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On Interfaith Harmony Week

Hundreds Visit Halifax Mosque to Build Bridges Between Communities

In a time of a great division, a local mosque in Halifax has welcomed hundreds of visitors to mark interfaith harmony week after three-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

About 1,000 people attended the Interfaith and Multicultural Festival hosted by the Ummah Masjid and Community Centre which welcomed people of all backgrounds and faiths to share a meal, chat and learn about Islam.

“The goal here in the community is to build bridges between communities and get together during good times. Sadly, sometimes we only get together when there is a disaster happening,” said Abdallah Yousri, the imam of the mosque, CBC reported.

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The event comes as the world marks UN World Interfaith Harmony Week 2023.

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Celebrated from February 1-7, the World Interfaith Harmony Week seeks to bring together all people of good will, regardless of faith, to learn about each other and find ways to work together on common agendas.

The mosque event, which started in 2015, has attracted more people over the past years. 

“I’m really touched when I hear from people years later that this was a remarkable experience for them,” said Yousri. 

Unique Experience

During Friday’s event, curious visitors listened to the sermon and prayers. They also learned about Arabic calligraphy and traditional clothes from around the world.

They even got to taste foods from different cultures and experience a historical virtual reality tour about Islam’s holiest cities Makkah and Madinah.

“I’ve never been in a mosque before, and I was just curious as to what it was like inside,” said Bryan Garner-Doucette.

“I find it very peaceful.”

Hate crimes targeting Muslims have significantly increased last year according to a report released by Statistics Canada in August 2022.

The report said police reported 3,360 hate crimes last year, an increase from 2,646 in 2020.