Monday, June 6, 2016

Canada: Saskatoon Ahmadiyya mosque well underway


The sound system built into the building will allow women to hear the imam’s sermons while remaining segregated from the men of the congregation.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Saskatoon StarPhoenix
By Brandon Harder | June 4, 2016

Shamoon Rashid, who is over seeing construction, touring the construction site of the Ahmadiyya Mosque being build southeast of the city off Boychuk Drive, June 3, 2016.

The new 31,612 square foot mosque being built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at will include special wash basins for ablution, a funeral prep area, and a TV studio, said Shamoon Rashid, the group's local president. Gord Waldner / Saskatoon StarPhoenix


The Saskatoon skyline has long been dotted with church steeples.

A 73-foot-tall minaret will soon join them, accompanying a new mosque being built for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at at the corner of Boychuk Drive and Highway 16.

The 31,612 square foot mosque will be the first in the city to be purpose-built.

This is important because, apart from having traditional styling, the facility will offer mosque-specific features such as a special basin to wash hands and feet for ablution, and a funeral preparation area with cold storage, said Shamoon Rashid, the group’s local president.

The building is oriented so the congregation does not have to turn to face Mecca during prayer, he said.

Additionally, the sound system built into the building will allow women to hear the imam’s sermons while remaining segregated from the men of the congregation.

The facility is segregated throughout prayer and administration areas; Men will enter though the front of the building, and women through the rear.

The minaret, which would have once been used to call people for prayer, will be symbolic. Rashid said no prayer calls will be made, as the surrounding area isn’t solely Muslim.

“Doing a call for prayer at 3:30 in the morning, you might annoy some neighbours,” he said with a laugh.

However, messages from the mosque will be broadcast via satellite and the Internet. The mosque will house its own TV studio as part of the 24-hour Muslim Television Ahmadiyya network. It already has Canadian locations in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, said Noman Hassan, the group’s spokesman.

The facility will also contain a gymnasium and classrooms. Future projects include a children’s playground and a community garden.

The facility will be able to hold up to 2,000 people. Rashid noted it’s not only for Muslims.

“Anyone who worships one God is welcome to come pray. This is nothing new. It’s been that way since the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at community from across Canada have contributed savings to help build the mosque.

Qaiser Mahmood, a Pakistani butcher who moved to Saskatoon six years ago, said he donated more than $40,000 of his savings towards the construction. The money had previously been earmarked for building his family a house, but Mahmood said it was important to him that the mosque be built before his own home.

“Everywhere, all the world is a crisis, war, everything, but our community’s motto is love for all, hatred for none,” Mahmood said, noting that the head of his Islamic community told him building a mosque would help bring about world peace.

“People are thinking it’s negative, that Muslim is not good,” Mahmood said. “I want to tell (them) that Muslim is a peaceful community.”

Mahmood said he’s excited to bring his wife and two daughters to the mosque once it’s opened.

The mosque has been in the works since 1987, when the land was obtained. The estimated total cost is $10 million, and the project is set for completion in December.

bharder@postmedia.com

twitter.com/old_harder



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