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Illinois Mosque Dispels Myths in “Open Hours”

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.

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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.