RALEIGH – Members of the Triangle Muslim community held an open house at one of their newly expanded facilities for residents to visit and learn more about the religion and those who practice it.
Taiyyaba Qureshi, one of the open house organizers, said the event was held as a meet-and-greet session.
"[We want to] show them what the mosque is about, show them what Islam is and what Muslims in America live like," Qureshi said.
The "Meet your Muslim Neighbor" open house was held at their newly expanded Islamic Center off Atwater Street in Raleigh. The facility offers a place where people can learn about Muslim educators, politicians, judges and their contributions to American society.
"Muslims have been in the United States since the early 1500s even," Qureshi said.
Ali Zelmat is an Outreach Committee leader with the Islamic Center of Raleigh. She said they offer a variety of services to the community.
"Counseling, social services, help with legal activity if you need help with various things. We have a food pantry which is open to anyone. In addition, we have a lot of service projects," Zelmat said.
The 40,000-square-foot facility houses schools, prayer rooms, libraries and several conference rooms. But organizers said it also houses a spirit of community that they want to share with the rest of the Triangle.
"It's not proselytizing. It's not in order to create new Muslims," Zelmat said. "It's to correct misinformation and get the correct information out there."
For example, one question was about clothing – specifically the head scarf worn by many Muslim women.
"You're going to hear the word hijab, and hijab has come to mean the outfit that Muslim women wear to cover themselves," Zelmat said. "Usually that means the face and the hands and possibly the feet."
Many people asked about how Muslims pray.
"The five daily prayers, which are ritualized with a specific format including Arabic, we're reciting from the Quran," she said.
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