University of Toronto's Muslim Association Celebrates 40 Years

March 30, 2006

Source: Toronto Star

On March 30, 2006 the Toronto Star reported, "As the sun passed its high point over the University of Toronto, Muslim student Mobashsher Khan had to find somewhere to pray. It was 1969, back when Toronto had no downtown mosque and only a few thousand Muslims, and this new PhD student from India had to figure out where he could perform the Friday midday prayer required of faithful Muslims. To his surprise, he didn't have to go far. The U of T's Hart House — then a male bastion of culture and Ivy League tradition — offered Toronto Muslims their first public prayer space, as the initial wave of Muslim newcomers began to arrive in the late 1960s. In an unlikely third-floor Hart House sitting room at the top of a narrow set of stairs, Khan and about 15 Muslims came for years each Friday to pray. That was then. What a difference almost 40 years make... Those early days seem a world away from today, where the U of T Muslim Students' Association boasts more than 1,500 members and has several prayer spaces on campus, a Muslim student newspaper and a number of campus cafeterias with Halal items on the menu. The growth of the campus Muslim community mirrors the growth of this city's Muslim community, where more than 400,000 Muslims from countries around the globe have established more than 50 mosques and form more than half of Canada's Muslim population."