Nova Scotia

Fundraising continues for Halifax mosque project

Construction of a two-level mosque and community centre in central Halifax is on hold for Ramadan, but the building is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Construction of a two-level mosque and community centre in central Halifax is on hold for Ramadan, but the building is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

There is still work to do on the gymnasium, library and seminar room. Construction is set to resume after Aug. 29, when the holy month of fasting and prayer ends.

Hadi Salah says most of the mosque's funding has come from people with limited incomes. (CBC)
There are about 15,000 Muslims in the Halifax region. They have been asking for a proper mosque, or Masjid, for more than 15 years.

Many people in the community had hoped the entire project on Charles Street would be ready for this holy month.

"To me, as a Muslim, I do believe it's a great thing to have a place I can play and I can pray at the same time," said Ali Duale.

Completion of the project is now dependent solely on financial support from the Muslim community.

According to Islam teachings, a mosque cannot be built with borrowed money that comes with interest, so fundraising has paid for most of the construction.

"This building is built not by the people who are well-off in the community. They donated — the people who are well off — and we appreciated their contribution," said Hadi Salah, principal of the Maritime Muslim Academy.

"But the reality is the limited income people are the people who contributed to the building of this mosque."

The Maritime Muslim Academy is sponsoring the project. It also owns the property where the mosque and multi-purpose centre sit.

The province contributed $767,681 for the community centre, through a 2007 Nova Scotia government program called B-FIT.

B-FIT was introduced as a 10-year initiative to fund major sport and recreation infrastructure.

The community centre and gymnasium will be open to the general public.

Though more fundraising is needed to finish the centre, the province says it's confident the community will raise the rest in time to complete it by the end of the year.

The mosque is complete, but the attached community centre is not. (CBC)
"The money, our money, was for the recreation side. They're working through a cash-flow problem. It's just the timing so I'm still convinced the taxpayer will be well served," said Kevin McNamara, deputy minister of the Department of Health and Wellness.

The numbers are still being tallied, but Salah estimates about $500,000 will be needed to finish the building.

He said the basement is about 90 per cent complete.

"The building will be finished within the next four to five months," said Salah.

When complete, the total spent on the mosque and community centre is expected to be about $6.2 million.