History of the Islamic Centre of Nanaimo: Based on available information, Muslims have been living in Nanaimo at least since 1970. The first Muslim community in Nanaimo was organised by two persons in 1989. The community at that time consisted of only a few families. They started with celebrating important Islamic days. Friday prayers soon followed, held at families’ houses on a rotation basis. In 1997, the Islamic community of Nanaimo joined the Vancouver Island Muslim Association based in Victoria. In 1999 the Vancouver Island Muslim Association joined the B.C Muslim Association. Thanks to the joint efforts by the community and BCMA, a building was purchased in July 1999 for the Islamic Centre from the Francophone Association (L’Association des Francophones de Nanaimo). Built more than four decades ago originally as a Chinese church in the then China town, it had been used as a school by the Francophone Association. The Islamic Centre of Nanaimo was officially opened on July 15, 2000. The opening ceremony was attended by high ranking officials of the city of Nanaimo and the public. The event received wide media coverage from all the local newspapers.
Present: The Nanaimo Chapter of BCMA, based in "the Islamic Centre of Nanaimo" serves the mid-Vancouver Island - all the way from Duncan in the south to Tofino in the West and Port Hardy in the North. All five daily prayers and Friday prayers are held regularly. Eid festivities are celebrated in grand style. These include Eid prayers, weekly Iftar pot luck dinners and functions in the month of Ramadan, Eid functions, etc. There is a Sunday Arabic and Qur'an learning school for children. Also special attention is paid to meet the religious and community needs of the Muslim foreign students (from more than thirty Muslim countries around the world) attending the Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo. Weekly brothers’ and sisters’ halqas are held on Sundays.
The Islamic Centre of Nanaimo is located at 905 Hecate Street in Nanaimo. It is completely fenced-off and includes recreational facilities such as a play-ground for children and a beautiful garden. Parking for approximately 40 cars is available. The building itself consists of a hall, a kitchen, and two washrooms on the main floor, and downstairs, separate Men's and Women's prayer areas with adjoining bathrooms. There are front and side entrances to the building, and it is wheelchair accessible. A Chapter Management Committee headed by the chairperson is duly elected every two years and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the centre, maintenance of the property, holding of daily, Friday and Eid prayers, organizing functions, fundraising and liaising with the BCMA head office in Vancouver. Friday khutbahs are given by some volunteer brothers.
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