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Peterborough Mosque Hit By Arson Following Paris Attacks Re-Opens

12/23/2015 08:31 EST | Updated 12/23/2016 05:12 EST
A Peterborough mosque that was damaged in an arson attack in November re-opened its doors Wednesday following a massive crowdfunding effort that raised over $100,000 in just three days.

"It's wonderful to have this back and we thank the people very much. From the bottom of our hearts we say, 'Thank you Peterborough,'" said Imam Shazim Khan speaking from the Masjid al-Salaam mosque.

The mosque held its first prayer since re-opening at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Last month a firebomb was placed in one of the windows of the mosque, one day after the attacks in Paris, for which the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility. The arson was one of a string of anti-Muslim assaults in Ontario that followed the bloodshed in the French capital.

peterborough mosque

Congregation members pray in the parking lot on Nov. 15, 2015, after the only mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was deliberately set alight. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

No one was inside at the time. However the president of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association, Kenzu Abdella, said members of the congregation had been inside celebrating the birth of a baby just an hour before the fire broke out.

Abdella said that since the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association was founded in 1994, it was targeted by criminals just once before.  After the 9/11 attacks, the previous building had its windows smashed.

While Masjid al-Salaam's congregants awaited their rebuilt mosque, a Peterborough synagogue hosted two prayer sessions for them along with a potluck dinner.

"With every calamity there is an opportunity and I think this is a great opportunity for us. Actually the masjid was rebuilt better than it was before," Khan said today. "We have to be very thankful."

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