An estimated 20,000 Muslims call Manitoba home, and the numbers continue to increase. This is due to the available jobs and many migrate to the area to fill those roles. They are encouraged by their Muslim friends and family who have made a home in these neighbourhoods. They are interested in a place to live and work where they can freely express their faith in the Muslim ways of life.
Manitoba is quite diverse with their population and backgrounds, providing a safe haven for those that wish to relocate to this area. The first Muslims found their way to this area in 1871. However, there wasn’t a mosque established in Manitoba until 1938. Muslims take pride in their faith but also living in Canada. They are thankful for the opportunities they have found there.
With the majority of people in Manitoba being Christian, Muslim beliefs stand out. The main difference is Christians believe in Christ and Muslims believe in Allah. Christians read scriptures from the Bible. Muslims read scriptures and holy writings from Qur’an. Instead of worship at a church, Muslims have the Mosque.
Muslims believe nothing in life happens without the direction and approval of Allah. At the same time, they believe in free will. They feel empowered to make choices and they live their lives fully dedicated to Allah and the information they obtain from Qur’an.
Communal pray takes place several times per day at a Mosque. The largest crowds attend for midday prayers. Muslims are encouraged to pray 5 times each day. They should do so facing Mecca. Some of the Mosques are covered buildings with elaborate architecture and others are outdoor courtyards. Almost all of them in Manitoba are indoor structures.
Mecca is the spiritual destination for Muslims, similar to Heaven for Christians. It is viewed as the Heart of Islam. It is featured at the centre of the Mosque, and prayer takes place in a circle so that each person can face Mecca during their prayers.
There are several Muslim organisations found in Manitoba. Their goal is to help individuals coming to this area find a space where they are comfortable practicing the faith and worship. Such resources are also in place to help them find jobs, housing, and blend into the community. They don’t want them isolating themselves and only interacting with other Muslims. That divides the people in these neighbourhoods instead of encouraging them to coincide with each other.
Living a Life of Peace
Not everyone accepts the Muslim way of life. Some fear it, associating this religion with hatred and terrorism. In Manitoba, the quest to live a peaceful existence and show others that a Muslim life doesn’t include those beliefs is important. They want an opportunity to live a good life and to raise their family with this type of faith. They don’t want tension or stereotypes to stand in the way.
There have been some incidents of reported discrimination against Muslims in Manitoba. However, overall, the population agrees they feel treated better in Canada than they do in many other locations. They hope giving back to the community and interacting with others will help continue to break down any barriers.