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General Mgr. Hussain Guisti of the the Zubaidah Tallab foundation that raised funds for the project stands in front of a mosque destined for the Arctic being prepared on Aug. 31, 2010, in Winnipeg, to make the 4500 km trip to Inuvik, NWT. The mosque is 30x50 ft, and there are about 100 Muslims working in Inuvik. (KEN GIGLIOTTI/The Canadian Press)
General Mgr. Hussain Guisti of the the Zubaidah Tallab foundation that raised funds for the project stands in front of a mosque destined for the Arctic being prepared on Aug. 31, 2010, in Winnipeg, to make the 4500 km trip to Inuvik, NWT. The mosque is 30x50 ft, and there are about 100 Muslims working in Inuvik. (KEN GIGLIOTTI/The Canadian Press)

Globe Editorial

Consider this: visit a mosque Add to ...

Have you visited a mosque lately? Islam is a religion that in practically all its incarnations preaches kindness and hospitality, and the doors of its places of worship - in the basements of private homes or in purpose-built cultural centres - are often open to strangers.

Why go through the trouble, the discomfort? Because Canadian Muslims are here. From the 2001 census, Muslims were the fastest growing large religious group in Canada, with a median age of 28 - 9 years less than Canada as a whole.

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Like many first- or second-generation immigrants, young Muslims in Canada are torn between tradition and modernity. Unlike others, they are the object of a particular skepticism and fear. A 2010 survey of 1,700 people in Canada by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation study found that 55 per cent disagreed with the statement "Muslims share our values."

That betrays a lack of curiosity about Muslims in Canada, a group that can't be painted with one brush, but includes everyone from the explicitly secular to the highly devout, from the recent Sunni immigrant from Pakistan to the Canadian-born Somali.

A conversation with an imam or a Muslim neighbour can quickly yield an invitation to a gathering of Muslims. And in the process, we can start the bigger conversation, around what it means to be a Canadian today - something that Canadian Muslim youth, in overwhelming numbers, want to be a part of.

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