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In January, sixteen Atlanta area mosques came together for the first ever Visit a Mosque Day. What started off as an initiative to build bridges among local community members grew into a citywide initiative that brought hundreds of people of all-faiths into neighborhood mosques. Participants and volunteers alike relished in the opportunity to get to know different members of their community.
Each of the sixteen participating mosques organized different types of activities for their guests. Most hosted a short talk on the basics of Islam, followed by a question and answer sessions where no questions were off the table. Some mosques provided activities for the children, a calligraphy table, and lots of food. Highlights from each mosque are provided below:
Al-Farooq Masjid of Atlanta
Visitors at Al-Farooq had an opportunity to enjoy the mosque’s beauty while learn about Islam from Dr. Khalid Siddiq, a community leader, and Ruwa Romann from the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta. Volunteers and snacks greeted the over 150 guests throughout the event. A visitor remarked in her blog that Al-Farooq was the “friendliest church in town” and that she would definitely visit again. More photos from Al-Farooq can be found here.
Al-Huda Islamic Center
The only mosque in its area, the Al-Huda Islamic Center in Athens was a popular location for visitors. Opening its doors from 12-6pm, the mosque had prepared for a day full of guests, but had not nearly anticipated the almost 500 person turnout. People came throughout the day and brought items to donate for the mosque’s hygiene drive for the local homeless shelter. Volunteers gave a tour of the mosque, passed out lots of food, and walked guests through the many stations set up. One guest noted on the comments board that he/she was thankful for the hospitality and enjoyed the “open doors, open minds, open hearts, and hands of friendship.” More photos from Al-Huda can be found here, as well as a time-lapse video of the day.
East Cobb Islamic Center
“I was also happy with the turnout you had and this just reaffirms my belief that people are mostly good and tolerant and want to learn”, a visitor at the East Cobb Islamic Center (ECIC) commented. Hosting 80 visitors on this day, volunteers at ECIC prepared food and a welcoming presentation for all attendees. Guests left with a better understanding of Islam and a positive experience to talk about. More photos from ECIC’s event can be found here.
Gwinnett Islamic Circle
Visitors of all ages stopped by the Gwinnett Islamic Center (GIC) for Visit A Mosque Day. Volunteers had prepared food and different stations including calligraphy, q&a, and a youth corner that highlighted the contributions of GIC’s youth. More photos from GIC can be found here.
Roswell Community Masjid
“I was grateful to see new faces and people who had never been to a mosque before. If we can reach more and more people, then we truly are making progress,” commented Imam Arshad of Roswell Community Masjid (RCM). Among the over 50 guests at RCM were Roswell City Councilman Kent Iglehart and members of other faith groups from the area. The mosque’s volunteers were also plenty, and assisted in showing guests around the mosque as well as activities for children, and answering questions. Volunteers from Al-Bayan institute also taught visitors some Arabic words.
Madina Institute, USA
With a new flag waving overhead, Madina Institute, USA welcomed over a hundred guests at their open house event. For visitors, it was an afternoon filled with food, conversations, activities, and a chance to hear some Islamic Nasheeds. “It was a pleasure to meet some of my neighbors,” someone remarked in the guestbook. Both volunteers and guests enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people and build bridges in the community. More photos from Madina Institute can be found here.
Islamic Community Center of Atlanta
Volunteers at the Islamic Community Center of Atlanta (ICCA) welcomed an intimate group of visitors to their mosque. With an opportunity to ask questions and build relationships, guests enjoyed the opportunity to visit. “We hope to, God willing, continue regularly hosting these interfaith open houses” remarked Edward Mitchell, an ICCA volunteer.
Hamzah Islamic Center
The Hamzah Islamic Center opened its doors to over 20 guests including students, neighbors, and other faith leaders. Visitors were able to observe the congregation in Asr prayer, followed by an official welcome, refreshments, and an opportunity to socialize. Many guests stayed until late to further share conversations with community members. For more photos from the Hamzah Islamic Center, click here.
Allatoona Masjid and Community Center
Also a successful event at the Allatoona Masjid, with about ten guests attending Visit A Mosque Day.
Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam
Hosting a great group of victors, the volunteers at the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam had only positive things to say about their event. “Together, we can encourage people of all faiths to learn more about each other and build relationships, which will ultimately strengthen our communities”, the masjid leadership noted. (no more photos or info to give….)
Islamic Center of North Fulton
There was a great turnout at the Islamic Center of North Fulton as volunteers greeted guests from all over Alpharetta.
Islamic Center of Macon
It was a great event in Macon as the local Islamic Center greeted guests from the nearby Mercer University, and local community members. Volunteers welcomed visitors and treated them to food, conversation, and an opportunity to ask questions. More photos from the Islamic Center of Macon can be found here.
Masjid Omar bin Abdul Aziz
Local community members who showed up to Masjid Omar bin Abdul Aziz were eager to learn about Islam and the mosque that stands in their neighborhood. More than 16 people attended and among them and many agreed that it was necessary to host another event to invite more people. One woman noted, "I was raised as a Southern Baptist and I was surprised to see how much in common we share."
There was one constant among these sixteen mosques: the desire to continue to host similar events and future Visit a Mosque Days. Be sure to like the Facebook page for the Atlanta Muslims Community’s Visit a Mosque Day to stay updated on future events.
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