Ottawa-Gatineau Muslims pray, raise money for Fort McMurray residents

Congregations at mosques across Ottawa and Gatineau held special prayers Friday for those fleeing the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Ottawa Mosque alone hopes to raise $40K for Red Cross

Imam Samy Metwally said the Ottawa Mosque sees up to 1,500 congregants on Friday afternoons. (CBC)

Congregations at mosques across Ottawa and Gatineau held special prayers Friday for those fleeing the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta.

In a news release, members of the 12-member United Muslim Organizations of Ottawa-Gatineau said they intended to pray for the well being of those who have lost everything escaping the flames. 

Friday prayers hold special significance for Muslims, said Imam Samy Metwally of the Ottawa Mosque. "It's the most important prayer of the week in all mosques for all Muslims ... it is the most-attended prayer."

I just want to encourage everyone, whether they are Muslim or not, whether they come to the prayer or not, to make a contribution.- Sikander Hashmi, Kanata Muslim Association

Metwally said disasters like the one in Alberta can happen anywhere, a fact he hopes all Canadians will consider. "I really hope from our community, and all other communities, to unite together to show their support and their prayer to our fellow Canadian citizens."

Several mosques in the region have also committed to raising money for the ongoing relief efforts. Metwally said his congregation hopes to send about $40,000 to the Canadian Red Cross. 

"The pictures and stories that we're seeing and hearing are absolutely harrowing. I just want to encourage everyone, whether they are Muslim or not, whether they come to the prayer or not, to make a contribution," said the Kanata Muslim Association's Sikander Hashmi.