I began this week on Monday by breaking fast with the MSA at UBC, immediately west of Vancouver.

I end the week tonight by breaking fast the Muslim Students’ Association at Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus, east of Vancouver.

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CBC Vancouver’s Jason D’Souza spoke with Nada Elmasry, a 26 year old Muslim woman living in Vancouver.

‘It gets worse when you’re not just a Muslim; you’re a woman, you’re visibly Muslim, possibly you’re an immigrant’

– Nada Elmasry

She shares some of experience of being both a woman and a Muslim, while addressing a number of important misconceptions, all in under 8 minutes.

‘Once you know a person — once you actually know them face-to-face — you know them at a personal level. It becomes harder for us to believe those negative stories that we hear all the time on TV.’

– Nada Elmasry

First Friday of Ramadan 2017 finds me taking it easy and attending Ajyal Islamic Centre which is the closest Jumah Location from my place in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

It’s early enough that I can join the first row, before it becomes the second row later on, due to everyone squeezing to allow as many fellow worshippers as possible.

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Another Ramadan. Another Musalah without an official name. This time in Downtown Vancouver.

Last year, during our New Brunswick Leg of 30 Masjids Canada, during Day 10 and Night 11 of Ramadan 2016, I prayed in a new Musalah in Saint John. It was created for then newly arrived Syrian Refugees in easing the experience of their first Ramadan in Canada.

The then new Masjid was at 370 Somerset Street in Saint John was so new, it didn’t yet have an official name.

On the very last day of Ramadan 2016, I prayed Dhuhr, the mid-day prayer, in Downtown Vancouver on the ground floor in a small cozy prayer space accessed via the alley behind 888 Granville Street, a few metres north off Smithe Street.

During Ramadan however, Iftar, Maghrib, Isha and Taraweeh are found upstairs…

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Tonight takes us into South Vancouver and the Fraserview neighbourhood.

And south of here used to be an important village of The Musqueam People, the original First Nation whose Unceded Territory this part of the city occupies.

Fraser Street is rich with multi-cultural shops and restaurants. On either side of Fraser are ethnically-mixed residential blocks, lots of them. These are the low-density Single Family Homes that make up so much of the news nowadays due to the housing crisis.

In that mix, is a basement prayer space that can easily be missed, even as you walk by and are looking for it.

Fraserview Muslim Community Services is located at 6436 Fraser Street.

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Masjid-Ul Haqq is a neighbourhood masjid located at 4162 Welwyn Street, a few steps north of Kingsway, inbetween Knight Street and Victoria Drive.

This masjid also serves as the Vancouver Branch of The British Columbia Muslim Association.

4162 Welwyn Street was originally a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

MSA UBC is excited to announce weekly iftaars on campus every Monday and Thursday. The iftaar for the 29th of May and 1st of June will be held in the lower level of the nest (Agora) at 9pm.

We hope to see you there!

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Masjid Omar Al-Farook is located at 1659 East 10th Avenue.

Their large sign is easy to spot from a few steps east at Commercial Drive.

A little less easy to spot is this small kind note, taped to that sign:

To You
Your Jewish Neighbour

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The first full day of fasting of Ramadan 2017 finds me deciding to break fast at MAC Islamic Centre.

MAC is located at 2122 Kingsway in East Vancouver.

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I met Brother Spencer in the second floor foyer of the MAC Islamic Center in Vancouver shortly before Sunset.

Why was he putting shoes on and getting ready to leave with Iftar time so close?

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Ajyal Islamic Centre is in Downtown Vancouver.

Ajyal is walking distance from my place in the Downtown Eastside and has become my “home” Masjid.

It’s a Musallah, a leased prayer space in the International Village Complex at 181 Keefer Place, Unit 202.

For this first night of Ramadan, before the First Day of Fasting begins, it was perhaps inevitable that I would begin my Taraweeh Prayers with the Congregation I spend the most time with.

That, and the fact I ran out of time returning to downtown from Burnaby Mountain after going there for Ramadan Moonsighting… with Ajyal’s Moonsighting Group, so they were “my ride” too!

Ajyal will provide Free Iftars for everyone to break their fast followed by Iftar Dinner everyday.

Around 11 p.m., a very short overview of some of the Verses of The Qur’an which will be read during the Taraweeh will be shared.

Isha will begin at 11:20 p.m and Taraweeh starts right at 11:30 p.m.

They pray 8 Rakats (units) of Prayer for Taraweeh. It’s Tag-Team Taraweeh as you may hear from the videos below.

They won’t be reading the entire Qur’an over the entire month due to time constraints. Instead, Ajyal Taraweeh Leaders will start reciting each of the 30th Parts of the Qur’an (the Juz) and see how far they can get to. The rest of the part, people are encouraged to complete reading on their own at home.

Each Sunday Morning, there will also be a short Islamic Education session before Sahoor, the pre-dawn meal, which will be provided.

During the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan, Ajyal will also provide pre-dawn Sahoor in addition to the earlier Iftar Dinners. So, you could stay overnight from Sunset til Sunrise and you’re good to go.

Ajyal is steps away from the Chinatown-Skytrain Station. Muslims from all over Metro Vancouver do pray here.

Because the Skytrain stops running about 12:30 a.m., Ajyal will conclude Witr Prayer by 12:15 a.m., leaving enough of a margin to make the train if need be.

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On Friday Evening, May 26 2017, I joined with Ajyal Islamic Centre‘s Moonsighting Group, Brothers Zachariah, Ali, Omar, to search for the new Ramadan Moon.

The four of us travelled to Burnaby Mountain Park, highest unobstructed point in Metro Vancouver.

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In appreciation of the support the Muslim Community received over the tragic Quebec shooting.

Thank you for standing in solidarity with us, and for the kind and very compassionate emails and messages received. …

… Let us get to know each other over a cup of tea. Look forward to seeing all at the Open House.

Conveniently located steps away from Stadium Station.

FREE 2-hour underground PARKING at International Village Mall. Parking entrance east of Abbott Street between Keefer and Pender St.

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