A downtown Calgary mosque once attended by several young men who left Canada to join the Islamic State is closing its doors.
At the end of March, the 8th & 8th Musallah mosque that occupied storefront-type space below a large downtown apartment building on 8th Ave. S.W. will close indefinitely.
The small prayer space that was such a convenience for nearby Muslim office workers never quite recovered from the bad press it attracted
after it was reported a number of Canadian men prayed there before leaving to join the Islamic State group, known as ISIL.
The mosque’s imam, Navaid Aziz, said while he had good memories of the downtown mosque, he’s also relieved it’s closing.
“It overshadowed everything that the mosque did — in terms of the outreach programs, in terms of the people we married, the children that were born and every other happy moment — every time we would celebrate, another story would come out about 8th and 8th and about how it’s a breeding ground of terrorism and radicalization. Even when we had nothing to do with those subjects,” Aziz told Postmedia.
Aziz, who began working at the mosque after some of the men had already left Canada, said the men lived upstairs and occasionally prayed at the mosque but conducted their activities away from 8th and 8th.
“The front image of the 8th & 8th mosque was plastered over every social media outlet over this incident and it had nothing to do with the…
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