Niagara Muslim Community:
The Niagara region saw its first Muslim inhabitants in the late 1950s. By the mid 1960s, an informal community had began to form where a small number of individuals would gather at each other’s homes for congregational daily and Friday prayers and partake in Ramadan meals together. Individuals such as Dr. Fuad Sahin and the late Mr. Hassan Karachi served as community leaders and would often hold events in their homes.
The first major step for the Niagara Muslim community came when a plot of land was purchased in Niagara Falls on Lions Creek Road. This building, although modest, served the needs of the growing Muslim community at that time. From there, the Masjid expanded its capabilities by adding a weekend Islamic school and subsidizing an Imam from the prestigious Al-Azhar University to lead religious observances. In 1992, with the help of the Canadian government, the Niagara Falls masjid was expanded to include a lecture hall / gym and classrooms. In 1998, a full-time school sanctioned under the Ontario teaching curriculum was established and functions until this day with licensed teachers and a growing student body.
The St. Catharines Muslim community, after experimenting with a number of locations, established a permanent masjid near the downtown core. The building was purchased with a sizeable donation by Mr. Hussein Hamdani Sr. Today, the St. Catharines masjid holds five daily prayers as well as classes for both children and adults and accommodates a population of over 1,000 people for weekly Friday prayers and annual Eid celebrations. In all, the Niagara Muslim community stands at approximately 8,000 people, 30% of whom are under 25 years of age.