Open Mosque Day in Southern California for Better Understanding

The falafel, samosa, tabouli, baklawa and hummus spread out on a long table next to the Chocolate Chip cookies and potato chips. Some Mosques even had barbeque grilled sandwiches! This is how many Southern California Mosques set up their food table and their Saturday-Sunday afternoons during the 12 th annual Open Mosque Day organized by the Islamic Shura Council.

Thousands of visitors showed up at the Open Mosque Day across Southern California and listened to Islam-101 presentations, asked questions, gazed at myriad translations of the Qur'an, learnt culture and enjoyed a barbeque lunch. “People arrive a bit tense but leave a whole lot (Mosque) relaxed,” said Shakeel Syed, Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council.

The same is the story at more than twenty-eight other Mosques spreading from Riverside to West Los Angeles and Conejo Valley to Mission Viejo.

One Open Mosque Day visitor wrote this: “I loved the presentation and learned so much. We left knowing that we share many beliefs with the Islamic faith and feeling great admiration for and fellowship with the Muslim community.”

“We are very pleased to hear of organic relationships and initiatives between the visitors and the host Mosque,” said Dr Muzammil Siddiqi, the Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council. He added, “We feel gratified when people of all faiths and traditions come together in the pursuit of the common and greater good. After all that’s the entire purpose of the Open Mosque Day. To foster relationships and build mutual respect while learning and sharing from each other.”
The Mosques opened its doors in Southern California as part of the annual Open Mosque Day organized by the Shura Council of Southern California. For the first time this years’ Open Mosque Day was expanded to two days and also had presentations in multiple languages in English, Spanish and in Vietnamese language.

Although several Mosques organize similar events on their own but a designated day each year was an idea that started a decade ago by the Islamic Shura Council and continues since. The annual Open Mosque Day does not replace or substitute existing efforts but is designed to strengthen and complement them.

"The purpose of the Open Mosque Day is to dispel the myths surrounding Muslims and Islam and creating an environment for direct interaction, fostering relationships while enjoying samosa and shawarma," said Shakeel Syed, executive director or the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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