SNMC Vision, Development, Implementation Timeline
Dr. Emdad Khan
As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017, SNMC also marks down its 20th birthday this year. As such, I wanted to take this opportunity to present a timeline of SNMC.
1997 June: Home-based Musallah. Dr. Emdad Khan with his wife Asma Khan, SNMC dreamer, and four children moved to Barrhaven and started once a week evening meeting and maghrib Salah at their home. Over the next 20 years, with support from lots of volunteers and donors, SNMC Masjid and Center came into being.
1998 July: Start of Jockvale Musallah. We took a local telephone directory and called Muslim-sounding names to make a group, and obtained permission from the City of Nepean to use the community building at 3131 Jockvale Road to hold a first gathering. On a Friday evening, 8 of 10 brothers showed up and we provided Timbits, pop and water. We negotiated with the City of Nepean to allow us to meet once a week for evening prayer.
1999 June: City grant and first bank account. We obtained $750 grant from the City of Nepean for celebrating the year 2000 and opened our first community account with BMO.
2000 January: SNMC Sunday Islamic School. We founded the SNMC Sunday School with 10 students and 4 teachers encouraged by a daycare centre at Jockvale.
2002 November: Ramadan taraweeh prayers and Eid party: In 2002, we started taraweeh prayers on rotation with 3 to 4 days at Jockvale and 3 to 4 days in houses of our friends. We also used to hold a potluck Eid and special gifts party for kids.
2003 March: Start of five daily Salah. With the help of about 10 brothers we got authorization from the City of Nepean to start five daily Salah at Jockvale.
2005 March: Start of Jumah Salah. With sign up of 20+ musalleehs (worshippers) and having few brothers to lead prayers by rotation, we started Jumah Salah. Our numbers gradually increased, and in later years we had to do two Jumah Salah with about 200 musalleehs each.
2006 March: Non-profit Registration. SNMC was registered with Industry Canada as a Non-profit Organization.
2007 January: CRA Charity Registration. SNMC obtained CRA Charity registration on January 1, 2007, with Dr. Emdad Khan as President, Abdul Rahman Syed as Secretary, and Dr. Ismail Kaka as Treasurer.
2007 January: Start of Weekly Newsletter. With Br. Wahed Mohammad as the lead, and about 50 subscribers, we started the first Weekly Newsletter in a Yahoo group, followed by a Google group, and then via email. Al-Hamdu Lillah, now we have a web-based newsletter with over 5,000 subscribers.
2007 June: First SNMC Annual Fundraising Dinner. On June 7, SNMC held its first Annual Fundraising Dinner at Centurion Banquet Hall with Shaikh Ahmad Shebab as the speaker and raised nearly $100,000. Overall, we raised net $250,000 in 2007. In addition, we introduced beautiful pledge forms and standing banners. Over the years, we distributed over 25,000 pledge forms, as well as a variety of posters and banners, all across Canada.
2008 March: Sisters, youth programs and Friday evening lectures: With Dr. Asma Amjad and Sister Shazia, we stated organizing Sunday sister’s halaqa. We also started renting halls at Walter Baker Sports Centre for sisters and youths gathering, as well as scheduling regular weekly lectures on Friday evenings at Jockvale by inviting local scholars.
2008 June: Fundraising trips to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. We started calling masajid in different cities, especially Montreal and Toronto, and used to encourage and take multiethnic volunteers. They would take Fridays off and visit 3-4 masajid in one trip and would get around $8,000 to $10,000 in donations per trip per month.
2009 January: Office manager. In January 2009, Br. Wais joined as our first part-time SNMC manager, and we went live with info@SNMC.ca. Currently, we have Br. Omer Jony is our full-time manager, and Br. Sait Atas is out part-time officer.
2009 February: Birth of UMO-OG. With the start of Israel-Palestine conflict in January, and to avoid scheduling conflict for fundraising for Palestine and masajid, four individuals with modest objectives launched the UMO-OG (United Muslim Organizations – Ottawa Gatineau). These individuals included Dr. Abdellah Sabber of Gatineau Masjid, Dr. Emdad Khan of SNMC, Br. Fariz Elchamaa of Ottawa Masjid, and Br. Ihsan Sindhu of Jami Omar.
