For many reasons Edmonton, Alberta, Canada has been on my mind of late. I wondered if there was a mosque in Edmonton.
Me: I wonder if there is a mosque in Edmonton. It seems very unlikely that there would be.
Alter Ego: Why don’t you go to Google and look it up?
Me: Ok. What do I have to loose?
So I did and was amazed at the results. This is straight from Wikipedia to you. “Al-Rashid Mosque was expected to be the first mosque in North America but was built in 1938 just after the Mother Mosque of America in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and several years after the 1929 mosque built in Ross, North Dakota. At the time, there were about 700 Muslims in Canada. Hilwie Hamdon was the first woman to talk to Edmonton Mayor John Fry about purchasing land to construct the mosque. She, along with friends, collected fund from Jews, Christians and Muslims to construct the mosque. The mosque was built by Ukrainian-Canadian contractor Mike Drewoth in a style resembling the Eastern Christian (Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox) immigrant churches and opened on December 12, 1938. In the 1940s, the building was relocated from its original site to a location a few blocks away to make room for a school expansion.[ By the 1980s, the mosque been outgrown by the booming Muslim community, and had fallen into disrepair. The city, which owned the land on which it was located, was contemplating demolition of the site to expand a hospital. But in 1991, it was decided to move the mosque to Fort Edmonton Park at a cost of $75,000. About a year later on May 28, 1992, it was reopened in the park. Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqi was instrumental in the development of the mosque”
I was utterly blown away. Further research led me to lean of Muhammad Abdul Aleen Siddiqi . He was a leading Islamic scholar, off to an early start as he had memorized the Qur’an at the age of 4 and graduated from an Islamic religious institution at the age of 16. By the way blown away is “to thoroughly impress, overwhelm, or excite someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between “blow” and “away.” Used in sentences: “The show of support from everyone just blew me away. I was blown away by how good that movie was!”
Recent Readers may not be aware of the significance of Edmonton in my life. The family (Mom, Dad, two brothers and Alexis) moved to Edmonton from North Battleford, Saskatchewan when I was 12 (1955) . Schooled in Edmonton, graduating from the University of Alberta on May 29, 1964 (my 21st birthday). My very first full time job after graduation was working at the Edmonton YWCA. It was in Edmonton that I met and married Garth McBride. Therefore, a most significant locale in my life. Last visited in 2018 (I think) to attend a memorial service hosted by my alma mater, The University of Alberta was honoring those that had died in the preceding year. I twas living in Vancouver at the time but flew back to Canada to honour the man I called my “Wished For Dad” , Francois Meunier., who died shortly after his ninetieth birthday. This is the utterly amazing unbelievable and extraordinary truth – he was in my graduating class. This we found out years later – he had gone back to school, the marvelous patriarch of a huge family of wonderful children. I shall never forget his last private words, said to me. I had gone back to Edmonton to say goodbye to him, bringing biblical citations from Joo Kim Tiah, a Malaysian multibillionaire. It did bring joy to his final days, before that he was immersed in depression.
He: Daughter, you lead such an interesting life!
He called me Daughter, how joyous! If he could only see me now! Well, maybe he can. He was such a Magnificent Man so he has got to be in the good place. He was of the Roman Catholic faith – I will always remember following his remains from that church in Edmonton, in a place of honor, accidentally won. It was such a meaningful ceremony and I was so graciously seated in the from row with the family. His eldest son eulogized him in the most magnificent language. His daughter Colette and I laughed:
Me: I bet everyone in this church wonders who I am?
She: (laughingly) Let’s leave them wondering.
Me: Excellent idea.
It was a hot day in Edmonton (believe that or not). I went under a tree and emailed Joo Kim Tiah, who was constantly trying to convert me to the Christian faith.
Me: I think I have found God. It was so meaningful the service.
He: What church are you going to attend?
Me: I think it is a bit premature to contemplate that.
