A Growing Community:
As of 2012, the estimated population of Muslims in Fort McMurray has exceeded 8000 individuals. The current Masjid, which was built by approximately 30 families in 1989, can no longer accommodate our needs. Friday, Eid and Taraweeh prayers are no longer performed in the Masjid due to its limited space. The community has resorted to renting gyms and halls to accommodate the community.
The community leaders have recognized the issues that faces our community. Over 7 years ago, the community has worked relentlessly to find a suitable location for the community centre and in 2007, it joined a multi-faith consortium (Abrams Land). In it 9.5 acres of land was purchased for $4.5M, which was fully funded by our local community.
Although we are in dire need of a new centre, the Muslim community of Fort McMurray has successfully tackled many other challenges. Our key achievements can be summarized as follows:
In 2004, our community bought a church and converted it to an Islamic school. We started with 23 students in KG to grade 2. Today we have closer to 300 students in the Islamic School and offer KG to grade 8. In 2005, we established an alliance with the Public School District under the Alternative program to ensure that our school meets all Alberta Education standards while simultaneously operating it under Islamic guidelines and curriculum.
From 2008 to 2011 we have locally collected approximately $6M, the majority of which was dedicated to the new Islamic Center.
With the limited space available, we were able to provide many services to the Muslim community and to the larger Fort McMurray community.
The community has been able to dedicate a section of the Fort McMurray cemetery for Muslims.