ATLANTA – Muslims in Atlanta will open their doors next Saturday to welcome their neighbors, in the third consecutive year of the event planned to clear up misconceptions about the Muslim community and counter rising hate crimes.
“It’s very disturbing and it puts all of us in real danger,” Rizwan Anwar, a member of the general assembly of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Atlanta, told The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“I think the biggest reason people feel uncomfortable is education. They don’t know about the Muslim faith. They don’t know us. There are right people and wrong people in every society. To think everyone is wrong is just not correct.”
Though his work with the American Muslim rights group, Anwar has watched the huge rise of incidents of anti-Muslim bias and hate crimes in the last two years.
To counter these incidents, the group organized the “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors” event two years ago.
The open house, supported by several organizations including GainPeace, will be held from 1 pm to 3:30 pm Saturday at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, 2450 Galleria Parkway in Atlanta.
The open house is free and includes lunch and hotel garage parking.
This year, they hope for a bigger attendance, as last year only 17 non-Muslims attended and the year before there were 25 non-Muslims.
“It was very disappointing,” he said.
This year, the event coincides with the ICNA -MAS Southeast Convention, which runs Saturday through Monday.