HALIFAX – The local mosque in Halifax opened its doors to welcome hundreds of neighbors from all faiths in the largest interfaith harmony week gathering hosted by the Muslim community.
“I think we don’t know each other well, so it’s very important to enhance and to understand … one another,” Imam Abdallah Yousri told CBC.
As Muslims gathered for Friday congregational prayer, known as Jumu`ah, the Ummah Mosque opened its doors to hundreds of visitors wishing to learn about Islam, share a meal, and build bridges with the community.
For many, it was their first time inside the mosque on St. Matthias Street. It was also the congregation’s largest World Interfaith Harmony Week gathering ever.
Since 2010, the UN has set aside the first week of February for people of different religions to set aside their differences and learn from one another.
“We figured why not, we might as well see what it’s all about. I mean, we go to synagogues, we go to the other churches, so why not come to the mosque,” Diana Burns, who was invited by a friend, said.
Marge Kelley also attended the event, in the first time for her to enter a mosque.
“Very interesting. I could hardly keep my eyes and my head still because I was looking, looking, looking,” she said.
The noon-hour prayer was followed by a lunch.
For Fadwa Awad, it was a chance to share a part of her life with her friends.
“All of them are happy learning about our religion, see it in your eyes what are we doing, what we are talking about. That’s a good thing,” she said.