The oldest mosque in Canada opened its doors Thursday night to rough sleepers and homeless people as temperatures hit unprecedented low degrees this winter.
“The Al Rashid Mosque in partnership with The Mustard Seed is opening its doors to rough sleepers and individuals experiencing homelessness while temperatures remain perilously low,” Al Rashid mosque wrote on Facebook.
“The Al Rashid Mosque will open the doors from 7:00 PM to 8:00 AM as long as temperatures remain low, for Edmontonians who desperately need shelter.
“Guests coming in will be offered hot meals, shelter, and basic necessities. There are also volunteers who stay overnight to help.”
Edmonton has been experiencing very cold weather recently.
An Extreme Cold Warning has been issued as the temperature or wind chill is expected to reach levels ranging from minus 30°C to minus 55°C.
Wind chill values will score near minus 40 overnight into Friday morning.
“We urge all citizens around our Mosque area to direct any rough sleepers they come across to our facility so they can be provided with help or call 211 where the authorities can provide them with assistance,” the mosque added.
“The Mustard Seed has been working closely with Al Rashid Mosque to help support this great initiative. From logistical support to multiple workshops, the goal is to ensure that our community is prepared to provide a safe shelter to those who need it most.”
This gracious act from Al Rashid Mosque falls in line with a similar pattern adopted by several mosques and Islamic centers, catering to the needs of the homeless.
In February 2019, the mosque opened its doors to shelter the needy and homeless of all faiths.
In the UK, a Birmingham mosque opened its doors last year to help homeless and rough sleepers during freezing winter temperatures.
As of the 2011 National Household Survey, 5.5% of Edmonton residents were Muslim. In fact, this isn’t the first time the Muslim community has opened its doors to help. It opened up during the Fort McMurray fires in the summer of 2016 for families fleeing the blaze.