MEMPHIS – Launched 15 years ago, the Muslims in Memphis month has been drawing increasing support from local residents, introducing them to the true tenets of Islam in an annual series of events.
“Since that time, we have been trying to expose Islam and Muslims to the non-Muslims because we felt there is a large amount of misunderstanding among the people about Islam and the Muslims, and this misunderstanding is mostly due to misinformation, or disinformation by the press dissipated the people,” Dr. Mohammad Moinuddin, vice president of the Muslim Society of Memphis mosque on Stratford Road, told Memphis Daily News on Thursday, March 9.
The event kicked off last March 4, with open houses at seven mosques in the city.
The events featured educational discussions, activities and food, all designed to foster understanding and promote the opportunity for fellowship and interaction.
Festivities began with the Star-Spangled Banner and an opening ceremony followed by the Taste of Islam International Food Festival at the first mosque built in Memphis.
Other events this month include, among other things, Islamic Heritage Night with the Grizzlies on March 11, a health fair on March 18, and a hunger relief campaign on March 19.
On Friday, March 10, Maria Khani, a Syrian educator who lives in California, will speak on “Islam and Muslims Across the Centuries” at First Baptist Church, 200 East Parkway North at Poplar Avenue, from 7 pm to 9 pm.
“There is not much difference between us as Muslims and other people of faith, we all believe in one God,” said Iman Abdallah Alhaj, the spiritual leader of Muslim Society of Memphis.
“You have your religion and I have mine, and we can all co-exist in one place as well as in humanity.”
Moinuddin hopes to have more interfaith events throughout the year so people from different religions can come together to form a better understanding and unity.
“Unless we do that and try to communicate with each other and exchange ideas, things are not going to improve,” he said.
The events were praised by many visitors, including Dr. Billy Bickers, who came to the open house for the second year in a row.
“We Christians in the United States have had a tendency to see them as all bad and we’re all good,” Bickers said.
Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton made the “Muslims in Memphis” designation in 2001.