THE SOCIAL EDGE INTERVIEW: DR. MAHMOUD HADDARA
by Maura Hanrahan
The Al-Noor Mosque sits on the eastern edge of St.John’s
Dr. Mahmoud Haddara is the imam of Masjid Al-Noor: The Mosque of Light in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a port city of about 250,000 people. An engineering professor, Haddara explains that as imam, he is the community’s religious co-ordinator and not a priest. Although he has a high profile in this province and is active nationally, Haddara is unassuming and modest. With his quietly friendly manner, he puts visitors to the mosque at ease.
The Al-Noor Mosque was built in 1990, eight years after the congregation was founded (although it is believed the city’s first Muslim arrived in the early 1960s). More than100 Muslim families live in St. John’s, and there are 160 students at Memorial University of Newfoundland who are active in the Muslim community.
Maura Hanrahan: You grew up in Egypt, Dr. Haddara. Maybe you can tell me about that –the setting, the culture. I’m especially interested in the role Islam played in your early life, in your childhood.