Members of Canada’s oldest mosque are preaching unity as Islamophobic incidents hit new records.
The Muslims are also reaching out to others to combat hate, City News reported.
“Alberta has one of the highest numbers of the incidents of hate crimes towards Muslims,” said life-long Edmontonian and Imam Sadiq Pathan.
Eighty years after its inauguration, the mosque is facing different kinds of hate attacks.
In January 2019, a group of individuals connected to Soldiers of Oden and The Clann, known far-right Islamophobic hate groups, entered the Al Rashid Mosque.
The men left after being asked by mosque officials about their presence and then confronted community members outside.
The mosque later added more security measures to avoid any tragic incident. It also opened its doors to welcome anyone seeking a conversation with a Muslim.
They also host Ramadan iftar for all Edmontonians and open their doors during winter to shield the homeless.
“Now we have this exchange between various faith groups and Al-Rashid Muslim community,” Pathan added.
“I would say to those who harbor hate towards Muslims that please come, try to get to know a Muslim and I promise you our mosque will always be open.”
In recent years, the number of Islamophobic hate groups has jumped up in Alberta and some have created militia-like groups.
Statistics Canada reported a 151% spike in police-reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2017 following the Quebec mosque attack and the RCMP says far-right extremists have become emboldened in Canada.
The NCCM reiterates its call from December for the federal government to fully recognize the growing threat from far-right groups in Canada.
Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey estimated Muslims in Canada to be around 1,053,945, or about 3.2% of the population, making Islam the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.