The Bear Creek Islamic Center in Texas hosted an open mosque day to educate their neighbors about the fear and misconceptions linked with Islam.
Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, director of GainPeace — a nonprofit Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) organization working toward Islamic education — stated the effort was to evade the “mistrust” created by the current “political climate.”
“Muslims are opening the doors of our mosques to our neighbors to provide them with an opportunity to get to know the Muslim community. The current political climate has created an environment of mistrust, and also a curiosity in public to learn more about Islam and these mosque open houses will educate them and take any questions on Islam,” Ahmed said.
The mosque hosted a meal, over which the guests asked questions regarding their beliefs and fears about Islam and the Muslim community. People also listened to an informational program and received henna tattoos.
A mosque in NW Harris Co. is hosting an open house to help replace any stigma about #Islam with positive details about their faith. So many people showed up to learn. More on #khou11 later today. pic.twitter.com/ivgMW0C0fF— Melissa Correa (@MCorreaKHOU) March 10, 2018
Such open houses have been arranged for nearly three years in Houston, a city that has almost 300,000 Muslims living there, Ahmed estimated. With Muslims being a significant part of the society, these open mosque days play a vital role in promoting inclusion and acceptance especially since Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.”
"Ninety-percent of our fellow Americans, they have never been to a mosque. There are so many fears of the unknowns when it comes to people of different cultures, nationalities and especially religions."
These events do not only cater to Muslims but people from all ethnicities are welcome to join in and participate in order to experience and understand Islam and help negate any feelings of danger it may pose. It is a friendly approach by the Muslim community to eradicate fear within different religious sects of the city.
"So it’s important for us to know our neighbors, who experience the world, the same world, but in different ways," said Lutheran pastor Jen Kindsvatter.
Other cities also embrace the open house idea. A Muslim community in Illinois has hosted a series of similar open mosque day to promote the message of Islam. Usually hosted by nonprofit organizations, these events present a peaceful platform to talk, discuss and educate communities about the practices of Islam amid immense political tension.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Rebecca Cook/ Reuters