The exact date of when the first Muslim came to Kingston is not known. Like many other communities, Muslim students came to Queen’s University during the early 1960’s. At this time, the Muslims were few in number and prayed in each other’s homes as there was no official organization.
In 1965, the Muslim students and faculty of Queen’s University formed the Queen’s Islamic Society. This was about the same time as the establishment of the International Centre at the university. The Muslims were still very few in number. Juma’a prayers were held in a small room at the university (the Memorial Room) while social functions were held in the International Centre.
In the early 1970’s, a weekend Islamic school was started with the children of three families and was held in the International Centre. The school as later moved to St. Lawrence Collenge and, then to Calvin Park Public School, under the auspices of the Frontenac County Board of Education. Currently, the school is being held at the Limestone Adult School of Continuing Education.
Alhamdulillah, the size of the Muslim community grew over the years as more people settled down in Kingston. This led to the formation of the Islamic Society of Kingston (ISK). The Muslim students at Queen’s University continued to be a part of the ISK. However, as the number of students increased, the Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association (QUMSA) was formed. QUMSA remains a part of the ISK but focusses its activities on students while community activities are open to all.
At the moment, there are over 200 Muslim families in Kingston. Moreover, during the academic year, the community is joined by numerous Muslim students from around the world. Within the student population, the demographics have changed to reflect the state of the Muslim Ummah in North America. Whereas in the 1960’s and 1970’s, most of the Muslim students were International students, the majority of the Muslim undergraduate population now is Canadian. The ISK aims at providing these students with an anchor, a home away from home.
As the Muslim community in Kingston grew, it realized the need for formal organization. Thus, in September of 1982, the Islamic Society of Kingston became a registered organization in Ontario. It was at this point that the community started to look for a permanent place of worship. The land for the Islamic Centre was bought in 1987 and, on June 1, 1995, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for its construction. Alhamdulillah, the vision for the Islamic Centre of Kingston (ICK) has become a reality with the grace of Allah (SWT) and help from our Brothers and Sisters from within the Kingston community and beyond. We were able to hold Eid prayers for Eid-ul-Fitr in the masjid and, since then, it has been used regulary for daily and Juma’a prayers. In addition, regular halaqas and meetings are being held at the Centre.