Translator: Bi’ Dünya Haber
Throughout the centuries, when Muslims conquered a place, they allowed people of different religions to practice their faith and ensured their rights, following the example set by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muslims have historically respected existing churches, refraining from touching them if they were still functional, and instead converting abandoned places of worship into mosques after restoring them. In this article, we, as Bi’ Dünya Haber, will share the recent transformation of the former St. Margaret Mary Church in Canada into a mosque by Canadian Muslims.
After three years of inactivity, the old St. Margaret Mary Church will soon open its doors as a mosque, welcoming worshippers. Imam Syed Soharwardy announced that the Canadian Islamic Council would purchase the closed building in November 2022. The Canadian Islamic Council currently manages 32 mosques across the country, including two former churches.
According to La Croix, while a part of the building will serve as a mosque, the majority of the premises will function as a multicultural center catering to elderly citizens, hosting music and art groups, and housing a Montessori school for children.
Soharwardy expressed his desire to show respect for the emotional and spiritual connection people have with the church, which has served as a place of worship for over a century, during an interview with CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning program. He added that once the purchase of the long-unused building was finalized in March, he was confident it would set a great and beautiful example for the entire Canadian community and perhaps even the world.
Missy Fraser, a long-time congregant of St. Margaret Mary Church until its closure in 2019 due to financial constraints, praised Imam Soharwardy’s vision. Fraser expressed her excitement about the building continuing to be a place of worship, just as it had been in the past, while also serving others. She stated, “We are preserving the past while moving towards the future.”
Canada is home to approximately 1,053,945 Muslims, and this number is said to increase with each census. It is truly impressive to see our Canadian Muslim brothers and sisters converting an abandoned church into a mosque and organizing various activities that benefit the Canadian community. They serve as an example, not only to non-Muslims but also to those of us who strive to live and act according to the principles of Islam, inspiring us to be exemplary in our behavior towards people of different faiths in Canada. May we all be guided to live by the teachings of Islam and serve as examples to others.