Abbotsford (Ann Soutar) – In the wake of the recent deadly terrorist attack on a Quebec City mosque, Adnan Bhat has created the first Open Mosque Day at the Abbotsford Islamic Centre on February 11.
The event, meant to answer questions and bridge a knowledge gap, is perhaps even more important given the mood of North Americans since the US election of Donald Trump and the travel ban targeting Muslims.
This terrorist attack has rocked Canadians and people around the Globe.
Bhat – a Chilliwack resident who has held open mosque days in the Okanagan and runs his own foundation – said the Quebec attack left him shaken.
“This was something that I never thought would happen in Canada,” Bhat said.
Vigils have been held across Canada and throughout the world to honor those lives lost in this recent attack.
On Monday, the Abbotsford mosque received letters and cards of condolence and flowers from the community, and the following evening, Abbotsford residents came together at the Salton Road mosque for a vigil.
Art Turnbull, with the Abbotsford Interfaith Movement, said Tuesday’s vigil was important to show solidarity with the Muslim community.
“An attack on a place of worship … is a direct attack on our Canadian right of freedom of religion,” he said. “That’s an offence against all religions.”
Meanwhile, Bhat and members of the Abbotsford mosque continue to prepare for the upcoming open house. In addition to tours of the Salton Road building, tables on a range of issues will be set up to answer attendees’ questions. Several kids are preparing their own educational booth, and there will even be a chance to try on, and take pictures in, hijabs.
Swaleyha Islam said Muslims are often “dehumanized” in the media and hopes the event will foster more understanding.
“We want to show we’re not really different from anybody else,” said the Abbotsford-born-and-raised teen.
Local residents who were born abroad are also still trying to process how they might be affected by U.S. President Donald Trump’s new ban on travellers from certain countries.
Need to get quotes from the Mosque…..