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MMA Cherishes 15 years Opening of 1st Mosque in Moncton

Performance and Contribution of Moncton Muslim Association (MMA) - Timeline and History 

This article will give you a glimpse of the history of MMA, and how it contributed to the Greater Moncton Muslim Community. The activities list here were led by MMA with help of so many volunteers from this community over the years. We continue to count on support of the community for future activities and events. It’s almost impossible to summarise everything but these are the highlight:

Highlights of Events/Activities done by MMA

Year 2000-2006(approx.) : 2

Iftar Dinners: 2

 Eid Dinners: 2

Year 2007-2017(approx.) : 2

Iftar Dinners: 2

Eid Dinners : 2

Eid-Salat : 2

Eid Breakfast after the Eid  : 3

Eid Treats for Kids   3

Food Drive and Meat Drive : 3

Sunday Islamic School: 3

Open Houses: 3

Vigil for Martyrs of Quebec Masjid : 3

Year 2017-2022 (approx.) : 3

COVID-19 – Activities during COVID: 3

COVID-19 Welfare Fund: 4

Eid Prayers during COVID-19: 4

Eid Parade: 4

Online Weekend Islamic School: 4

Vigil for Muslim Family of London Ontario: 4

Welfare Work : 4

Funeral Services : 4

Weekend Islamic School: 4

Iftar Dinners: 4

Weekly Halaqa: 4

Search for permanent Qualified Imam: 4

Initiative to unite Community by supporting AlSalam Community Centre: 5

Ramadan/Taraweeh: 5

Mosque Visits by non-Muslim students : 5

Collection of Zakat-ul-Fitr and Supporting Local charities : 5

Summary/Future: 5

 

Year 2000-2006(approx.)

 Iftar Dinners: During these 6 Years MMA with the collaboration of Students of University de Moncton used to arrange Iftar dinner on every Saturday of Ramadan at the University Halls. 

Eid Dinners: During these 6 Years MMA used to arrange Eid dinner for all Muslim community at the university with collaboration of students. These Eid dinners used to be open for not only Muslims of Greater Moncton but also people from surrounding cities like Miramichi and Bathurst. Community was small at the time and we were easily able to do those dinners at University halls. 

 

Year 2007-2017(approx.)

We purchased the property at 99 high street in 2005 and converted it into Masjid. Alhamdulillah our first Masjid was opened after renovation in 2007. Moncton's 1st mosque opens to Muslims, non-Muslims | CBC News. Moncton establishes its first mosque | CBC News. At the time, it was just one building but as time passed, we purchased the three houses surrounding the Masjid where we now have parking lot on both side of the Masjid. This all is built by local donation of Muslim community and no loan or external help was taken.

Iftar Dinners: During these 10 Years MMA used to arrange potluck Iftar dinner on every Saturday (or Sunday depending on when the hall was available) of Ramadan for the Muslim community. In the beginning, we used to do Iftar dinners and monthly dinners at Masjid basement but as community grew, we started renting big halls where all Muslim Community can come together and celebrate Ramadan

Eid Dinners: During these 10 Years MMA used to rent a hall and arrange potluck Eid dinner for the whole Muslim community. On most of these dinners, we used to arrange some activities for kids like face paining, bouncy castle, balloon twisting etc. 

Eid-Salat: MMA has been arranging Eid Salat for last 15 years. We started arranging Eid Salat at Moncton Masjid when community was so small that Eid prayers could be held at the Masjid. As the community grew, we started to rent big halls and arenas to arrange Eid Salat. We arranged our First Eid Salat in 2014 in a hall, Coverdale Center Riverview. It was a great new way of praying and celebrating. 

Eid Breakfast after the Eid: We arranged Eid Breakfast after the Eid. After the Salat, Tim Horton Coffee, tea, Donuts and homemade sweets were served to the whole community. Eid Breakfast became a norm. We used to do one of the two things; either we used to arrange Eid breakfast at Eid halls or we used to distribute breakfast boxes (up to 500 boxes) after the Eid prayers to all Muslim community who came to attend Eid prayers. 

Eid Treats for Kids: As community grew it become hard to manage breakfast, however we right from first Eid continued to give treat bags for kids after Eid prayers. This has been a tradition for more than 15 years. This was all possible because of the uncountable great volunteers from the community.

