Guiding Light Islamic Center held a mosque open house Saturday.
Non-muslim community members were invited into the space to learn more about Islam and ask questions about the religion.
The center worked with GainPeace, an organization that works to dispel misinformation about Islam to non-Islamic people, to host the event.
“It’s just to show people that we’re human,” Nadiyah Roberts, who attends the mosque said. “We’re just chilling like any other human; we just have different beliefs.”
The open houses are recurring events at Guiding Light. Saturday’s event was the 8th of its kind.
The center welcomed the guests into the men’s prayer space where the room was lined with informational posters about Islam.
One side focused solely on women in Islam. Organizers said they wanted to combat the misconception that Islam mistreats and oppresses women.
In a presentation, GainPeace director Sabeel Ahmed touched on some of the similarities between Islam and other Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Judaism.
“Just as humans, we have consensus and commonalities, so building on those commonalities, or on the platform of the commonalities, we want to build better societies,” said Ahmed.
He says that seeing and speaking with Muslim people allowed people of other faiths to work through misconnections.
Following a question-and-answer session, people were invited to take a guided tour of the mosque and stay for lunch.
Attendees could then stay and observe one of the center’s daily prayers.
“If anyone has any questions about Islam depending on the images they see in the media, it is important for them not to judge Islam,” said Ahmed, “But contact a mosque, meet your Muslim neighbors, read the Quran.”
He said that understanding takes the approach of understanding any religion.
“Just like if I want to know Christianity or Judaism, I want to go to the Bible, talk to a priest, a rabbi and not just judge that wonderful faith of Christianity and other faiths,” said Ahmed.
Zach Page has attended mosque open houses at Guiding Light in the past.
“My belief, and you know, Christianity, it says love your neighbor. And to me, it’s all about taking care of neighbors, taking care of everybody else, to me that’s the honorable and respectful thing to do,” said Page.
During the question-and-answer session, Page asked how non-Muslim people can be respectful toward Muslim neighbors and friends.
“I believe if you want to be a genuinely good person, you’ve got to understand other people,” Page said.
Mosque goer Nadiyah Roberts hopes the open house attendees walk away not fearing Islam or the people who practice it.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but in a respectful way,” she said.