Guelph’s Muslim Community is Coming together more than ever during this Pandemic
By Rimsha Sayyed
This year brought many unexpected changes that no one was ready for. In early March, the World Health Organization deemed the novel coronavirus, better known as COVID-19, as a pandemic. The world was forced to adjust when lockdowns and stay-at-home orders were put into place all over the world.
Here at home in Guelph it was no different. The community was forced to adjust andcome together in new way through this trying time. The Muslim Society of Guelph was faced with the task of figuring out how to continue bringing the community together without being together. With a little bit of creativity and hard-work the MSOG managed to make this happen.
The MSOG was forced to adjust during a time where the community comes together the most, during Ramadan. Ramadanis a time where many of us gather together with not only our family and friends but with our community too. Where normally we would go together for prayers, for iftar and to learn at the mosque, thisyear we are no longer able too.
Yet the MSOG didan amazing job at adjusting to the situation at hand. Every Friday one of theimamswoulddeliver Jummah Khutbah via Facebook live stream and every evening they would host a session before iftar and even began to livestream taraweeh prayers. The community began to feel even more connected then before. Leaving messages and comments of thanks for keeping the community together in such difficult times.
The MSOG was even able to host two drive-thru iftars, where cars entered from the back entrance on Denver St and exited on Water Street with a brown paper bag filled with goodies. They were also able to see the newly paved and extended parking lot of the Mosque. The iftars included help by Hon. Mayor Cam Guthrie, MP Lloyd Longfield, MPP Mike Schreiner and Ward 3 Councilor Phil Allt.
But the biggest display of coming together was during Eid. Where the togetherness of the community would be missed the most, where Eid would have to be celebrated without Eid prayers at the mosque. The MSOG had an idea, to host a drive-in Eid celebration. Cars would register for a spot and a handful ofvolunteers were able to control traffic flow and organize the almost 200 cars into rows. With each car tucked in close, everyone listened to the imams who were also social distanced in the parking lot say a few words via Facebook live. As well as the imam’s the celebration was joined by MPP, Mike Schreiner and Ward 3 Councilor Phil Allt who said a few words to everyone in attendance. Ward 3 Councilor later tweeted, “thank you for today’s privilege of joining MSOFG. It was awonderful day of community and peace. May all be healthy, safe and prosperous until the day comes when we can embrace and break bread together.”
Mayor Cam Guthrie sent his greetings via President of MSOG and tweeted, “Happy Eid Mubarak,A different experience this year for sure, but as much as it may be UNUSUAL, you’ve been able to pull together in your own way by also giving back to our community in your USUAL way”. Mike Schreiner also tweeted later, “Eid Mubarak to all my Muslims friends. I’m grateful for the opportunity to join MSOFG to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, practicing safe physical distancing during this extraordinary time.”
People left with a box of sweets handed out by hardworking volunteers.
The MSOG also had a food drive where they were overwhelmed with the number of donations they received. Some of the goods were given to Hope House and some kept at the mosque to give to those in need. Along with this, the mosque saw an outpour of donations during Ramadan and even after too. In fact, it was the highest number of donations they have seen. On Layla-tul-qadar the MSOG was forced to move their usual fundraiser online via Facebook and saw tremendous success in their online efforts as well. The donations kept coming even after the fundraiser, proving the community support is there even through these tough times.
Though the situation at handmay seem never ending, it’s a fact that humans can adapt to almost any situation presented to them. By coming together as a community even if it is over Facebook live, the possibilities are endless.