Food Drive and Meat Drive: Almost every year for past few years, just before Ramadan, we run food drive to collect non-perishable food items and distribute them in deserving families. On Eid-Al-Adha we collect meat from Udhiya (Slaughter/Qurbani) and distribute it to deserving. (Some of these activities were limited during COVID)  

 

Sunday Islamic School: For almost 10 years Sunday Islamic school was operational at Moncton Masjid which used to teach Arabic Language, Quran Hifz and Islamic Studies. Lead by MMA and run by volunteers of the community. Islamic school ran many outdoor activities for the kids of the community. One time we rented a school bus and took kids to Saint John for a field trip. Among other, one of the most memorable event was when we took kids to the Broadleaf Ranch for horseback riding. Kids really enjoyed that and we had a Pizza Picnic at the ranch. We also used to have end of the year Sunday school activities that included games and pizza party for kids. Alhamdulillah now weekend Islamic school restarted at the Masjid. More information on the Islamic school session is on the Facebook.

Open Houses: To spread awareness, to combat Islamophobia and to bring non-Muslims to the Masjid to show beauty of Islam we started hosting open houses. Open house event was open to everyone, especially Non-Muslim were encouraged to come so they can see the masjid from inside, talk to us about Islam, read  Islamic literature and watch the presentation on Islam at the masjid. All Canadians, neighbours, government officials like Mayor, MLA and other officials always attended our open house at the Masjid. First Open house was in year 2010, then in 2012 and in 2014. 

Vigil for Martyrs of Quebec Masjid: In 2017 after the Quebec Masque shooting, MMA hosted a vigil to honor and remember martyrs of Quebec Masjid shooting. MashAllah Masjid was filled with Canadians from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Mayors, our MLA and leaders of political parties came to support us. The vigil was covered as headlines in local newspaper. 

Moncton Muslim Community To Hold Vigil For London Family | 91.9 The Bend (919thebend.ca)

Moncton Muslim Association says Islamophobia not only exists in N.B., it’s on the rise - New Brunswick | Globalnews.ca

 

Year 2017-2022 (approx.) 

These years were very challenging for MMA because of a great influx of immigrants and refugees in greater Moncton. MMA struggles to keep up with all the requirements and obligation of a rapidly growing community. Even then, with the sponsorship of other volunteers in the community who were willing to contribute financially and give time, MMA was able to host and run all essential events.

During this period, major funding was diverted to parking lot projects; two parking lot project on both side of the Masjid were finished during this time.

COVID-19 – Activities during COVID

In March of 2020 we were hit by pandemic of COVID-19. This was one of the most challenging time in the history of MMA. Even countries and governments struggled to understand, plan and tackle the situation. Alhamdulillah as a small organization we were able to run Jummah prayers despite strict regulatory requirements. There Jummah prayers were offers at the Masjid and Alhamdulillah we went through that period without any incident. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped in Covid-19.

COVID-19 Welfare Fund: In the beginning of the pandemic lot of people lost their jobs, students lost their internships and people were struggling to keep the food on the table. We ran donation drive and collected close to $12,000. The amount was distributed to deserving people effected by COVID-19.

Eid Prayers during COVID-19: To arrange Eid prayers during COVID presented a great challenge to MMA as inside large gathering were limited. Alhamdulillah we were able to arrange Eid prayers in Coliseum parking lot. More than 1800 people were able to pray in the open parking lot area. This was a unique and well-planned event. Imam’s Khutabah was broadcasted over FM radio so that everyone in their car can hear it. It was such a unique event that it was covered in CBC National news which is broadcasted all over Canada. They praised our unique idea and great execution. This brought a great respect for the Muslim community showing that we follow our religion no matter what but at the same time follow laws of the land (COVID rules at the time).

Online Weekend Islamic School: Due to covid restrictions we had to move the weekend Islamic school from in-person at the mosque to online. 6 Classes used to take place online using Zoom, Alhamdlillah, online classes kept going during COVID, until all restrictions were gone and now classes are back at Mosque. 


Vigil for Muslim Family of London Ontario: In a hate crime in 2021 a Muslim Family was martyred in London Ontario. MMA hosted a vigil to honor and remember martyred Muslim Family. Due to COVID, an outdoor event was arranged in the parking lot of the Masjid. Mashallah whole parking lot was filled with Canadians, Muslims and Non-Muslims, and people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Our Mayor and our MLA came to support us. Vey emotional and heart-felt speeches were delivered and our concerns were covey to the audience.

Welfare Work: MMA consistently receive donation in the form of Sadaqa, Zaqat-Al-Mall and Zaqat-Al-Fitr throughout the year and we constantly distribute them in the needy. Sometime people approach us for help and we raise money to help them if the need is urgent even though our main mandate is to run and operate the Masjid and fulfil related needs of the community.

Funeral Services: MMA has been proving help with funeral services since its beginning. Initially we used to use Sussex Muslim Cemetery. Around 2015 Moncton Muslim Cemetery Trust created Muslim graveyard in Moncton and since then we have been providing funeral services in collaborations with them.

Weekend Islamic School: Last year 2021-2022 almost 130 kids were registered at Weekend Islamic School. There were 6 different classes for kids divided in 3 groups (based on age). For next season 2022-2023 we are expanding it further and dividing kids into 6 groups to further improve the learning experience of kids. 

Iftar Dinners For Students and Travellers: Ifter COVID restrictions were removed MMA restarted arranging Iftar dinner for students and travellers during Ramadan 2022. Dinner took place in the basement of the Mosque during Ramadan weekends. 

 

Weekly Halaqa: After COVID restrictions were removed MMA restarted Weekly Halaqa at the Mosque, which takes place every Thursday after Magrib. This Halaqa focuses on reflection over verses of Quran and to bring community together every Thursday for meetup and socialization. Recently, we started to add simple refreshments like tea/samosas to further bring community together and develop love within community. 

Search for permanent Qualified Imam: Imam Project was started and initial funds were raised. MMA crated a diverse Imam Selection Committee to find, interview and recruit Imam. Committee kept looking for permanent imam to serve the community for over a year after advertisement. However due to Moncton not very big city, not many imams were interested in moving to Moncton, this was reported in the news : Moncton Muslim Association looking to hire full-time faith leader | CBC News. AlhamduliAllah after continuous hard work of Imam committee and MMA board, we are AlhamdillAllah are able to find a qualified Imam now to serve the needs of the community. Imam will be joining this month (July 2022) InshAllah. 

Initiative to unite Community by supporting AlSalam Community Center: MMA was in process to start its own Community Center project, however after arrival of AlSalam Community Center, MMA decided to instead support AlSAlam Community Center (and stop plans on its own Community Center). MMA supported them over last 2 years to strengthen unity in the community. Invited AlSalam to Eid Salat.  MMA also provided support to AlSalam by giving them opportunity at every alternative Jummah for fund raise. MMA has openly allowed AlSalam to use Mosque for project updates for benefit of the Community, and We are proud to AlhamduliAllah participate in AlSalam project updates. MMA motto is simple: “Join hands to work for the betterment of Community”. We are also available if any other Mosque and Community Centers wish to present their project to MMA for our support. 

Ramadan/Salat-Al-Taraweeh: Despite having no permanent imam, arrangements were made to bring temporary imam, who were able to lead Salat-Al-Taraweeh prayers during the Ramadan. Imam for Salat-Al-Taraweeh were brought to Moncton Masjid first in 2013, then in 2014 and now in 2022.  MMA took care of all expenses for temporary imam with generous donations from our community. 

Mosque Visits by non-Muslim students: Every year we get request from local universities for visit to Mosque and brief presentation on the Islam, this requested is fulfilled every year whenever received. MMA board make special arrangement to prepare presentation and give the student tour of the Mosque along with presentation.  

Collection of Zakat-ul-Fitr and Supporting Local charities: MMA makes special arranges to collect Zakat-ul-Fitr during month of Ramadan, and take all steps necessary to make sure the amount reaches the deserving before Eid. MMA proudly supports local charities, amount collected as Zakat-ul-Maal and Zakat-ul-fitr (during Ramadan) is often donated locally to shelter homes (especially Harvest House Moncton). 

All above mentioned activities/Events were possible with the tremendous and tireless effort of MMA executive board, MMA members and an amazing volunteer base that help MMA all long the way in each and every initiative.

Summary/Future:

We humble ourselves in-front of Allah and accept that with the grace of Allah we were able to accomplish all above events/activities, however we continuously strive to improve our shortcomings.  Evident example of improvement is how MMA was struggling to keep Masjid open for all prayers (i.e. access to Masjid was not ideal) because of limited volunteers and small community, However we proudly can present/inform our community that all those challenges/hurdles were resolved. Now, Alhamdulillah, for about two year Mosque is open for 5 daily prayers, every Muslim has access to Mosque security code and we continue to improve. One of the important needs of the community was to have a permanent Qualified Imam. Alhamdulillah, we have recently hired a permanent Imam who will be join us soon.

New MMA administration is committed to improve Moncton Masjid and is already taking several steps, and will be taking every possible step to improve its services and cater all needs of Greater Moncton Muslim Community

We thank all the community especially all donors and the volunteers who helped Moncton Masjid over the years. This a journey we all need to take together. Moncton Masjid is first Masjid in Moncton and Inshallah will remain a foundation and corner stone of Moncton Muslim Community.