Islamic Center of Wheaton open doors to build better relationships and build bridges
More than 450 people visited the Islamic Center of Wheaton during freezing rain in the area. The center has invited every year since last two years.
The friends and neighbors of different faiths inside to find out more about Islam's teachings and understanding their Muslim neighbors. The program was hosted by Outreach/Interfaith Committee of Islamic Center of Wheaton on Saturday, Nov. 18. At the beginning, all the guests were served traditional Mediterranean foods in the cafeteria during social hours.
The event that started at 11 a.m. and concluded at 2 p.m. welcomed many members of the non-Muslim community and neighbors with their families to the mosque, who came to see, explore and even have a nice and wonderful time. The event was marked with a line-up of attendees which included members of churches, members of temples and the synagogue.
The Open Mosque was attended by many guests and public officials from the community. The officials who attend are Wheaton Mayor Michael Gresk, Congressman Peter Roskam, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Lt. Governor of Illinois Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti.
Master of ceremonies was Haaris Uddin, co- chair of Outreach/Interfaith Committee.
"The whole purpose of the Open Mosque Day is to introduce ourselves and our community, our religion, our culture to other brothers and sisters from different faiths and backgrounds," said Alaa Fahmy, president of Islamic Center of Wheaton.
Open Mosque Day is a great opportunity for people to come together and appreciate different beliefs and backgrounds, and to come to a greater understanding of each other, said Sheikh Omer Haqqani - Scholar/Chairman of Outreach/Interfaith Committee.
The program started with the recitation of holy Quran with sweet voice by Imam Ibrahim Darasawi. After recitation of holy Quran Isra Ibrahim performed translation of verses of the Quran in English. Ms. Summer Zehra presents a short speech, Muslim American Women -Growing.
The program for the day included a mosque tour, a short presentation and a Q&A session.
Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, Director of the Gain Peace outreach program, who was the main speaker of the day, gave an overview of the religion of Islam, covering such topics as Woman's Rights in Islam, Sharia Law, etc. Dr. Ahmed said that Muslims believe that men and women are born with original goodness. He highlighted in Islam separate prayer spaces for men and women, orientation toward Mecca, where Muslims face while praying five times a day.
The guest turning up and learning and understanding Islam and its reality. The day could guest to meet face-to-face, get to know each other and tackle misconceptions.
One guest Maria said to "I am pleasantly surprised to see people milling around and really welcoming, lovely smiling and well greeting faces".
Gregory, a first-time guest, said "Today, after having a nice conversation and meeting with Muslim brothers we all know it is a realization that we are closer to one another."
A lady she is a member of local church Ms. Peter said "Today we had nice respectful, constructive dialogue with our Muslim friends. I will come when you have another Open Day." Alex, a local college student, said "It feels so good to understand another religion and makes unity in diversity of faith. Dr. Ahmed is a very good speaker.
Many of the visitors gave remarks to organizers, "you guys are wonderful! Thank you so much for your hospitality. It was an honor to be there with you all.
The Open Day Mosque was an informative day and many of the guests departed with offering thanks to the Muslims for hosting the wonderful event. This Open Mosque Day will create more understanding and dispel misconceptions about what it means to be Muslim in America.
The program was very well organized, prestigious and enjoyed by the attendees and will be remembered.