In light of the Quebec City tragedy (“Six dead men. Six widows. Seventeen fatherless children. Five people in hospital.“), I decided to take time to visit the Baitun Nur Mosque (the largest mosque in Canada which happens to be in Calgary) yesterday afternoon to stand shoulder and shoulder with my Muslim brothers and sisters in this sad time.
I ended up getting a personal tour of the mosque by a very nice Mr. Sultan Mahmood (who sits on the executive council of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at). Sultan took time to talk to me even as he had to leave a scheduled meeting early where President of the executive council and other members were meeting with a representative from the Alberta Premier’s Office.
The way I see it, we need no permission from anyone to do the decent thing. And you can do what is within your power (big or small) to try to help and show support. Visiting a local mosque in your area is a good start just to say hi and to tell our fellow Muslim Canadian brothers and sisters that you care and will stand up and speak for them.
Here are some photos (with captions) from yesterday. I asked a question about the carpet markings and Sultan explained that they are designed so that people stand shoulder to shoulder with others. And of course, the direction of the halls of worship are all facing Mecca. A quick research in Wikipedia taught me the word Qibla which is “the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays during salah prayers. It is fixed as the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.”
20170204 Pix 01 With Mr. Sultan Mahmood in Baitun Nur Mosque
20170204 Pix 02 Baitun Nur Mosque
20170204 Pix 03 Dinning area in Baitun Nur Mosque
20170204 Pix 04 Big hall and basketball court in Baitun Nur Mosque
20170204 Pix 05 One of the spaces for worship in Baitun Nur Mosque
20170204 Pix 06 Carpet in the space for worship in Baitun Nur Mosque
Sultan and I agreed that it would be a tragedy if we Canadians did not learn from the painful pages of history of the Internment of Japanese Americans, Chinese head tax. And I will add our shameful history of the Rejection of the Komagata Maru, can still teach us lessons today in the Trump presidency.
P.S. By the way, I saw a Facebook post by Kent Hehr (Calgary MP and Minister of Veterans Affairs) tonight and I left the following comment:
“I’m saddened to see the vile and heartless comments left in this post at a time when 6 of our fellow Canadians got murdered, leaving their wives and 17 orphan children behind. Why people feel they can dispose common courtesy when sit behind the keyword [typo: keyboard]?
I had some free time yesterday so I did a quick Google to find the address of the Baitun Nur Mosque, the largest mosque in Canada which happens to be in Calgary. I got a wonderful personal tour of the mosque by a nice gentleman who took time to show me around leaving a meeting he was attending.
Whatever religion you believe in or not, one can choose to be a candle of light to fight the onslaught of darkness from the US and around us in some parts of Canada.
I decided to stand shoulder to shoulder with my Muslim brothers and sisters yesterday by paying a personal visit to the mosque. I need no permission from anyone to do the decent thing. And you can do whatever you can to help and show support too.
For those who don’t know how to behave decently in face of deaths and orphan children, I mourn for the lost of your basic humanity in face of partisan attacks of those you disagree with politically.“