When arsonists struck the only mosque in the Ontario town of Peterborough, members of the community were not only horrified, but also determined to do what they could to help.
They rallied round, raised money to repair the damage, and local churches offered a space where members of the mosque could continue to give their prayers.
Having raised $110,000 - more than $30,000 above their target - the community members are now set to present the money to the mosque’s members. The ceremony will be led by local radio personality Sean Eyre.
“We consider the campaign a tremendous success. Members of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association have thanked us very much for our efforts. We are now going to close the online campaign and continue our efforts offline,” Duane Rousselle wrote on a community’s fundraising site.
“I would like to invite members of the Peterborough community to join Sean Eyre for a short event at the Masjid Al-Salaam Mosque on Wednesday, November 25th at 1.00pm. Sean will be presenting a cheque to Dr Kenzu Abdella and members of the board of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association on behalf of all those who donated.”
The community responded after an arson attack ten days ago on the Masjid Al-Salaam in Peterborough that police described as a suspected hate crime.
The attack on the Canadian mosque was one of several incidents in North America in which Muslims and mosques were threatened or attacked in the days after the Paris attacks, though police in Peterborough said they were uncertain if the arson was linked to events in France.
In Peterborough, the arson on the building, the name of which translates as was "Mosque of Peace”, was widely condemned. The city’s mayor’s, Daryl Bennett, described it as a “despicable act”.
Several local churches offered their facilities to members of the mosque so that they could continue to give prayer, an offer that was taken up.
In a message posted on its Facebook page, the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association wrote: “In light of the recent events at Masjid Al-Salaam, we would like to thank the community at large for the tremendous and continued support we have received.”