TORONTO – Masjid Toronto opened its doors today to the public so that Torontonians could learn about Muslims and the religion of Islam.
On February 17, worshippers attending Friday prayer services at the mosque were greeted by protestors carrying banners and with loudspeakers, shouting Islamophobic slogans and calling for a ban of Islam.
According to the mosque, today’s open house was organized so that the Torontonians could learn ‘more about our history, community and culture.’
“I just wanted to come here and show my support for the Muslim people,” said John who came out today to show his support for the mosque.
“Everyone should have the right to worship who they want to and how they want to.”
After seeing pictures of the anti-Islam protest a week ago on social media, a group of counter-protesters showed up outside of the two mosque locations, Masjid Toronto at Dundas and Masjid Toronto at Adelaide, with last-minute signs in support of Muslims.
The show of support for the mosque continued throughout the week with signs and flowers being placed at the mosque’s entrance.
At the weekly Friday prayer services, dozens of people showed up with placards carrying messages such as, ‘We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters’ and ‘Love to our neighbors.’
Many faith leaders came out to today’s open house and reflected on the recent climate of fear and hate.
“The messages out there in the world are instructing people to fear each other and to hate each other and to get into this us-versus-them mentality, “ mused Jenny Issacs, Director of Heart to Heart on 680 News.
The Imam of the mosque, Dr. Wael Shehab, thinks that while hate is on the rise, love and support is also on the rise.
“There is a rise in Islamophobia everywhere but the support for the Muslim community and for all people of faith is on the rise and it is turning the situation into something positive,” said Imam Shehab in a 680 News report.
People who attended the open house thought it is a great way for people to come together and support each other.
Masjid Toronto is a vibrant mosque in the heart of downtown Toronto, on Dundas Street west of Bay Street, and serves a large and diverse Muslim community.
Another facility was purchased a few years ago and a satellite mosque, Masjid Toronto at Adelaide, was opened at Church and Adelaide Streets.
Every Friday, thousands of worshipers attend one of the four weekly prayer services.
The unique locations of the mosques near Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, as well as its proximity to downtown businesses, hospitals, city and provincial governments, and the bus terminal, make it a sanctuary for Muslim professionals, students and travelers alike.