Caretaker of Toronto Mosque Dies of COVID-19

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The caretaker of a Toronto mosque who spent the last four decades of his life serving the mosque and the Muslim community passed away on Monday after contacting covid-19.

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“He loved everybody in the community,” said Imam Hamdy Abdelghaffar, who leads the mosque today, CBC reported.

“For 40 years, every single day, he used to serve the masjid (mosque) and the community — it’s not an easy task.” 

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Amjed Syed lived across the street from the Jami Mosque, located on Boustead Avenue in Toronto’s High Park neighborhoods. The mosque is dubbed Toronto’s oldest, founded 52 years ago.

“Today, we lost one of our longest-serving and most loved members of our Muslim community,” said a tweet by Jami Mosque on the day Syed died.

“Over these years, he was instrumental in keeping the mosque running on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, come rain or shine,” it continued.

“He was exemplary in his temperament and service. He was diligent and conscientious and gave service with a deep sense of responsibility. He was always there to greet people with his gentle and warm demeanor.”

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Syed was mourned by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and members of the community, though only a small group of family and friends were able to attend his funeral due to safety regulations.

Nabeel Mirza, chair of ISNA said it wasn’t just the Islamic and Muslim community who were touched by Syed’s hard work and generosity.

“Whenever there was a problem anywhere in the community, people who weren’t even coming to the mosque, he would say, ‘Don’t worry, it will be solved,’” Mirza remembered.

Syed is the latest on the list of many Muslim leader who have passed away due to covid-19.

Earlier this month, the Muslim community in Sheffield mourned the loss of Haji Ahmed Mahmood the vice chairman of Jamia Mosque Ghausia to COVID-19 pandemic.

American Muslim Hashem Ahmad Alshilleh who helped bury a generation of Southern Californian Muslims also passed away to coronavirus in February 2021.

Earlier in January 2021, Muslims in Western Massachusetts mourned the passing away of Dr. Kimat Khatak due to COVID-19 after a life full of work to serve the religious and social needs of the community.

Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.

Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade.  Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.

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