An Edmonton mosque believed to be the oldest in Canada has opened its doors to homeless people during a stretch of extremely cold weather in Alberta.
The Al Rashid Mosque says it is collaborating with the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) to stay open from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. for anyone needing a place to stay overnight.
“It’s the Edmontonian’s spirit, the Albertan’s spirit, to help out and most importantly, as Muslims, that’s what we truly believe in,” AMPAC president Faisal Khan Suri said.
It says people will be offered hot meals, shelter and other necessities.
Volunteers will stay overnight to help. Suri said the doors will be open to everyone, no matter their religion.
“We’re a loving and embracing community and this is no different,” he said.
An extreme cold warning has been in place for much of Alberta for several days.
Overnight temperatures in Edmonton have been in the -30s C with wind chill factors in the -40s.
“It’s been very, very cold weather outside and we’re blessed to have warm homes and warm meals and warm families to go back to, but many unfortunate people in our town do not,” said Noor al-Henedy, Al Rashid Mosque communications director.
“We had a few members of our community that had noticed some rough sleepers around the city, especially around our neighbourhood here. They’ve always followed the standard protocol of calling 211, but our community has been concerned about this and we decided we need a hub in this area of town.”
Watch below: Here is Mike Sobel’s early morning weather forecast for the Edmonton area for Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.
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With files from Sarah Kraus, Global News.