Dispelling myths among goals of 'open hours' at Libertyville mosque

  • The Islamic Foundation North is hosting a series of "open hours" at it facility, 1751 S. O'Plaine Road, Libertyville.

    The Islamic Foundation North is hosting a series of "open hours" at it facility, 1751 S. O'Plaine Road, Libertyville. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer, 2016

  • A prayer vigil at the Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville.

    A prayer vigil at the Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville. STEVE LUNDY | Staff Photographer, 2009

 
 
Updated 4/19/2018 6:39 AM

Opportunities for Lake County residents to learn about their Muslim neighbors have increased with a series of open hours at Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville.

The group, which has operated at 1751 O'Plaine Ave. since 2004 is hosting sessions on Sundays, once or twice a month, as part of its continuing outreach effort, according to Dr. Amin Nadeem, chairman of the foundation's civic engagement committee.

 

"Although it's a small effort, the philosophy is we just need to learn more about each other," Nadeem said. "We also are trying to build up a long-term relationship with our neighbors," he added.

Visitors are invited to learn about Islam by getting a basic understanding of Islam, having one-on-one discussions or taking an optional mosque tour.

The idea is to provide information and dispel myths, Nadeem said.

"Our neighbors think it's (mosque) exclusive and they can't come in -- they think it's for members only," he said. "It's not like that."

Similar efforts have been ongoing in the Chicago area the past few years. Last Sunday, for example, the Islamic Center of Naperville held a six-hour open mosque day "to continue the dialogue and friendships that have been built over the years."

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IFN held a similar event in September 2016 but foundation leaders thought a more consistent effort would be useful. Two mosque open hour events already have been held and, despite modest attendance, Nadeem is encouraged.

"We don't expect it to be like open mosque day. We expect a consistent flow of visitors. We expect it to grow," he said.

Future dates are: April 29; May 6; June 24; July 15 and 19; Aug. 12 and 26; Sept. 16 and 30; Oct. 14 and 28; Nov. 11 and 25; and, Dec. 16. Visit ifnonline. Each event runs from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

In a related effort, the foundation's Youth Council is planning a "Meet a Muslim" event June 2 in Cook Park in Libertyville. The village board's parks and recreation committee has recommended approval with consideration by the full board pending.

Organizer Taha Tayyabi, a Gurnee resident and College of Lake County student, said the event is intended to raise awareness and help change public perception of Muslims.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We want to show Muslims are peaceful," Tayyabi said. "We're not trying to promote Islam. We want to promote that we're good people."

He said the council thought it would be a "cool thing" to try after seeing other organizations hold similar events.

Tayyabi said he has not personally been harassed or oppressed but noted some people are "kind of confused" about Islam and its practices.

"Our goal is to simply send a good message," Tayyabi said of the planned event.

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