Eastern Newfoundland's Muslim community hopes to build a new Islamic centre, equipped with prayer rooms, classrooms and a gym.
The community’s first and only mosque, Masjid-an-Noor, was built in St. John’s two decades ago but the growing community’s leaders say it's no longer big enough.
"Our community has expanded so much, we need double the size of this mosque," said Muhammad Nazir, who was here when the first mosque was built 20 years ago. Since then, the community has grown to include more than 1,500 members.
The new mosque, which is expected to cost about $1 million, has been in the works since 2010 but community leaders say it ran into a roadblock.
The Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador bought land near Sugar Loaf Road but the city rejected the group’s proposal because the land is zoned rural.
"We really wanted to have the mosque last year, started building, so we could have it this year, but what happened? We submitted the project to the city and it was shut down. This year we will try to modify the project and present it again," said Syed Pirzada, president of the local Muslim association.
The group now hopes that, with the city’s approval, a new mosque will open by the end of 2013.