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Here’s How People Came Together After The Only Mosque In Peterborough Was Set On Fire

“As a Canadian I am ashamed that this hatred has been bestowed upon you."

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Less than 24 hours after their mosque was deliberately set on fire, members of the Muslim community in Peterborough, Ontario gathered for prayers in the mosque's parking lot. It's a powerful symbol of how the community is moving forward after the arson.

Christopher Katsarov / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The fire began at roughly 11 p.m. Saturday night inside the Masjid Al-Salaam mosque, not long after people had been inside celebrating the birth of a baby. Police later confirmed that the fire had been set deliberately.

“Offences such as this, committed in relation to a place of Worship are taken very seriously and the Police Service will make every attempt to determine who is responsible,” said a statement from Peterborough Police provided to BuzzFeed Canada.

Masjid Al-Salaam is the only mosque in Peterborough.

And right away she received replies from people showing support for her and other members of the mosque. “As a Canadian I am ashamed that this hatred has been bestowed upon you," said this woman.


Duane Rousselle, a local resident with no connection to the mosque, started the campaign. "What is most touching, I think is that many of the donors are living in poverty," he told BuzzFeed Canada. "They donated large sums of money nonetheless."

Rousselle said he'd only expected to raise a couple hundred dollars.

"Some of the very large donations were made anonymous — one for $2,000, a couple for $1,000," he said. "That is remarkable."


The #Ptbomosque hashtag has also been trending thanks to people sharing the fundraiser link, and expressing support for the mosque.

This is a defining moment for #Ptbo. RT to show your support for Peterborough Mosque. #PtboMosque

Donate because no one should ever have to pay out of pocket to fix what hateful criminals broke #PtboMosque #cdnpoli

Glad know Canadians care & are standing w/ #PtboKawartha Muslim neighbours, community, as we all must! #PtboMosque


Meanwhile, the Muslim community in Peterborough has already begun to clean up their mosque. Imam Shazim Khan is seen here inside the charred main floor of Masjid Al-Salaam.

Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett tweeted that local churches have offered their space to ensure local Muslims have a place to worship.

Several church groups have stepped forward, contacted Kawartha Muslim Religious Association to provide space for worship. Forward together.

Craig Silverman is a media editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at

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