The Muslim community in southeastern Manitoba has found space in Steinbach to hold weekly Friday noon prayer services.
Saif Asi, a student at Red River College Polytech, is organizing the weekly services in Steinbach.
“I’m so happy that it’s working, that it’s getting better and better,” he says. “And hopefully in the future we will have our own place where we can go to the Mosque whenever we want, instead of only once a week.”
These prayer services began earlier this month in Steinbach and are well attended. Asi feels a lot of support and appreciation.
“People are happy that now we can see each other every week as a community here,” he says. “Also, from the other communities, we are so happy to have them here. Last Friday, we had a few Christian friends, they came and joined us, and we were so happy to have them.”
Asi says it is much more convenient to be able to gather in Steinbach.
“People used to go to Winnipeg driving one hour to the Mosque every Friday,” he explains. “So, now people can just come to the prayer here in Steinbach, it's easier for them. They can just take a break for one hour from their work.”
Audrey Harder is the executive director at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre.
She says the centre exists for the entire community and they are happy to accommodate the needs of our Muslim community.
“Our organization, one of the key things we do is welcome people,” she says. “We are welcoming, so we find this to be fantastic for us and for everybody who comes here.”
Harder says nobody knew how many people to expect for weekly worshipping and the prayer services were initially held in one of the smaller rooms.
“They had quite the turnout,” she says. “They had I think around 40 people the first time and the numbers stayed up. So, they're actually moving into the larger auditorium so that more people can come, and more people can attend.”
The Friday noon prayer services are followed by time for visiting and Asi appreciates getting to know more people in the area.
-With files from Carly Koop