Ground has been broken for a $6-million, 27,000 squarefoot mosque on Saskatoon’s eastern edge, and an official hopes it will foster goodwill among all religions and cultures.
“We hope this place will convey a sense of multiculturalism and peace. We will promote love for all, hatred for none,” said Zahid Abid, missionary of the future Darul Rahmat Mosque.
The mosque will house the city’s growing numbers of Ahmadiyya Muslims. The current 1,000 members conduct services at a much smaller location on McKercher Drive and Boychuk Drive.
Nearly 400 people attended Saturday’s ground breaking ceremony.
“Our community is growing, so the needs are growing,” Abid said.
The new building, at the intersection of Highway 16 and Boychuk Drive, should be complete by 2015, he said. It will contain a prayer space, gymnasium, library, offices and classroom space. The estimated $6-million construction cost has been partly raised, and mosque members will fundraise for the remainder, he said.
It will be the fourth purpose-built Amadiyya mosque in Canada.
Abid said many new members are arriving from Pakistan and other countries, but also from other Canadian cities.
Abid said the promise of good jobs, along with the laid-back and welcoming atmosphere of Saskatoon, is a strong draw. Abid arrived in Saskatoon two years ago after eight years in Toronto.
“I feel much happier here. There are good social values here and people aren’t in so much of a hurry,” he said.
However, there is still room for progress, he said. During a recent event, Amadiyya members were handing out leaflets in a town just outside Saskatoon when a woman began to yell at them.
“I don’t want to talk to you. You’re all terrorists,” she said.
Abid said he hopes all Saskatoon people will visit the new mosque and get to know them.
“We welcome others to share all of this with us,” he said.