Saturday, February 20, 2021

Canada: History of Baitul Ehsaan Mosque (to be), NL

We are all looking forward to be a force of good in this beautiful town as soon as our Mosque/Mission House is renovated.

Mr. Malik, Harris Mubashir & Mohamed Boodhun @ 2750 Topsail Road - CBS, NL – Nov 2019
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | CA Desk
Source/Credit: Mohamed Sadiq Boodhun
By Mohamed Sadiq Boodhun | February 20, 2021

In October 2016 during the course of an interview with His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (May Allah strengthen his hands), current Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the Baitul Islam Mosque in Maple Ontario, Peter Mansbridge mentioned that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Canada (AMJC) has Mosques stretching from Newfoundland to British Columbia. That was not an accurate statement, but it triggered a desire in many members to build a Mosque in Newfoundland.

Lal Khan Malik Sahib Amir AMJ-Canada visited Eastern Canada on multiple occasions and often floated the idea of having a Mosque in the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador (NL)
St John’s, NL occupies a very strategic place in the world. It is the oldest and most eastern town of North America.  The first Airport and Seaport one comes across when travelling from Europe to North America is in St John’s, NL.

In October 2018 Amir Sahib Canada met Mansour Ahmad Sahib of Regina, Saskatchewan in Guatemala at the time of the inauguration of Nasir Hospital by His Holiness. Amir Sahib Canada expressed the desire of finding a property in St John’s, NL so that the local community could congregate regularly. Mansour Sahib subsequently visited St John’s, NL in November 2018 with that aim in mind. 

During his 10 day stay in the Province he looked at all the real estates in the region and could not find any property available in the St John’s area that would be zoned for place of worship. Interestingly he was able to find an old property on 2.17 acres of land next to a river in the town of Manuels. When Mansour Ahmad saw the property he immediately felt that he found what he was looking for..
The property is situated at a very good location in the Conception Bay South Community. It lies between Topsail Road and the famous Manuels River. Once inside the property the sound of the Manuels River is soothing and music to the ears!

The initial asking price of that property was $600,000 CAD. There was no buyer in the first year. The price was later reduced. AMJ made a few counter offers.

In the end the Property was purchased at a sum of CAD $425,000 including taxes and other fees. The property was paid in full from contributions of members of AMJ Newfoundland.

Currently there are only 8 families who came and stayed in the Province.  They are as follows in chronological order: 

1) Mansour Ahmad & family - St John’s, NL  - 1997
2) Dr Mohamed S Boodhun & family Grand Falls-Windsor, NL - 2000
3) Dr Khalid Jat & family - St John’s, NL - 2004
4) Kaleem Ahmad Sahib & family - St John’s, NL - 2007
5) Harris Mubashir Sahib - St John’s, NL - 2011 
6) Aamir Sheikh & family -  St John’s, NL - 2012
7) Dr Omer Malhi & family - St John’s, NL - 2016
8) Dr & Mrs Munir Shahzad - Corner Brook, NL - 2019

Manuels is one of the towns within the community of CBS (Conception Bay South). It is about 15 minutes from Downtown St Johns and 20 minutes from the YYT Airport. This is where Allah has willed that AMJC has its center in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sadr AMJ-NL Dr Omer Malhi and Aamir Sheikh Sahib - Parking Lot Construction - October 2020

This property @ 2750 Topsail road has changed owners over time. Dr Butler, Dr Aloysius John Walsh (Old doctor’s house), Arnold and Nancy Bennett and now Baitul Ehsaan Mosque (House of Grace) owned by AMJ Canada. The town of CBS fondly remembers this property as the old Doctor’s house.
Since then the parking lot has been completed with proper drainage and lighting.  It can accommodate thirteen cars.

Sadr AMJ-NL Dr Omer Malhi and Aamir Sheikh Sahib - Parking Lot Construction - October 2020
The Property was purchased by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada in August 2019. The town of CBS agreed to renovations according to the National Construction Code. The new Parking lot was constructed in November 2020. Inside renovations – Upper level as residence for the Imam and lower level as congregational/Mosque space – were delayed because of COVID-19. The plan is now to complete the building renovations by August 2021.

The property is on a major road (2750 Topsail) and has always been off the eyes of the public, so to speak, because of the red wooden fence on Topsail road and the trees all around it. Since the fence was torn apart and the trees cut down to accommodate the Parking area, the property has suddenly started catching the attention of everyone. Many people thought that the local council made the parking so that the residents may have access to the hiking trails and the other side of the popular Manuels River!

On January 28th 2021 three youngsters vandalized the property. They shattered many windows and broke a beautiful fireplace. This was actually the fourth act of vandalism of that property. Our good neighbor, Doug, across the street heard the sound of glasses being smashed in the building from his Your Way Pizza Shop. He ran into our building and identified those three youngsters. They were about 14 years old and managed to escape after seeing him. Our neighbor then called the Police who arrived on the scene shortly afterwards. The police were able to trace them through their footsteps in the snow to their nearby homes. 

The NTV reported the incident on Feb 2 in its evening news bulletin. Now everyone in the Province knows about this unfortunate incident. AMJ-Newfoundland decided to forgive rather than press charges against those youngsters, hoping that this will eventually lead to reformation.  

The outpouring of goodwill messages from different walks of society has since been overwhelming.
The Telegram, main newspaper of Newfoundland, published a brilliant article on this incident. The next day Dr Malhi had an interview on CBC Radio one. It went very well.

Dr Omer Malhi and the President of the women's wing AMJ NL, Mrs Sadia Malhi, had a meeting with the RNC, the children who caused the damage and their parents at the Police Station in CBS. Everyone was pleased and grateful for our decision.

One lady Sarah Prichett who runs the faceBook site of the CBS community got in touch with our Center in Toronto. She was redirected to our Provincial President Dr. Omer Malhi. Dr. Malhi introduced the AMJ on the CBS FB site. More than 400 people of that community so far voiced their support for our Mosque to be. They are all thanking us for having chosen CBS. They are welcoming us and look forward to the open house!

One councilor, Darrin Bent, from the town of CBS has contacted Dr. Malhi and invited him to speak with the rest of the councilors via zoom. He is also eager to have the Mosque up and running as soon as possible. The council member asked about the identity of the one who will be residing at 2750 Topsail road. Dr Malhi said this is a matter that will be decided by our National Center once the building has been cleared by the town council.

Dr Malhi was also informed by the royal constable of CBS that the RNC Chief (Royal Newfoundland Constabulary) was very pleased with the way that the incident was handled. The Chief said that it reflects the maturity of AMJ Canada. He also requested us to invite him at the time of opening of the Mosque.

Since then we have made monetary donations to a Charity Group, Boys and Girls of St John’s. We also had a zoom meeting with the Manuels River Charity group, whose office is across the Manuels bridge. They have welcomed us and are looking forward to the open house.

One Mr. Rodney Etheridge writes for a monthly neighborhood magazine in CBS called Conception Bay Living. He now wants to write a story about the plans for a Mosque in Conception Bay South. He already interviewed me a few days ago.

This is in brief the story of the upcoming Baitul Ehsaan Mosque in Newfoundland $ Labrador so far and the response of the Province to that unfortunate incident. 

We are all looking forward to be a force of good in this beautiful town as soon as our Mosque/Mission House is renovated.

On January 28 2021 a small island was completed on Topsail road in front of our Parking Area to make traffic around safer. This is per the condition of the transport department.

We now have to work hard in order to complete the renovations as soon as possible. Many people including neighbors are eagerly waiting to attend the opening ceremony of the Mosque.

Mohamed Sadiq Boodhun
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL

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