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Muslim – Canadians honour their heritage and tradition through a prayer rug

Julia Magsombol | October 14, 2022

October is the Islam Heritage month, and one way Edmontonians are honouring the heritage is through a prayer rug.

The Islamic Family and Social Services Association (IFSSA) reached out to MacEwan University in late summer about The Canadian Prayer Rug.

“We thought it was a really, really good fit for what we wanted to have on campus,” says Irfan Chaudhry, the director of the office of Human Rights, Diversity, and Equity at MacEwan University. 

IFSSA and MacEwan University have been working together to have the rug displayed on campus to celebrate Islamic Heritage month. It is for people and the public to recognize their heritage. 

The Canadian Prayer Rug on Speakers Corner at MacEwan University. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton

“We wanted to try and take some lead on telling some of our own stories and recognizing the incredible diversity of it,” says Trent Daley, the operations manager of IFSSA. 

The rug has two twin crescent moons on the upper left and right sides. It also has a green pine tree in the centre, with a wheat field and hourglasses at the bottom. The pine tree is surrounded by different colours of lines that represent the four seasons of Canada.

The Canadian Prayer Rug on Speakers Corner at MacEwan University. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton

The Canadian Prayer Rug started as a project by the youth program of IFSSA, where they want to explore deeper in their identity and culture. The rug has different elements and symbolism that show the history of Muslims and Indigenous communities in Alberta. 

The Canadian Prayer Rug on IFSSA’s office. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton

The original rug, the hand-woven one is placed in the IFSSA’s office. It is made of organic cotton and other natural textiles. The materials come from the locals in Alberta. 

“It’s like a really wonderful living history on the tapestry, a way to tell our story. It’s a functional prayer rug, and people want to pray on it,” says Daley. “But it can also be used to signify a safe space, an interfaith space, and it’s a way to connect people in communities.” 

The Canadian Prayer Rug will be on display on Oct. 1 to 15 on the second floor of MacEwan Library at the Speakers Corner. The rug will be placed in Elder Jerry Wood Atrium at Allard Hall for the remaining days of the month.

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