This Canadian Church Opens Doors to Muslim Community Members

The mosque within a church

Jun 21, 2018

The population of Muslims in Oxford, Nova Scotia may be small, but their desire to create a community around a place of worship is strong. With no current mosque in the area, the members of the Trinity United Church decided to transform their community hall into a "mosque within a church,” welcoming Muslims who wish to practice their religion.

The move has even brought the two communities together, promoting open dialogue and countless opportunities for members to learn from one another in a peaceful and supportive environment. Currently, ten families are using the mosque.

Alison Draper, who lives in the area said the mosque is a positive addition to the community and has reinforced values such as tolerance. "The idea of having the mosque in the church has even amplified the understanding in the community," she told CBC's Information Morning.

The Muslim Community Group contributes to the cost of maintaining the building, paying a small fee that goes towards electricity and heat. The leader of the Muslim Community Group, Alia Kamareddine said that for the majority of the 20 years she has been an Oxford resident, she would have to travel to Halifax to practice her faith, a journey that takes around two hours.

"It was hard, we didn't usually go every time," she said. "We'd usually go maybe once a year, sometimes once every two years." Although the mosque within the church isn’t exactly commonplace, she said the church opening their doors was meaningful and significant for her and other group members, and their cooperation and willingness to share their space did not go unappreciated.

For Muslim residents, a mosque was especially crucial during Ramadan (which ended June 14), as they met every Saturday evening for prayer and a daily meal to break the fast (called Iftar) at sunset. They even returned the welcome the church extended by inviting community members to celebrate the holiday.

Oxford Mayor Trish Stewart joined in for Iftar, setting the tone for many more shared gatherings between community, mosque, and church members.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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