Members of the Edson mosque targeted by a suspected arsonist were invited to watch the Edmonton Eskimos take on the B.C. Lions.

Jocelyn Pettitt, a board member of the Islamic Society of Edson, said 33 members of their mosque attended the Friday night game.

“We were invited by the Edmonton Eskimos because of the fire incident that happened at our mosque in Edson. Basically they invited us; they wanted to show a nice gesture to or community, something positive that can come out of this event,” she said.

It was a first-time experience for the group, who spent two hours on the bus bound from Edson. 

“On the bus here they couldn’t wait to arrive,” she said, adding the group included 18 kids.

Pettitt said the support they have received from not only their community, but surrounding ones too, has been very positive.

“We’ve been offered many different types of monetary donations from people all around and we haven’t accepted any type of donations because it wasn’t necessary but we accepted this offer because it was such a nice gesture,” she said.

Some of the kids got their faces painted to support the hometown team including eight-year-old Sara Baterdouk.

“It’s really exciting. It’s my first time coming to an actual game. I’ve never experienced something like this in my life,” she said. “I’m really happy being here. I have all my friends.”

Len Rhodes, President and CEO of the Edmonton Eskimos, said he and the team stand with the community.

“Any act of hate aimed towards any of our fellow citizens goes against our football club’s set of community values. We stand with the Muslim community and welcome them with open arms. Diversity is strength and that is what we celebrate,” he said.

Pettitt said that everything at the mosque is back to business as usual, but that there is no suspect yet.

“After the fire everything has resumed back to normal. Activities and normal prayers have still been occurring at the mosque. Our structure didn’t sustain much damage. They still have no suspect to my knowledge.”

Pettitt and the group were very grateful for the opportunity to put a positive spin on what happened at the mosque.

“Our community would like to say thank you to the Edmonton Eskimos for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to see something so positive come out of something so negative.”