Alberta Avenue has always been populated by newcomers to Canada. In the last 10 years, many people moving to our community are from Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and other Arab countries.

Many mosques serve a distinct geographic population, but the Masjid Quba mosque serves an ethnically and culturally diverse group that reflects the community make-up.

On Feb. 25 and 26, Masjid Quba held an open house to welcome non-Muslim community members and introduce them to the local Muslim community. About 60 to 70 people attended the open house. Members of the mosque greeted visitors and showed them around.

Tanveer Quraishi, wife of the Masjid Quba president, said mosque members wanted to show visitors “what goes on in the mosque and to show what we teach people.” She goes onto say Islam “is a peaceful religion, not a cult [as is often shown in popular media]. The mosque is open to everyone as a place to come and have peace. People can come to pray, meditate, just sit quietly, or have coffee with the members of the community. Anyone is welcome to come here at any time.” Women are not expected to cover their heads.

Syed Hussain, the mosque director, said since the mosque was opened, he has met people from countries who speak languages he didn’t even know existed.

Anyone is welcome to visit the mosque. | Rebecca Lippiatt

The tour included a brief history of Islam. Muslims believe in all the prophets, and revere Jesus as a prophet. They point out Islam is the only religion where the words of God were conveyed directly to Muhammad, written down by his two scribes and have never been translated out of the original Arabic.

The exterior of Masjid Quba still resembles the former theatre it was. The only outward sign the building is now a mosque is the ornate metalwork designs covering the front doors. The interior is a beautiful antidote to our gloomy winter weather. The floor is covered in a continuous sky blue and aqua prayer rug. The rug is designed so all members pray as equals, from the “beggar to the multimillionaire,” said mosque president Hussain Quraishi. White arches soar overhead, and the ceiling is punctuated by sparkling light fixtures and graceful fans.

During the tour, many of the mosque members wanted to make it clear to visitors there is a distinct difference between Islam and how their religion is used in politics and culture. They do not like how Islam is used as a tool to control people in some countries.

Tanveer said the open house had “a good response, more than what we expected. People wanted to hear what we have to say and are very supportive of what we do.” She continued,“Thank you to all of you for showing up. You are all welcome to visit, ask questions.”

Feature image: The open house welcomed 60-70 non-Muslim community members. | Rebecca Lippiatt