Gander Canada’s Muslim community builds its first mosque

IHRAM.CO.ID, GANDER — The city of Gander in Newfoundland, Canada, is working with the local Muslim community to build the city’s first mosque and maintain a presence of Muslim doctors. Gander Mayor Percy Farwell and Islamic Community of Central Newfoundland director Dr. Mohamed Barasi hope the mosque will encourage Muslim doctors to live in the area.

Farwell said several foreign-trained Muslim doctors worked in Gander. In the past, the city struggled to convince Muslims to stay there. He said the Muslim community that needed the expertise of doctors had an important role to play in retaining them.

“Doctors are part of the family, and families have needs that go far beyond a doctor’s professional life. The rest of society needs to be part of that,” he said. The Globe and Mail, Thursday (8/18/2022).

Like Newfoundland and Labrador, Gander City needs more doctors. In the province of about 522,875 people, almost a quarter do not have a family doctor.

Prime Minister Andrew Furey said Memorial University St. John’s Medical School will open five new residency seats for international medical graduates who want to practice family medicine. Other medical schools, including Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and six schools in Ontario, already have residency spots reserved for international doctors.

Gander has a population of approximately 11,600 and is home to a busy regional hospital and health centre. He estimated the local Muslim community at around 55, but said the figure is closer to 100 if the surrounding community is taken into account.

Barasi, an orthopedic surgeon, said his community had been working with Kota Gander for over a year to build a mosque. After working together, they had identified suitable land. “We started the conversation from scratch over a year ago. To have this much, in a year, is a great thing,” Barasi said.

He said his group is now stuck in the administrative process to establish it as a registered charity so it can start raising money to buy land. Complex processes take time and resources. Barasi hopes someone can help them. The existence of a local mosque will meet a critical need for Muslims in Gander, as well as those in neighboring communities.

“If you’re a Muslim doctor working in Newfoundland, an international graduate, after two or three years, if you can go to Ontario saying you have the same money, you’ll go to Ontario. You will find many mosques there, and you can go directly to the mosque instead of staying at home. You can practice your religion in person,” Barasi said.

Polly Ferguson

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