Young Muslim writes to Trudeau, asks him to visit local mosque

The 12-year-old believes a visit by the prime minister will ease people's fears

News Desk April 06, 2017
The 12 year old stands guard on the mosque doors during prayers. PHOTO: CBC

A Muslim boy invited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit his local mosque on Logy Bay Road to make people who pray there less apprehensive.

In a letter addressed to Trudeau, Abdullah Shahwan wrote about the fears Muslims held following the shooting incident at a Quebec City Mosque earlier this year.

"All my friends are feeling unsafe," Shahwan writes. "We feel scared all the time and can't enjoy coming to the mosque as we used to before."

The 12-year-old believes a visit by the prime minister will ease their fears.  Speaking on the CBC programme Here and Now, he that the visit “would make all the community, all the children, everyone here, feel safe again, coming to the mosque”.

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"A visit from him would mean a lot. Everybody would be happy. They'd feel comfortable knowing that the prime minister has our back," Shahwan maintains.

This, however, is not the only reason Shahwan had penned down a note to Trudeau. The grade seven student at Leary's Brook Junior High wanted to thank the prime minister for responding to a message he sent through a CBC reporter last summer, asking him to show a picture of Shahwan and his friend after Eid prayers to Trudeau.

The reporter obliged the kids with a tweet to Trudeau – who not only saw the photo but acknowledged too.

"I was happy he did that," recalls Shahwan."I kept thinking I should write a letter thanking him and inviting him to our mosque."

"Then the incident in Quebec motivated me to write the letter as soon as possible," he adds.

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The incident shook the entire community, persuading them to adopt security changes including keeping the doors locked and keeping a close watch at the mosque – which has become the 12-year-old’s job.

"I have to recognise their face before I open the door. The door used to be open during prayer," he explains.

With time, though, things have mellowed down, Shahwan says. "The fear has diminished a lot. But there's still that tiny bit of fear."

This article originally appeared on the CBC News


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