“Thank you so much for a wonderful, warm and informative program. I’d love to do this again and bring more friends and family.”
“Wow! We actually have quite a bit in common with Muslims and Jews! Great food!”
“So impactful and has me thinking.”
“We had a great time at Atlanta Muslim Community's Visit a Mosque day. People were so friendly and accommodating and I learned several things about Islam I did not know. And the mosque was beautiful.”
“I liked the ability to ask any questions.”
“Thank you for your warm welcome and for the opportunity to make new friends.”
These are just a few of the many positive comments left by visitors to various Georgia mosques yesterday on Visit a Mosque Day.
Hundreds of visitors showed for the statewide initiative organized by the Atlanta Muslim community, the first of its kind. A total of 16 mosques, some outside of Metro Atlanta, like Al Huda in Athens and two mosques in Macon, participated. Each mosque independently organized their own open houses under #VisitAMosqueATL.
Despite the freezing weather and state of emergency the previous day (due to potential icy and snowy conditions), the show went on. Mosque representatives decided collectively on Saturday morning that road conditions were safe enough to continue with their VAMD plans. As of Saturday night, preliminary reports indicate that 300 guests turned out at Athens’ Al-Huda mosque, 150 at Madina Institute in Duluth, 80 at ECIC, and over 100 at Al-Farooq.
The social media campaign leading up to the event was professionally organized, targeting groups that generally do not believe Muslims are true Americans. Muslims were asked to bring their friends and co-workers of other faiths. Many church groups, university religion professors and organizations like Jewish Voices for Peace helped spread the word and encouraged their colleagues to attend.
Many visitors had the opportunity to have their name written in Arabic calligraphy, listen to Quran recitation and Islamic poetry, but most importantly, they were encouraged to ask any questions about Islam. Questions ranged from the meaning of Shariah law, to how to handle prayer times at the workplace to where the best place is to buy samosas in Atlanta. Many mosques had invited the Islamic Speakers Bureau to give a presentation about Islam and guests had the opportunity to ask their speakers any questions. Guests were welcomed with open arms, treated to snacks and coffee and got to know the common Muslims who make up our Muslim communities. Guests at a couple of mosques also got to meet local Muslim Boy and Girl Scout troops. Unfortunately, the weather caused the Boy Scouts to cancel their American flag retiring ceremony at Madina Institute.
Reports and pictures from mosques are still coming in, but here are a couple in the mean time. Stay tuned…