The history of the Muslim community in Manitoba goes back to the early 1900s.
This is a forgotten fact Ismael Mukhtar discovered when he started researching history of Muslim for his new book, “Manitoba Muslims: A History of Resilience and Growth.”
“I found that there is a chapter of the history of this community that has not been documented and basically has been forgotten,” he told CBC’s Up to Speed host Marjorie Dowhos, CBC reported.
His extensive research found that the first Muslims arrived in the province in early 1900s to build the first mosque there.
📚 Read Also: Birds Die in Paradise
This was long before the fast-growing Muslim community hovered below 1,000 people in the 1970s and reached the roughly 20,000 today.
As the few founders died and their memories started to fade, Mukhtar believes the book was urged to preserve this history.
In addition to tracing early Muslims, the book also looks at some of the challenges the community has faced, from stereotypes to Islamophobic vandalism to issues Muslim women see in the workplace.
“The book tries to provide a deeper look into the nature of this challenge and how the community has been tackling that,” Mukhtar said.
Mukhtar said he hopes the book will help demystify Muslims for people in Manitoba — and show how deeply connected his community’s history is to the province’s larger story.
“Muslims in Manitoba, they are in every walk of life: they are in the medical profession, they are in finance, they are in business,” he said.
“We are all in the same province and our history is one. Our future is one. So if the Muslim community thrives, the whole society thrives.”
Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey found that Islam is adhered to by 3.2% of the total population.
This makes Islam the second-largest religion in the country after Christianity.