P.E.I.'s first permanent mosque opens
Muslims on P.E.I. are celebrating the opening of the province's first permanent mosque Saturday.
They're hoping the new $700,000 place of worship on MacAleer Drive will attract new immigrants to the Island. Currently, about 100 Muslim families live on the Island.
"We have been dreaming for this space for the past 40 years," said Dr. Najam Chishti, president of the Muslim Society of P.E.I. "I have lived 32 years on the Island. And it's a really historic day at the birthplace of Canada."
For the past eight years, Muslims have prayed in the basement of a building in Charlottetown's downtown.
Besides offering a space for worship, the new mosque will offer youth and social programs for the community. The mosque will also act as an Islamic Centre, so non-Muslims can also learn about the religion.
"All our brothers and sisters are welcome," Chishti said.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, who was on hand for the opening, and said the mosque will give Muslims an added incentive to stay on P.E.I. in addition to helping attract immigrants.
"Many people have looked at P.E.I. as a place to move to with their families. But because of the lack of religious facilities, they opted to go to larger communities."
The Muslim Society of P.E.I. agrees, saying the mosque was built to accommodate future expansion.