North America

California mosques welcome non-Muslims

USA_MasjidOmar“The tragedy of 9/11 has manifested in so many ways to so many people, including Muslims, of course,” Shakeel Syed, executive director at the Islamic Shura Council, was quoted by Southern California Public Radio.

“The desire and curiosity in the society at large to learn about Islam, to learn and know about Muslims, has never been more. It only increases.”

The event commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Open Mosque Day which was first organized 10 years ago by the Islamic Shura Council at mosques across Southern California.

During the Open day, Visitors will make a tour inside a mosque, meet Muslims and eat cultural food.

“Most importantly of all, [visitors will] figure out ways in which people of all faiths and traditions can work together for the common and the greater good in their respective cities,” Syed said, who will be hosting the event at the Culver mosque.

Though mosques always welcome comers at any time, Open Mosque day is deemed as a more ‘formalized’ setting, Syed stated.

“People of faith, people of conscience, can come together and figure out a way — what are the things we can do to make sure our children and grandchildren are safe,” Syed noted.

A recent Pew research showed that US Muslims generally express strong commitment to their faith and tend not to see an inherent conflict between being devout and living in a modern society.

The open mosque event was praised for offering better opportunities to highlight similarities among the different cultures.

“For a lot of people, it’s the first time they’ve gone to a mosque, and they have all these questions in their mind based on incorrect things they’ve seen on the media or incorrect things that they’ve heard from people who may be bigoted,” said Vicki Tamoush, a Tustin resident and a member of the Episcopal Church.

Attending the Open Mosque Day for several years, Tamoush stated that such activities are needed ‘now more than ever’.

“I’m sure I would be welcomed, but I think I would feel shy,” Tamoush explained why she didn’t like to walk into a mosque at random.

“But, on Open Mosque Day, I know that all people visiting there are there to learn and understand, and I know that all the people who go to that mosque are there to answer me honestly.”

A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.

A recent Gallup poll, however, found 43 per cent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.

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