Egypt names new imam for Ottawa Muslims
The Egyptian government has named a new spiritual leader for Ottawa's Muslim community, according to a report.
The new imam of the Ottawa Mosque is 33-year-old Islamic scholar Khalid Abdul Hamid Syed.
He is set to arrive in Ottawa within the month, in time for Ramadan, which starts in September.
Imam Syed will serve in the capital for an initial one-year term, and could stay up to three years.
He was sent to Ottawa by the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Affairs (Awqaaf), which sends scholars abroad to Muslim communities that need qualified imams. The Egyptian government will pay Imam Syed's salary.
His appointment ends a 15-month global search to replace former Imam Gamal Solaiman, who resigned last January.
The Ottawa Muslim Association asked Egypt for help when it could not find an appropriate candidate.
The association is not yet confirming the imam's name or any other details about his appointment until it receives more information.
The association was looking for a younger, English-speaking leader, more proficient with Western culture.
Imam Syed is married and has one young child.
The deputy imam is Sheik Abdurrahman Alhijazy, a doctoral student in computer science at Carleton University.
There is some unrest in the Muslim community, as a portion of members want Imam Alhijazy to take over the position.
A petition that has so far generated more than 500 signatures states that in his almost one year as deputy imam, Imam Alhijazy has energized youth and increased mosque attendance. These Muslims want a leader from Ottawa, rather than bringing someone in from abroad.
Imam Alhijazy cannot take over as a full-time imam due to his studies, according to the leader of the Ottawa Muslim Association.