Take off your shoes, stay a while: P.E.I. mosque welcomes all to open house
'Lots of visitors and lots of questions and I was very happy to answer them,' says open house volunteer
Laughter floated in the air with the smells of Arabic coffee as the Masjid Dar As-Salam mosque in Charlottetown welcomed all visitors during an open house on Saturday.
The event was hosted at the mosque on MacAleer Drive by the Muslim Society of P.E.I. to give the curious a chance to come inside and learn more about the city's mosque and Islamic religion.
Organizers say it was an opportunity to welcome anyone, and for everyone to learn more.
The doors opened at 10 a.m. and more then 200 people had stopped by before the event finished at 1 pm.
Everyone was asked to remove their shoes before entering the carpeted prayer hall but were eagerly welcomed to explore inside.
The basement was filled with different regional foods like namak paray and there was fresh brewed Arabic coffee for those looking for a taste.
Literature on the Islamic religion was available, as well as volunteers who were eager answer any questions, such as Khadija Ghanam.
"I wanted to be able to show to the whole community, and get them to know the Muslim community," Ghanam said.
"There was lots of visitors and lots of questions and I was very happy to answer them and get to know lots of people so it was really a very good day."
A number of politicians were among the visitors including Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Opposition Leader James Aylward, federal MP Sean Casey and provincial MLA Kathleen Casey.
The Central Queens United Church youth group from Hunter River loved the food and were glad to learn more about the Islamic religion.
P.E.I.'s first permanent mosque only opened in 2012, Chishti said, but is already feeling small.
"I have been living here since 1979 and in the last 10 years, the population has almost quadrupled," Chishti said.
Chishti said the congregation has grown since the mosque opened in 2012, with between 140 and 150 showing up for Friday prayers.
The Muslim Society of P.E.I. is in the process of purchasing more land behind the current mosque, looking to expand to keep up with the growing population.