Islamic Center of Wheaton spreads message of hope, peace and faith solidarity at Open Mosque Day
Visitors to the Wheaton mosque were greeted with a warm communal embrace. Hundreds of visitors showed up on the Open Mosque Day at the Islamic Center of Wheaton on Saturday, Nov. 2. The event welcomed many members of the non-Muslim community and neighbors with their family to the mosque.
Omar Haqqani, vice president and chairman of the Outreach/Interfaith Committee of the Islamic Center of Wheaton, said, "This is the sixth year we open door for our neighbors. This is totally amazing feeling to see so many people came today to see our Mosque, so many faith people are here from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different parts of Illinois State. Today, several peoples came from nearby states Like Indiana and Michigan. The biggest surprise to us many students came from Calvin University Michigan to visit our mosque to understand us."
Many religious and faith leaders and groups came to build bridges, understand each other and filled any cultural gaps within the community.
"The main goals make new friends and remove any kind of misconceptions and propaganda about Islam and Muslims," Imam Ibrahim Darasawi said.
The imam continued, "Our mosque doors are always open for everyone. Our mosques are built to connect with the all the neighbors and in service of humanity. Our doors and heart are open throughout year for everyone."
"ICW is not just a mosque for prayers rather it is a community center for all. We are here today to break down barriers between us and people from different faiths and cultures," said Zahra Antar, an Islamic Center of Wheaton board member.
A visitor named Maria said, "I feel so great to be here so many people I spoke to Imam and Sister Diana Cruz. I have had all my questions answered and I love their emphasis on helping the less fortunate in the society. This event encourages us to understand each other regardless of their religions and faith."
More than 500 visitors from different faiths had filed through the mosque and Islamic Center by mid-afternoon from local neighborhood, including DuPage County and across the Chicago area. The Islamic Center of Wheaton has invited visitors in twice every year for the last several years. Many 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
For the majority of the visitors, it was their first time visiting a mosque, meeting an iman or hearing a call to prayer. They were treated to warm and best Islamic hospitality, including mouthwatering traditional foods and information on the tenets of the faith.
During the open mosque, visitors stop by a booth to get their names written in Arabic calligraphy. Women were getting free henna designs on their hands and had the opportunity to try on hijab.
"Open Door helps to create a sense of belonging and break down barriers between people from different faiths and cultures," Alaa Fahmy said.
"It was a great pleasure for me to welcome all of you in the mosque. This is an opportunity for the community to engage in conversation about anything of topical interest, including shared faith issues, to unite and strengthen our humanity," said Abraham Antar, president of the Islamic Center of Wheaton.
A visitor named William said, "This is a great memorable experience for me. Next spring, I will come back with my friends and family."
The event was over after observation of Zohar Salah, which was led by Imam Ibrahim Darasawi. More than 40 volunteers of all the ages were behind the success of the open house.