Thousands Show Up at the 21 Islamic Centers Across N.E. Area
Reported by Tahir Ali
Photo Courtesy: Zaynab Silva and Fazal Alam
Worcester - 4/8/2018: Sunday April the 8th, 2018 was the day when 21 Islamic Centers in the New England area decided to open the doors to the general public, a CAIR initiative coined as "Meet your Muslim Neighbor Day."
The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester (ISGW) and the Worcester Islamic Center (WIC) - were among the 21 Mosques that participated in the open house event. Members of Interfaith, elected officials including the Mayor of Worcester and Joe Early, DA joined the hundreds who attended the open house at both centers.
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the Charter TV 3 carried the news and encouraged people to participate in both Worcester Centers. Amjad Bhatti (ISGW President) and Dr. Mohammad Ramzan (WIC President) in their respective interviews pointed out what to expect at the open house and invited the public to participate. WGGB/WSHM of Western Massachusetts News reported, "Mostly misunderstood community is opening its doors this evening so others can ask questions about their religion. Islamic Society of Western Mass participated in the international open house today."
"At the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland" reported Judy Fasman in the JewishBoston Magazine, "there is beauty in the swirling Arabic letters. There is elegance in the geometric patterns on the walls and the plush green carpeting. The occasion for my visit to the mosque was the second annual Massachusetts Open Mosque Day. In the spirit of “Open Minds, Open Hearts,” 21 mosques across Massachusetts opened their doors to guests. At the mosque I went to in Wayland, the lovely welcome included an impressive assortment of sweets, a bevy of information and a warm welcome from Muslim neighbors who wanted to share their culture and beliefs." In reference to ISBCC and ISB on Prospect St. Cambridge, the Boston Herald, US News, and Associated Press reported: "Islamic communities across Massachusetts are opening their doors to foster better understanding of the faith."
American Islamic Center in Everett - "the event is intended to help dispel misconceptions about Muslims." Wafa Wahabi said.
It is encouraging to note that the first "Meet a Muslim Day" organized by WIC in 2016 that drew over 1500 non-Muslims, is catching on in a more collective form. The Muslim festival organized by the Islamic Center in Malden was another successful event that followed soon after. Starting in 2017 and 2018 following CAIR's initiative most of the Centers to show solidarity are observing the event on the same day across New England. Most of the participating Islamic Centers featured: Meet and Greet with flowers, Islamic Calligraphy, Art and Artifacts, Traditional dresses, Henna and face painting, 'Try on a Hijab' stall, Meet a convert, International food and Bazaar, scheduled Mosque tours, plus a town hall style Q&A Islam101 session and then some.
A Unity of Purpose in action - Kudos to all.
Respectfully submitted by Tahir Ali - ISGW/WIC