2009 March: Project committee, land search and purchase of 3.2 acres at 3020 Woodroffe Avenue. SNMC set a few criteria to select a building or piece of land that would become the future site of SNMC Masjid and Centre; easy access, institution zone, and at least 3 acres in size. In 2009, SNMC won an open bid for the land at 3020 Woodroffe Avenue at a cost of $1,050,000.
2009 June: SNMC Yearbook. Under the leadership of Br. Sultan, SNMC started a new idea of collecting articles from scholars and community members, as well as securing advertisement from local business to promote the SNMC community and local businesses, and generate funds. The first SNMC Yearbook was published in 2009 and fetched a net of $6,000. You are currently reading the 11th issue of SNMC Yearbook.
2010 March: Innovating fundraising ideas: PayPal, YouTube, and debit machines. With a closing date of March 31st, 2010, SNMC released its first YouTube video in March, seeking $300,000 to close the bid with the City of Ottawa. Around the same time, SNMC also introduced online donations by PayPal and debit credit machine to accept donations by debit/credit. In addition, the “Prayer Spot” and “Building Block” concept was also introduced, where donors were encouraged to buy a prayer sport or donate a building block for the soon to be constructed SNMC Masjid and Centre.
2010 April: Project site service and building permit. A project committee was formed with Br. Sami Qadan, Dr. Emdad Khan, Br. A R. Syed and few others. We hired a geotechnical consultant, a building architect and a site service consultant. By March 31st, 2010, we submitted a site service plan, followed by building design, and in September 2011, we received the site service permission and building permit from the City.
2011 August: Hiring fundraiser and spiritual leader: As SNMC community activities increased, fundraising intensified. We persuaded the Board of Directors and the community to hire a full-time person for fundraising and spiritual guidance, and helping with the family issues. SNMC hired Dr. Zijad Delic on August 1st, 2011 and faced many obstacles before and after the hiring. Alhamdullilah, he helped in raising funds and providing organized Friday Jumah khutbah (lecture) and Friday lectures along with other multiethnic local scholars.
2012 March: SNMC Center and Masjid. We started with an entrance and exit from Woodroffe Avenue and Springbeauty Avenue, and installed visible display signs. The building features a main prayer hall, a multi-purpose community hall/gymnasium, large side by side men and women entrances with spacious lobbies, two functional kitchens, four large basement halls for classes and social gatherings, a library, multiple meeting rooms, an admin office, a funeral facility, and a large parking lot.
2012 March: Site service and building contractor. Through an open bid of 10 selected contractors, SNMC awarded site service to Tomlinson and building construction to McDonald Brothers with a 2 years mandate. We dealt with challenges for fund raising, marketing, design and supervision on weekly basis. We started releasing regular online videos and pictures with the help of Br. Shahid Khan and Br. Wahed Mohammad, respectively.
2014 December: Occupancy permit. In 2013 and 2014, we worked day and night on the SNMC project. We ran out of funds, but with the mercy of Allah (SWT), help from the community and the contractor, we borrowed over $2.5 Million. Al-Hamdu Lillah, we received the occupancy permit on December 17, 2014.
2015 January: Grand opening. Al-Hamdu Lillah, SNMC organised its grand opening ceremony on January 5, 2015, which was attended, despite harsh winter weather, by over 1,000 guests, donors, volunteers, elected representatives and the Ottawa Gatineau community leaders and imams,
2015 December: Interior design. In 2015, we furnished the building with carpets, tables and chairs, and made the community hall as a workable sports center, as well as a usable event hall. We continued to do fundraising activities to pay off the loan.
2016 February: Second President: At the 12th Annual General Meeting, Dr. Nabil Bouzoubaa took over as the 2nd President of SNMC and Dr. Emdad Khan became Executive Director to continue helping in project and fundraising.
2016 September: Site service and landscaping: In 2016, SNMC put grass, plants, trees to meet the City requirements and to get back $300,000 blocked fund. Site service plan was passed, but landscaping was still pending and major portion of the fund was released which helped to pay off part of the loan.
2016 March: Funeral service: SNMC started a fully functional funeral service for washing and burial. In one year, we processed and helped over 20 families in the final journey and farewell of close relatives.
2017 February: Third President: In 2017, following the completion of 13th Annual General Meeting, Br. Raheem Uddin Syed took over as the 3rd president of SNMC.