Canadian islamic History Month
October is a busy month! In addition to LGBTQ+ History Month, it is also Canadian Islamic History Month, German Heritage Month, Latin American Heritage Month, and Women’s History Month. All of these occasions will be featured in posts throughout October, beginning with Canadian Islamic History Month.
Four years after Canadian Confederation, as noted in the 1871 Canadian Census, thirteen Muslim Europeans were living in Canada. By 1938, the population had increased to approximately 700, and the country’s first mosque was constructed in Edmonton. In 2007, Islamic History Month was established by the Federal Government.
Vernon has a relatively small Muslim population, with the first members arriving in the 1960s and ‘70s. In 1999, the Vernon Muslim Association was granted charity status.
Despite its small size, the community of around 40 local Muslim families brought about the construction of the Okanagan’s first mosque in 2012. That same year, the Vernon & District Immigrant & Community Services Society launched their Inter-Faith Bridging Project to bring together people of all faiths in overcoming stereotypes and uniting towards a common goal.
The project’s committee hosted several initiatives over the years, including a group payer session in 2015, in which Syilx Elders offered opening prayers before inviting spiritual leaders from a variety of faiths to offer prayers in their own fashion, and a “Breaking Bread” event in 2016, in which breads from all over the world were displayed and sampled,.
In April of 2017, following the Quebec City mosque shooting which resulted in 6 deaths and 5 non-fatal injuries, the Vernon Muslim Association hosted an information session to condemn the actions of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, as well as to bring awareness to the persecution of Muslims under a guilty-by-association mentality.
Now, in 2022, the local Muslim population continues to attend prayers at the Vernon Mosque & Islamic Center, with this year marking the building’s 10th anniversary.
To explore more of Vernon’s history, check out our other blog posts!
Gwyneth Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator