Cold Lake residents have come out in handsome numbers to show support for the city’s Muslims after unknown vandals spray-painted the mosque with the words “Go Home.” The broke windows and spray-painted walls were first seen by worshippers arriving for Friday morning prayers at the Islamic Centre of Cold Lake. However, later in the day, residents and volunteers from the nearby Canadian Air Force convened to cover up the vandalism and place signs of support in its place.
The president of the Islamic Society of Cold Lake and prolific community volunteer, Ajaz Quraishi, has alleged that the response has been remarkable. He mentioned that “at least 40 people said ‘sorry Ajaz,’” adding “how many people called me, ‘Ajaz, you make a cleaning party, we’ll come and help you.’” Quraishi alleged to be the first Muslim to have come to town for an oil company in 1984, adding that since then the regional oil and gas hub has boomed along with the Muslim community. The Islamic society was registered in 1995 and the mosque opened up in 2010. Furthermore, the community is also buying more land and raising funds to build a new community centre and another mosque.