Good Friday a Family Day for Muslims

April 10, 2009

Author: Stuart Laidlaw

Source: The Star

It's not just Christians who flock to houses of worship at Easter.

Muslims do it, too.

"In Canada, Easter has become the third Muslim holiday, after the two Eids," says Nadir Shirazi, a Toronto multi-faith co-ordinator at the University of Toronto.

Friday is the traditional big day for Muslims to attend afternoon prayers, but the North American work week can make that difficult. Most observant Muslims end up at a mosque near their place of work each Friday, rarely able to be at their family mosque on Islam's primary day of worship.

But that changes every spring with Good Friday, a statutory holiday steeped in Christian tradition to mark the day the Bible says Jesus was nailed to the cross.

The day off gives Muslims a rare chance to pray at their neighbourhood mosques, alongside family and friends.

"For many Muslims, this is the only time they get to pray with their families, instead of a place near their work," says Shirazi, who also helps companies make their workplaces more accommodating to people of faith.