Hundreds of people of varying faiths visited the mosques of their neighborhood to get to know them better and enjoy a little hospitality of Muslims. Sunday, October 4 was an Open Mosque day at eight of the major mosques across Chicagoland that was coordinated by The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. It was a very successful event that provided the mosques with a platform to convey the real message of Islam, that of peace, harmony and unity. With a great turnout of multiples of Non-Muslims who were curious to explore and learn more about the religion of Islam, it was an excellent opportunity to erode the negative stereotypes associated with Islam. The mosques had various activities planned for the attendees, such as informational tours, henna painting, Arabic calligraphy, snack bars and informational material.
All the mosques planned out the event in a way that would stimulate interaction between neighbors of other faiths and members of the Masjid, and foster an understanding of Muslim culture. Guests at the Muslim Education Center’s (MEC) Open Mosque Day watched a prayer session. They were invited into the prayer areas while roughly 100 Muslims gathered to offer one of the five daily prayers. Muslim Community Center (MCC) prepared a presentation to show it to their guests. The presentation started off by communicating with the guests and testing their knowledge on Islam. It then proceeded to explain the guests about Islam being a global faith and then leading into the pillars and beliefs of Islam.
Shoaib Khadri, Secretary, Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN) said that the event proactively attempted to project the true teachings of Islam and to clear misconceptions that people may have of Islam through other sources. Shree Gurusamy from the Sri Balaji Temple, Aurora IL had a positive experience and recounts her experience:
“The open house organized by ICN gave me an opportunity to learn about many facets of Islam and the people who practice this faith. The warm welcome given by members of the mosque and the information tables provided so much in depth knowledge about the principles of Islam, their code of conduct, customs and way of life, their worship of God and the five pillars of Islam. Many acts of hatred and violence stem from ignorance, misconception and misunderstanding about a particular faith. An event like this, gives people of other religions an opportunity to learn about the nuances of Islam and gain deeper understanding about Muslims and their faith. “
Another plus for the event was that it generated a good amount of positive media coverage.
Other mosques who held the OMD were Islamic Foundation North (Libertyville), Masjid al-Farooq (Chicago), Islamic Center of Wheaton (Wheaton), Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines and Islamic Community Center of Greater Chicago (Northbrook). They were equally successful, but the details are not available yet. Please visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciogc/sets/72157657260371064 for photographs.