Edmonton mosque opens its door to the public to shed light on Muslim faith

WATCH ABOVE: The Hadi Mosque in Edmonton opened its doors to the public Sunday in hopes of dispelling any myths around the Muslim faith. Jessica Kent reports. 

EDMONTON — An east Edmonton mosque opened its doors Sunday to anyone interested in learning more about the Muslim faith. After a recent video released by extremist group al-Shabab listed West Edmonton Mall as a possible target, Muslims at the Hadi Mosque thought it was important to show Edmontonians that Islam is a religion of peace, not violence.

“The purpose of this open house is to come and see Muslims are like human beings. If you cut me, my blood is the same colour as yours. I suffer the same way as you suffer,” said Mohyuddin Mirza, the outreach director of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Edmonton. “We just want to promote the idea we are living in your community, come and see us, you won’t see any violence.”

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Edmontonians of all faiths were invited to Sunday’s open house at the Ottewell-area mosque. Mirza said the main goal of the information session, which the mosque frequently holds, was to dispel any myths that Muslims are linked to extremism.

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“What Islamic State is doing has nothing to do with Islam. It’s just a power hungry type thing they are doing,” he explained. “Islam doesn’t teach these kind of things which happened in France, for example … Islam is a religion or faith which literally means peace; total submission to the will of the creators.”

Humayun Ahmed, who volunteers at the mosque, moved to Canada in 2005. He’s been in Edmonton since 2011 and says one of the oldest mosques in North America is actually located right here in Edmonton. The Rashid Mosque was built in the 1930s.

“Islam has been established here, Muslims have been in Edmonton for a long time now,” Ahmed said Sunday. “Many of the Muslims who come from southeast Asia [are] looking for a way to spend their lives away from extremism and away from persecution, and that’s the reason many of us have come to Canada.”

The open house was well-attended both by those who live in the neighbourhood and those who don’t.

“I think it’s fantastic. As soon as I got the invite in my mailbox I said to my husband, ‘We’re going to this,'” said Carol Donahue, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 31 years. “I just think that they are our neighbours and why shouldn’t we learn something about their culture.”

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“I’m really just interested in learning what the true meaning of Islam is,” added Sybil Cooper, who lives in Edmonton, but not near the Hadi Mosque.

It’s exactly the reaction those at the Hadi Mosque hoped for when organizing the event. They say Edmontonians have been accepting of their culture and hope the relationship continues to flourish.

“We’re trying to tell people to have no fear of Muslims, especially the Muslims in Canada,” said Mirza.

Approximately 50,000 Muslims call Edmonton home. The Hadi Mosque is hosting another event over the next couple weeks called ‘Meet a Muslim Family,’ which coincides with a national event. For more information, visit the event’s website.

With files from Jessica Kent, Global News.

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