The real activities of the Jamat (Association) started after the exodus of our many brothers sisters from Uganda, East Africa in 1972, though activities of some kind were going on even before that. Some of our present members were active participants of the community in their homeland and had volunteered to invest their time and effort in reviving the community in a country where customs, traditions and culture varied greatly.
The first constitution was drafted by our young pioneers in 1976 and subsequently adopted later, paving way for community work to begin. Congregations were being held in private homes on a regular basis, and later on in rented halls to accommodate the growing number of members in the community.
As families were growing and more people were moving into Alberta due to its booming economy, feelings for owning property for its religious activities were running high. The need for teaching Islam and its way of life to our children became more evident.
In March, 1978, a visit was paid to Edmonton by the then President of the World federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-asheri Muslim Communities, Al-Hajj Mulla Asgherali M. Jaffer and a leading businessman in Vancouver, Br. Raza Devji, when we were inspired by them to consider building a religious hall in Edmonton. A committee was set up in 1978 to raise the required funds, and also look into the possibility of acquiring land and building a religious hall. Numerous meetings were held and views exchanged re : location of land and the type of structure which would serve our present and future needs. Odds against owning land and building a superstructure were high, though the committee responsible for raising funds for the project and the managing committee of our Association spared no effort in approaching various sectors of the community for this worthy cause. It must be said that various members of our community here and other parts of North America, Europe and Africa, responded well and donated generously towards this project.
The piece of the land on which the religious hall stands was purchased from the City of Edmonton in May, 1981 at a cost of approximately $100,000, including local improvements cost, and the construction was awarded to Schrempf Construction (1977) Ltd. In April 1982 whence it began. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $400,000 including the price of the land. During the stage of construction problems did, however, arise which were resolved with the kind assistance of Ald. Bette Hewes, Alderman for Ward 6. Our community is indebted to Ald. Hewes for her everwillingness to solve our problems and also to other staff of City Hall who gave us a helping hand.
Our community comprises of approximately 65 families (population about 225) and takes great pride in the achievement of its objectives. All these have been made possible with the mercy of Almighty Allah, and through hard work and willingness on the part of dedicated members, both young and old, to serve the community. It is also heartening to say that our community has hired the services of a Resident Priest, Seyyid Amir Husain Naqvi who will, amongst other things, be conducting religious classes for the growing number of children in our community.
The area of the main floor of the religious hall is approximately 300 sq. M. Including a mezzanine floor.
The opening ceremony of the Hall was performed by the Resident Priest, Seyyid Amir Husain Naqvi on Sunday, October 17, 1982, and since then religious functions are held on regular basis, with evening congregational prayers being held everyday followed by religious teachings according to Shia Jaaferi faith, and religious classes for children every Sunday afternoon.
Our prayers are to those who assisted in the realization of this impossible dream of every member of our community, both in monetary as well as physical.