The Memphis Muslim community held its second "Open Mosque Day" event with all seven of the mosques in Memphis opened their doors to community members, giving people a valuable, enriching glimpse into a world that is misrepresented and misunderstood far too often.
At the Memphis Islamic Center visitors were greeted by smiling volunteers from 901 Ummah, who helped sign guests in and gave tours around the facility and the grounds.
Safi Khan, the MIC youth director, and Dr. Bashar Shala, the chairman of the board at MIC, both gave informational talks that introduced the guests to Islam and the Muslim community of Memphis. Visitors were also invited to enjoy delicious food under the gazebos on a picturesque spring day.
Ed Wallin, a Vietnam veteran, who was part of Pax Christe (peace of Christ) which he said "transformed him from a man of war to a man of peace". As an attendee of Mosque ar-Rahman, Wallin also mentioned how he "hope[s] Mr. trump doesn't get us into any wars" and how grateful he was for "opening your mosque to us."
While the food was certainly one of the main attractions, the opportunity to meet people of different backgrounds was meaningful for many.
"It is important now more than ever to make connections and build bridges among people of different faith traditions," said Melissa Swauncy of Memphis, an attendee of MIC.
Representative Dwayne Thompson was also in attendance, and he expressed his approval of the event.
"I think it’s good for the whole community that we become more understanding of Islam… I hope you all do it [this event] again."
With hundreds of people in attendance, beautiful weather, delicious food, meaningful dialogue, and lots of laughter, Open Mosque Day 2017 at MIC was a success as people from all over Memphis got to better understand their neighbors, their coworkers, and their friends.
Photo by Adam Munshi
Youth director Safi Khan gives a lecture on "Islam 101."