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Saudi students sell cars and personal belongings at Halifax mosque

Saturday August 18, 2018

Imam Abdallah Yousri of Ummah Mosque in Halifax says he is sad and disappointed for the Saudi students in Canada who are being ordered to leave the county.  (TARYN GRANT / STARMETRO HALIFAX)

HALIFAX—The parking lot behind a Halifax mosque erupted into activity when prayer let out Friday afternoon, with Saudi students selling off their cars and other belongings after being ordered to leave the country by their home government.

“They have no solutions, they have no choices, they have to leave,” said Imam Abdallah Yousri of Ummah Mosque in Halifax’s west end.

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Following a diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia earlier this month, the Arabian kingdom suspended scholarships for about 16,000 Saudis studying in Canada. They were ordered to leave by the start of the school year, and find somewhere else to continue their education.

“All of them, or most of them, they already booked their tickets or about to book their tickets. They’re packing their luggage. Very disappointing,” said Yousri, who has a “big crowd of Saudi students” frequenting his mosque.

He can offer little by way of solutions for the Saudi students in his community whose lives are being interrupted, but Yousri said he’s doing what he can by giving them a venue to sell their belongings.

Friday’s afternoon prayer usually has a good turnout, according to Yousri, which is why they scheduled the sale to follow. Dozens more from the wider Halifax community also turned up, learning about it from Facebook and Kijiji.

Despite holding two sales already in the past week, Yousri said he was struck by the crowd on Friday afternoon.

“I think there is still a need for this,” he said.

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