12:14 - May 04, 2016
News ID: 3459714
TEHRAN (IQNA) – The Bay County Islamic Society in Florida hosted an event Tuesday called "Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbor."

The Society usually hosts the event at its mosque, but decided to have it in the library to open it up to more members of the public.

The event featured food and coffee, free copies of the Quran and also offered women the opportunity to try on a hijab, or head scarf.

The members hoped people would stop by to learn more about them, get to know them and ask questions.

"I feel like I don't know any [Muslims] and we don't know each other and I would love to get know each other and I would love to get to know some people," Local Sylvia Whitley said. "And here I am!"

Where fences exist, both physical and ideological, neighbors can be hard to reach. That's why this community wants to tear them down.

"It's been wonderful so far," Hiba Rahim said.

She's the community organizer for the Bay County Islamic Society. Rahim said they usually host the event at their mosque, but found they could reach more people at the library.

"So we're really making efforts and other communities are making similar efforts to come together and to recognize that we really are one, we're one community," Rahim said.

She said she hopes visitors will ask them questions they have about Islam and the Quran so they can clear up things that might be taken out of context in the media.

"Well the library is about education, so this is a perfect fit because they're trying to educate the public," Regina Burgess, community relations coordinator for the library, said. "Also because the library is a great equalizer. Everyone is welcome in the library."

"I love learning about other religions and other people's cultures, I always have," Christina Sheets said.

Her son had a field trip to the library earlier in the week and she saw the advertisements for the event and decided to return.

"This was intriguing," she said while getting a henna tattoo on her hand. "I brought my kids along so they could learn."

Part of the event included an opportunity for women to try on a hijab.

"So what that does is normalizes the image of an American Muslim woman," Rahim said. "It's still me, I still have my same interests and hobbies and it doesn't change very much, just you know, we're all the same."

"It's just like talking to any of my other neighbors," Whitley said, "and it's been good, a good thing."

Rahim said as long as the library will have them, they'd love to continue hosting events there. She said people are always welcome to ask them questions and learn more about their faith.

Source: wjhg


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