Imam Mansoor Azeem is saying goodbye to Lloydminster, but says he will be taking the lessons learned from the rural community to his next destination.
Azeem says he’s accepted a new position with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Organization in Vaughan, Ontario. He says it’s a big opportunity as he will be working with the largest Muslim youth organization in the country.
Before he came to the Border City in 2017, Azeem travelled to different cities across the world as part of his religious training. He was stationed in Mexico City before serving as Imam of the Baitul Amaan Mosque in the Border City and describes the transition as a huge change in his life.
“The very first experience, the very first thought was this is a small town and I had never lived in a small town ever before so it was a little bit worrying at first. But, after a few years this town has been so fantastic, so wonderful, that I’m kind of sad to go away from Lloydminster.”
He was born in Sebha, Libya, and spent time in several larger population cities including Rabwah, Pakistan and London, England as well as Hamilton and Toronto. Since moving away from the bigger cities, Azeem says he’s also moved away from their fast paced lifestyle and embraced a new way of living.
“Everything was so fast over there and you barely had any time for family or anything at all. Almost all of my life it was in the fast lane and in the first few months of living in Lloydminster I was like, where are all the cars and the people? Afterward, the beauty of this town is you have so much time to spend with family and pursue your hobbies that I was never able to do before.”
Azeem points at the volunteer initiatives such as the New Year’s clean up, the highway clean up and the Run for Lloydminster fundraiser as highlights during his time in the city and says those are what will be remembered and representative of the Lloydminster Muslim community in the future.
“Despite the politics and the incidents happening around the world, including the recent one in France, and the elements of racism and islamophobia, I have not come across any of them in Lloydminster. I think the Lloydminster community is very supportive, positive and respectful for all we do and the stuff we have done.”
Azeem says his replacement will be chosen by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at their headquarters in London, England. He doesn’t know when a new Imam will be posted in Lloydminster, but says he will do his best to make things work.
“We’ll try to have the transition period as smooth as possible and next time he will be the one contacting the people and leading the programs the way he might. I’m very optimistic that he may excel in many ways from me as well.”
Before leaving, Azeem says he hopes to the community continues sharing the message of “Love for all and hatred for none in every aspect of our life.”
“I pray for the well-being of my community and the whole town. I know the job situation has been pretty intense especially with COVID-19 and the oilpatch so I pray for them and wish them best of luck and there will be one more voice in Ontario supporting the oilpatch.”