But back to the construction of the mosque. is that not fascinating? A woman was the spear headed the building of the Edmonton mosque, long before women’s rights and women’s liberation were conceived in the Western world. But women were powerful in the Islamic faith. It is very disillusioning to learn that the power everyday women hold in the UAE is diminished. Spoke of this to a couple visiting from the UK – their daughter lives in Abu Dhabi, their entire family were military serving in countries around the world. The mother and grandmother spoke:
She: My daughter, serving in the military in Afghanistan, spoke of a village there. The women were independent, powerful in their professions, refused to wear typical Islamic dress. Here I see women, of such privilege, clad in black from head to toe, meekly following their white clad husbands.
Me: I know! It saddens me. I came to Abu Dhabi expecting something much different. It is disillusioning. There are powerful women within their midst but this seems to be a generation of shoppers. Muslim women are to educate their children in the Qur’an – in the faith. I see so many who are educating them only in the way of shopping. I have observed that this shopping phenomena within the ranks of other Royalty in the Middle East, which I was ‘privileged’ to meet in London in 2019, early 2020. It is so sad. Allah must suffer and mourn.
But back to me. Yesterday was an absolutely great day. The events are recorded, in part, on Instagram. But another occasion, other than the Fish Market, brought me to that area of Abu Dhabi. SAD took me to get another vaccination booster – he knows everything. I arrive and receive treatment that is accorded to Royalty. All employees of the health system not only show me the way but escort me. I am treated with the utmost kindness and respect. But I did not get the jab. It is because I am a visitor – that is understood and I was most gracious. I need to have an Emeritus ID and be a resident. Totally understandable. But I do not have one, for reasons that shall never be disclosed, I am sure. It is getting to the point in time that I am sure that Allah does not want that for me. For reasons only Allah will know. But I am becoming patient (believe that or not) and have decided that I MUST trust Allah. An incredible interaction with two Muslim women – one originally from Sudan who encourages me to visit one day. Here is an example. An employee graciously escorts me to something called the Doctor’s Office (which isn’t, it is just a sign.) On the way this conversation took place.
She: Why are you so happy!! You are so happy!
Me: I am happy because I became a Muslim. Allah promises peace and inner happiness and He has delivered! Allah also says that if He has given a person a gift then you are supposed to use it. Allah gave me the gift of a sense of humor, an ability to make people laugh and be happy and to use it. I am so honored that you asked me that question.
She: I am so honored to meet you and be in your presence.
Then the Doctor’s Office conversation, the capable woman originating from the Sudan.
Me: I have so much respect for the medical profession here in the UAE and how I am treated, by everyone actually.
She: It is because you are so nice. You treat people so well. Therefore, they treat you well.
Me: Thank you so much! If only others could learn this! The world would be a happier place. Instead rudeness is practiced. Allah said that Good Manners Get You to Jannah. So many people here are so arrogant that they think it does not apply to them. Perhaps they are ignorant of the Qur’an.
We spoke of the inclusiveness of the Islamic faith and I complimented her upon her beautiful headscarf. A good time was had by all.
Photographs are of me within the vaccination sight. Did not get the jab, because I have no Emeritus ID. But I was courteous, polite and blamed no one. It is only fair that vaccinations, even the second booster, should be reserved for residents. The other photograph was taken at the Flower Mart, there by the Fish Market. It was a delight to be there, recalling all of those years at the San Francisco Flower Mart. I took Ikebana instruction for twenty years in California – therefore a frequent visitor to a fresh flower place. All of the men at the Flower Mart so courteous toward me. Such a treat it was. Then off to the Fish Market as I was starving. A good time was had by all. Look at what Googling revealed: In 1973 the saying was attributed to Bette Davis in a compendium assembled by the movie enthusiast Leslie Halliwell titled “The Filmgoer’s Book of Quotes”. … Bette Davis, on an unnamed starlet: “She’s the original good time — who was had by all.” How delightfully vulgar and what a good way to end.