Grand Mosque to welcome Winnipeggers at open house – Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg’s Grand Mosque is inviting people to meet their neighbors at the annual open house after two years of pandemic restrictions.

The mosque in the city’s south end will be open from 3 pm to 6 pm Sunday, with presentations, tours and refreshments.

“It’s an opportunity to build bridges and connect with each other,” said Idris Elbakri, secretary of the Manitoba Islamic Association board.

DANIEL CRUMP / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The mosque in the city’s south end will be open from 3 pm to 6 pm Sunday, with presentations, tours and refreshments.

“We invite people who are curious about Islam, who may have never been in a mosque before, to come and learn more about us,” he said, adding it can be a way to “dispel any misunderstandings.”

“Our world is so polarized,” he said. “We need to get to know each other better.”

A common misconception is that worshipers face southeast, towards Mecca.

“The world is a globe, not a flat map,” said Elbakri. “We face northeast, since that is the shortest distance from Winnipeg.”

Unlike in some other countries, where a mosque is mostly a place of worship, the Grand Mosque is also a community hub, hosting meetings, programs, activities and a food bank.

“We’ve provided food for over 4,000 people this year,” he said, noting that not all of them are Muslim.

Visitors can also learn about the diversity in the local Muslim community, which has members from about 80 countries.

Elbakri said a big challenge for the community is its growth.

Nationally, the 2021 census shows the number of Muslims in Canada more than doubled since 2011 to five per cent of the population, or 1.8 million people.

In Winnipeg, it grew from 12,000 to 26,000 people in the same time frame. “We’ve seen tremendous growth,” he said.

Much of that growth is from immigration, including the influx of refugees from Syria, he said.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

“It’s an opportunity to build bridges and connect with each other,” said Idris Elbakri, secretary of the Manitoba Islamic Association board.

After the mosque opened up again after the pandemic, “we were taken back by how many new people there were,” he said.

Before the pandemic, the mosque offered only one prayer service on Fridays. “Now we routinely hold two,” Elbakri said, noting when he arrived in Winnipeg in 2005 there were only two mosques — now there are “seven or eight.”

While glad for the growth, the increase means “we’ve lost that small community feeling,” he said, adding services for local Muslims “are definitely strained.”

At the same time, there is a “vibrancy” in the community with all the newcomers, he said.

One consequence of the growth is that the Grand Mosque is looking at expansion. “We are asking ourselves what new facilities we need to build,” he said.

Overall, the story of the Muslim community in Winnipeg “is a truly Canadian story of diversity, capitalizing on opportunities and becoming at ease in their identity as Canadians and Muslims,” ​​Elbakri said, adding he hopes many will attend the open house to “meet us, celebrate with us, and learn more about us how our story is unfolding here in different ways.”

The Grand Mosque is located at 2445 Waverly St.

[email protected]

The Free Press is committed to covering faith in Manitoba. If you appreciate that coverage, help us do more! Your contribution of $10, $25 or more will allow us to deepen our reporting about faith in the province. Thanks!

BECOME A FAITH JOURNALISM SUPPORTER

Click here to learn more about the project.

John Longhurst

John Longhurst
Faith reporter

John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg’s faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the US, and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
DRAGONINKHOUSE