Victoria’s only mosque is nearly ready for its grand re-opening.
The Masjid Al-Iman mosque, located in the 2200-block of Quadra St., is roughly 85 per cent complete and should be open by the end of October, said Ali Hamado, executive director and treasurer of the B.C. Muslim Association Victoria branch.
“When I first arrived in Victoria, we used to pray off a living room in a rented townhouse,” said Hamado, who moved from Syria in 1993. “The whole community is very excited to have a new mosque.”
The previous mosque, established in 1997, was comprised of two century-old buildings on the same site across from Crystal Pool.
But with an estimated 1,200 Muslims in the Capital Region, the mosque was overdue for an upgrade.
“We always wanted to rebuild the mosque,” said Hamado, also a student in social work at the University of Victoria. “The old buildings were really run down and didn’t accommodate the number of worshippers who come.”
Thanks to help from the 12 other B.C. Muslim Association chapters, the project is only $200,000 away from its $2.2 million fundraising goal. Hamado anticipates raising the remaining money in the next two months.
“It’s for the community, for Muslims and non-Muslims,” Hamado said, explaining the mosque will include a library and learning centre, ideal for many of the elementary school tours through the place of worship.
“We regularly have public schools call us to bring the children, so we can give them a brief introduction about Islam,” he said.
Weekly prayer services will still be held at various locations across the Capital Region, including UVic, where an estimated 250 international Muslim students attend each year.
Hamado hopes the opening of Masjid Al-Imam will be a celebration for the entire community.
“Everyone is welcome,” he said.