Tri-City Mosques Open Doors to Dialogue

October 10, 2006

Author: Eleni Economides

Source: The Argus

HERMAN MELVILLE once said "Ignorance is the parent of fear," and Bay Area Muslims made it their goal this week to educate curious community members about their religion during a series of open houses at local mosques.

"I know of many people that are scared to come to the mosque, but we want people to come and learn about who we are," explained Moina Shaiq, a Fremont resident and member of the Islamic Society of the East Bay, which sponsored Sunday's series of open houses.

"There is a lot of misinformation, and a lot of people don't know who we are. What a more perfect time than the time of sharing — Ramadan — to show them."

After seven weeks of planning and extending hundreds of invitations, open house organizer Jitu Choudhury wanted to encourage the community to learn about Islam and ask questions.

"My focus is outreach," explained Choudhury in his opening speech.

"I want to tell you what we stand for and what we believe, and encourage you to exchange dialogue."

More than 100 people came to the Fremont mosque's open house, which featured presentations on the Quran, informational booths and brochures, prayer, and presentations on Islam and Iftar — the traditional fast-breaking dinner of Ramadan.

See also: Islam, Civic