers, and did something about it.

That storefront Sheikh Issa had rented is now owned by the Parkdale’s Muslim Community.

It remains a Sadiqah Jariyah for Sheikh Issa.

Not unlike Sheikh Issa in the 1990s, many Immigrant Muslims make Parkdale their home neighbourhood today.

There are now about 1,000 Muslim Families who make Hamza Masjid their home Masjid.

As in Ramadan 2011, Hamza Masjid continues to provide free daily Iftar during the Holy Month in Ramadan 2023.

I was here last year here on Day 20 of Ramadan 2022 to pray my Dhuhr.

InshAllah, I hope to pray or Iftar here again.

​Links mentioned during today’s Resilient Hour :

“Annual reminder that Zakat is not “charity” but a Wealth-Tax that must be paid (even by children) Lunar-Annually if a certain threshhold is met (Nisab).

It is a “Return of Wealth” to the Community.

Other conditions apply.

There are many simple online Zakat calculators.

As is the case with any act of worship,

intention in paying Zakat matters,

but that does not mean we can neglect the rules.

Of course,

there are different, valid interpretations of the rules,

so don’t get bogged down in debates,

but commit to continued learning over time.

Remember you can give directly to individual Muslims who don’t have enough for rent or groceries,

or to pay debts,

including tuition payments.

You can make a big impact with a relatively small transfer of wealth to an individual.

Ask a scholar if you are unsure who is eligible 🌙

Zakat does not have to be paid in Ramadan,

but it has become customary for many because it is an easy way to ensure you pay in a timely manner (Lunar Annually) and because Ramadan is a time of added blessings 🌙

While Zakat is obligatory and its collection & distribution is regulated by the Sacred Law,

charity is mostly unrestricted as long as what you are giving is good & for a good reason.

Giving charity is liberating as it loosens the grip of a scarcity-minset on the giver 🌙

Giving charity has many, many unseen blessings.

And in Ramadan even more.

Give generously to one or more of the many wonderful charitable organizations helping to uplift our communities 🌙”

— By Dr. Ingrid Mattson

CTV News Kitchener, Wednesday April 12 2023

“We were driving down and then suddenly you hear,

just a honking at us,

and there’s a car speeding right towards us,

“So we stop the car and I’m thinking okay maybe the trunk is open,

or the gas cap is loose,

“We roll down the window,

he rolls down his,

then we just see him pull out his phone and point it at us and we’re like,

okay that’s weird.

“And then suddenly,

in the other hand,

he pulls up a gun and points it at us.

“He had his gun prepared it wasn’t in a glove compartment or anything like that.

“He was videotaping us – so he seemed prepared to be doing something.”

“Be wary of everybody and please be careful of people pulling you over or anything like that.”

Muslim Sister in Kitchener, Ontario

MAC Kitchener Masjid, on Victoria Street North.