Sunday, October 07, 2007

First Muslim only suburb in Canada

And it's name? Peace Village.

...Canada's first Islamic subdivision, where all 260 homes belong to members the Ahmadiyya sect, who flooded to Canada in the 1980s after persecution in Pakistan. It looks ordinary, with basketball nets and minivans in the driveways, until you notice the street signs: Mahmood Crescent, Ahmadiyya Avenue and Noor-Ud-Din Court.

"There is nothing like this in North America," boasts Naseer Ahmad, a real estate agent from Pakistan who dreamed up this community of Islamic dream homes (including oak stairs and central air conditioning) on the edge of Toronto. "You have a mosque, and people are walking to enjoy their faith."

The houses, with some modifications, such as increased ventilation (for spicy food) and separate living rooms for women and men, are so successful that, six years after Peace Village opened, Mr. Ahmad plans to double the mosque's size and is now selling 55 townhomes, 1,700 square feet each, for around $350,000 with a garage and a yard, as "Peace Village Phase II."

Not all is peaceful in Peace Village. They've taken out a church...

To the dismay of some locals, a demolition crew last year took down a United Church next to where Peace Village is growing. The changes have inspired Christians to reassert themselves: Across the highway, Italian-Canadians built "Vellore Woods" with a large Catholic church at its centre, mimicking Peace Village.

...Still, all the change in the area has rattled Frank and Rita Alonzi, who for 38 years have lived just up the road. Their farm, where they keep chickens, goats and carrier pigeons, and grow a bountiful garden with gourds, tomatoes and grapes, is now crowded by suburbia. They don't mind that their neighbours are Muslim -- they just miss their peace and quiet. Mrs. Alonzi resents that Canada Post ended delivery to her mailbox. Now she has to walk over a kilometre to pick up her mail at a box in front of the mosque.

The Alonzis also miss Teston United Church, demolished as the region expands a nearby road and developers expand Peace Village. "I was standing there and crying," Mrs. Alonzi says. "I said, 'God, are you not listening?' But nobody listened, and they tore it down." ...

Take the tour! The developer currently has plans for similar developments in Brampton, Cornwall and Calgary. And building a mega-mosque, and starting a TV station and...

In his Toyota Sequoia V8, Mr. Ahmad gives a tour of the place. We take Bashir Street (named for his father) and Abdus Salam Street, named for the first Muslim Nobel laureate, as he speaks of his big plans: an Islamic reference library and doubling the mosque's size, to 40,000 square feet.
"Over here is going to be a TV station," he says. (Already a special cable to each home feeds Muslim television from an audio-visual room at the base of the minaret). "Then over here we're going to have a big huge guest house."

Imagine - a "feed" into every home and that huge guest house? For visiting Imams and terrorists? It just all stinks to me.