Cultural Connection through Victoria's Mosque

The Mosque is an integral connection point to the Muslim community located on Vancouver Island and, specifically in Greater Victoria.  There is only one mosque on all of Vancouver Island! For newcomer Muslim immigrants and refugees, the Masjid Al-Iman (located at 2218 Quadra Street) (omit “often”) opens many doors to Canadian society and culture. To help newcomers learn about Canadian culture and make connections with the broader community, the Mosque offers orientation sessions. The Mosque also offer education session to local groups who are sponsors of refugees- such as the recent resettlement of Syrian refugees- as a way to help them learn about Muslim culture and faith practices.

The Mosque’s is a longtime member of the Community Partnership Network (CPN)- a network of businesses and organizations that promote diversity and inclusion in Greater Victoria. The Mosque’s relationship with the Community Partnership Network allows connections to be made across faiths and cultures. The Mosque has played a pivotal role in providing information and education. This serves to open doors of understanding across communities.

Examples of programs and supports offered at the Mosque can be seen each Wednesday as the Mosques offers a Moms and Tots play session. This program encourages and shares the belief that “kids will be kids” and nurtures childhood friendships to continue as they grow up. Parents also get to meet other parents to create a supportive environment for raising children in a more accessible and inclusive community.

Soccer is considered one of the worlds’ global sports; that is true in Victoria as well. Many members of the Mosque play soccer for fun, for friendship and for exercise. Throughout the year, the Mosque supports a youth team to play in tournaments around Greater Victoria. There is pick up soccer on Wednesdays and Sundays at the nearby Topaz Park.

I had the luck of visiting the Mosque during Ramadan in June of 2017. Ramadan is one of the holiest religious holidays for the Muslim community. During Ramadan, members of the Muslim community are required to fast from sunrise to sunset. This can be extremely difficult because, for example, during the month of June the sun rises at 4 am and doesn't set till 9 pm. That means no water or food for up to 15 hours of the day. Once the sun goes down, the Muslim community is called to the evening prayer at the Mosque to break the fast and share in a communal meal. I was able to attend the Mosque and join them in the Ramadan rituals. It was an incredible experience. The community welcomed me, fed me and made me feel like I was a part of their community. It was one of the most humbling experiences I have had in my life. Since I grew up in the United States, where there are many myths and fears about the Muslim community, this was a surreal experience of feeling “welcomed”. And as a member of a visible minority group (my parents are from Haiti), I felt that I was indeed one of “their own” because of how I was welcomed and invited to share in the hospitality of the Mosque. It is encouraged and highly recommended that community members take the opportunity to visit the Mosque as I recently did. The Mosque is open every day and evening and community members are encouraged to attend and learn more about the Mosque.

Website: http://org.thebcma.com/victoria
Phone number: (250) 995 - 1422
Address: 2218 Quadra Street
 

Told by: 

Colin Saint-Vil

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Newcomers story