The Islamic Society of Evansville, Indiana, hosted on Sunday the annual international food festival, an event held in its 18th year to promote religious tolerance and give to the needy in the community, Courier & Press reported.
“The more we sell, the more we give,” said Bushra Saqib, who sits on the Islamic Society’s executive committee and has helped organize the festival all 18 years of its existence.
The annual event first started in 2002, one year after 9/11. Ever since, it has been attracting between 1000-1500 visitors every year.
“Before 9/11, there was no concept of discrimination or us vs. them. It all started after 9/11,” Saqib said.
The event included serving food from different Muslim countries such as, chicken biryani, falafel sandwiches, and grape leaves.
According to Saqib, it is also designed as a way to give to the needy in the community while promoting religious tolerance.
“Events like this help,” Saqib said.
Visitors could take a tour of the mosque. Inside, copies of the Qur’an were stacked on a table along with some literature aimed at promoting tolerance.
“We hope to educate people… Education is the key to tolerance,” Saqib said.
“A lot of people think they are apprehensive about coming. Once they come and see, (they realize) we’re just like normal people, just living a normal life and just trying to do good.”
The food festival in Evansville is not the only one hosted by Islamic centers around the world.
In July 2019, North America’s largest halal food festival took place in Toronto.
The Annual MuslimFest, the largest Muslim festival in North America, also took place in Mississauga from August 30-September 1.