LIBERTYVILLE – Libertyville residents will have an opportunity to learn about their Muslim neighbors, thanks to a series of ‘open hours’ event at the Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville, Illinois.
“Our mosque which operates since 2004 hosts sessions on Sundays, once or twice a month, as part of the outreach effort,” Dr. Amin Nadeem, chairman of the foundation’s civic engagement committee told Daily Herald on April 17.
Non-Muslim visitors are invited to learn about Islam by getting a basic understanding of the Shari`ah, having one-on-one discussions or taking an optional mosque tour.
“Although it’s a small effort, the philosophy is we just need to learn more about each other,” Nadeem said.
“We’re also trying to build up a long-term relationship with our neighbors,” he added.
The Islamic center’s chairman further explained that “the idea is to provide information and dispel myths. Our neighbors think the mosque exclusive and they can’t come in — they think it’s for members only.”
Regarding his evaluation, Nadeem clarified that they “don’t expect it to be like open mosque day, but a consistent flow of visitors throughout the month.” “We expect it to grow,” he hopes.
This year’s future dates of open afternoon hours in Libertyville Mosque are: April 29, May 6, June 24, July 15 and 19, August 12 and 26, September 16 and 30, October 14 and 28, November 11 and 25, and, December 16.
In a related effort, the mosque’s Youth Council is planning a “Meet a Muslim” event, scheduled for June 2 in Cook Park in Libertyville village.
The event’s organizer, Taha Tayyabi, a Gurnee resident and Lake County College student, said: “the event is intended to raise awareness and help change public perception of Muslims.”
According to Pew Forum’s 2014 census, Muslim made up 1% of the population of Illinois state. A 2012 report of Huffington Post announced that Illinois has the largest concentration of Muslims by state in the US, with 2800 Muslims per 100,000 citizens.