The first meeting of the early Muslim pioneers of Red Deer took
place on February 6, 1976. The intent of this meeting was to formally establish
the presence of a Muslim community in the area and arrange regular congregational
prayers. The five families that attended this first meeting were from Fiji, India
and Iran. Today we respectfully refer to them as the founding executive members
of the Red Deer Muslim Community.
The first congregational prayer took place on February 13, 1976
at the house of one of the members. It was the Isha prayer. Thereafter, the group
met regularly on Friday evenings at member’s houses.
Over the next several years, more Muslim families moved to Red
Deer. After about ten years of regular Friday evening congregational prayers at
member’s houses, the group decided to meet at a public venue, with the hope
of attracting more Muslims. The Cronquest House located in Great Chief Park was
rented every Friday evening during the summer of 1987. In 1988 the Red Deer College
was also used for a short period of time, but soon they went back to using their
The idea of a permanent location (Musjid) for the local Muslim
community came up many times. But being a relatively small population, with limited
financial resources, the idea was not pursued further.
In July 1988, Central Alberta Islamic Cultural Association was
formed and registered as a non-profit organization. Later that year, the Association
decided to look for a modest house to serve as a temporary location for Friday prayer.
However, it soon became apparent that a residential house would not be suitable
and that a permanent location for a Musjid should be found. With the intention of
establishing a Musjid in Red Deer, the Association officially started fundraising
in the province of Alberta, with fundraising events and campaigns in the cities
of Edmonton, Calgary and Lac La Biche.
The search for a building site commenced in early 1990. A serviced
lot located at 195 Douglas Avenue was purchased from the City of Red Deer in November
1990. An architectural firm from Edmonton was hired to complete the design and construction
drawings for the Musjid building. The sod turning ceremony was held on May 8, 1992
and construction commenced on August 8, 1992. A construction company from Red Deer
was hired for the key components of the construction and this was supplemented by
hundreds of volunteer man-hours by local Muslim brothers.
To raise additional funds for the construction phase, members
of the Association expanded their fundraising campaigns to other cities in Canada
and the United States, including Vancouver, Toronto, Oshawa, Hamilton, Cambridge,
Ottawa, Winnipeg, San Francisco, San Jose, Phoenix, Houston and the Northwest Territory.
Financial support was also received from as far afield as Fiji and Australia.
By November 1993 the main floor of the Musjid was complete and
immediately began to be utilized for the Friday prayer. With the remaining construction
completed, the official opening of Salah El Deen Musjid took place on October 15,
1994. The opening ceremony was attended by Muslims from Calgary, Edmonton and Central
Alberta as well as several other invited guests.
With a significant increase in the Red Deer Muslim population
after 2005, the Association began to look at various options to increase the capacity
of the Musjid. In August 2007 the basement was carpeted and included as a part of
the Musjid. In April 2009 a mezzanine floor was added to the Musjid and designated
for females. The previously designated female area on the main floor was removed
to create more space for men.
Today, Alhumdulillah, with the help and guidance of Allah (SWT),
our dedicated volunteers continue to serve the Islamic needs of the Central Alberta
Muslim population. We make dua to Allah (SWT) that He accept all our efforts and
forgive our short comings.