TORONTO — A Londonstian Muslim convert who was one of the first Muslim men in Toronto to join the city’s Muslim community has become the first single muslam convert in Canada, joining a growing number of Canadians to convert to the faith.
Toronto-based Mohammad Ali Al-Dhabi, 26, said he came to Toronto from Qatar in 2013 after graduating from high school and completing his studies at Ryerson University.
The Islamic community in Toronto was very small, he said.
I thought it would be better if I converted to the Islamic faith, so I started learning and then I decided to go to university.
The decision to convert was not easy, he explained.
I had no money, no job, no connections and no family, and I thought I had to convert.
But I wanted to be the best Muslim I could be, he told the National Post.
When he was in his early twenties, he attended the mosque for the first time and was converted to Islam by its founder, Abu Hamza al-Khayat, a former Syrian diplomat who was killed in a failed bombing attack in Syria.
Al-Khayaat taught him the fundamentals of Islam, which included a commitment to charity, fasting and a strict interpretation of Islam.
Al-‘Khayaa, a man who wore a turban and carried a gun, led the congregation during prayers and led prayers.
“He taught me to pray in silence and to follow the Prophet Mohammed,” Al-Khaysi said.
“I saw that the Prophet Muhammad was very clear about this.
I was very happy to become a Muslim.”
After studying for his doctorate in Islamic studies at the University of Toronto, Al-Khadhia converted to Christianity and began working in the mosque’s community outreach and education department, working with Muslim youth.
He said that while he was converted, he continued to teach Muslims about their religion.
“I wanted to help them find their true identity, but also to show them how to be more humane, more caring and to be a good example to others,” Al-‘Khayshi said.
He then moved to London, where he attended King’s College, where Al-‘Khadhi became the first Toronto Muslim to receive a Master’s degree.
He then transferred to Ryerson, where the Toronto branch of the Muslim Association of North America, the largest Muslim organization in Canada.
He was also active in the Toronto chapter of the Islamic Society of North Africa, which he founded in 2015.
After graduation, he became a board member of the Toronto mosque, which serves more than 1,200 people, and has been active in community outreach, he added.
“The Toronto Mosque is a place where Muslims have a place to pray, to talk, to meet and to have an open dialogue with others,” he said in a statement.
“Toronto has been known as the multicultural city of Islam and a city of Muslims, but Toronto also has its own unique story.
Toronto is a multicultural city and this is why it has become a centre of Muslim-Christian relations.”