Charlottetown mosque making $400K expansion
The Muslim Society of P.E.I. is expanding the Masjid Dar As-Salam mosque in Charlottetown.
Najam Chishti, the society's president, said the group decided about three years ago that they needed a bigger space for their community.
"I didn't think in my wildest dream that in five, six years the place will be [too] small because of the refugees, people coming over here and then the retention of most of the professionals who used to go away," Chishti said.
Chishti said the society bought land just behind the mosque and has been raising funds for construction. This year, the group established a committee that got construction plans approved by the city of Charlottetown, Chishti said. Construction began on the expansion last week.
Chishti expects the project will costs about $400,000 all together. There's still about $100,000 left to raise, which the society hopes to achieve by mid-August.
The mosque on MacAleer Drive opened in July 2012. Chisti said the expanded mosque will accommodate about 500 people.
What's being added
The main prayer space will be expanded and four or five classrooms will be added to the basement, Chisti said. The classrooms will be used to teach children the basic principles of Islam and how to read the Qur'an.
"These days living in the West, it's very hard to spend time with the kids because early in the morning at eight o'clock, they've gone to school" he said.
"They [are] already speaking English and [the] language French they are learning. So there's less time of Arabic speaking and the teaching of Islam."
Chishti said the funds for the expansion were raised by word of mouth. He said members of the mosque and their families across the country, as well as former community members who moved away from P.E.I., have donated to the project.
"We are proud that [the] community is very religious and they are keen to extend the mosque and they are helping us out."
Chishti said the Muslim Society of P.E.I.'s next project will be to establish a community centre.