Author: Andrea W. Lorenz
Canada’s first mosque was built on the religious faith and pioneering spirit of a handful of prairie women. From its founding in 1938 to its preservation as a historic building in 1992, the Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton, Alberta has been a source of pride for Canada’s Muslim community and a place where tradition could be nurtured and celebrated. The story begins with the arrival of the first Arab immigrants in about 1882.
Most of them came from Ottoman Syria; many were young men fleeing conscription into the Ottoman army. Most were Christians, but a few were Muslims; most settled in the east, but a few headed west. Many became peddlers, and some of them reached the most remote outposts of what was then Canada’s western frontier.