LONDON – The growing Muslim community in London, Ontario, have been seeking more venues for Friday Jum`ah prayer, with many of them finding it difficult to attend the overcrowded congregational prayer.
“When it comes to Friday prayer, it’s congestion galore,” said Ali Chahbar of the Mosque, CBC reported.
“As you know the Muslim community is getting bigger and bigger. The place for offering Friday prayer is not enough, so the [mosque] is trying to expand the locations for the convenience of those who want to pray,” said Yahya Kharrat, a professor at Western University, who attended the prayer at the arena last Friday.
Every Friday, the prayer room, as well as the mosque’s basement, become so crowded with worshippers coming to the mosque.
Some congregation-goers said that the parking at the mosque fills up in minutes and they often find themselves having to park by the street or in different plazas.
“Some people get discouraged to go just from the anxiety of leaving the parking,” said Chahbar.
Therefore, the mosque officials have started looking for other venues to build a larger mosque and community center.
The new project, Noor Gardens, also known as the Southdale Project, is an initiative by the Muslim Association of Canada to start a multi-purpose center for Muslims.
“We need more space, not just for prayer, but also for activities … it’s about time our community started accommodating us in that area too,” said Chahbar.
According to the Canadian 2001 Census, Muslims represented 5.5% of the total population of Toronto.