Islamic Heritage Month 2023: Muslim cemetery near Truro, Nova Scotia

Islamic Heritage Month 2023: Muslim cemetery near Truro, Nova Scotia

The 'Moslem Cemetery' near Truro was purchased in 1935 by John Harris, Joseph Moorby, A.R. Joseph and M.S. Awad (all Assyrians living in Truro) and George Harris of Westville.

At the time it was said to be the only Muslim burial ground in Canada east of Alberta. It served the small scattered Muslim population of Nova Scotia (at Truro and Sydney) and an occasional Muslim seaman who died at sea or in a Nova Scotian port.

The first person to be buried there was Murray Harris of Truro in 1935. Mrs. Joseph Abraham of Truro donated the gate for the cemetery.

In 1971, The Islamic Association of Nova Scotia (IAMP) built another small mosque in Truro on the newly acquired parcel of land, which was contiguous to the existing cemetery, so the funeral prayers and other religious activities could be undertaken there.

“My name is Freda Harris, I am originally from New Glasgow N.S. My mom and dad moved us all 27 years ago to London Ontario where there is a bigger Muslim community,” wrote Freda Harris to in 2018. “My grandfather is George Harris, his real name was Haj Hussein Merhi.”

“When he came to Canada at the age of 13 he and his brothers could barely speak very good English and he was given the name of George; his brothers were also given Canadian names. My Uncle is Murray Harris who passed away in 1949. Jido purchased the land for the cemetery and at that time there was not a Mosque but he had donated the land for all Muslims to be laid to rest.”

“I am very proud of all that my grandfather and grandmother have done for the community. Jido passed away in 1954 and my grandmother, Khanom Zrein passed away in 2011; both have been laid to rest there. My grandfather also built a well in the village he was from . It was to bring water from the mountains to the village. There is a plaque donated to him,” added Fread Harris.