Hundreds of people belonging to different faiths showed up on Open Mosque Day at The Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN), April 28.
The full-day event aimed at spreading the message of peace and forgiveness and counter stereotypes about Islam.
Mosque tours conducted by youth of ICN fielded questions about the Islam, the mosque and the Muslim faith, various practices. The Zohar (Mid-Day) prayer was observed, and more than 100 volunteers worked to make the event a success, according to the information sent by Syed Khalil Ullah.
Imam Shaikh Rizwan Ali of the Islamic Center of Naperville is quoted in the press release saying, “Our ICN Mosque and Interfaith team hold the open house to provide answers to anyone with concerns or questions and removed negatives Images about Islam & Prophet Muhammad.”
“We are hoping today that all the misconceptions about our Islam and Muslim faith and its teachings will be eliminated and all of brother and sister of all faiths can be more understanding of each other and feel like a family. when all my neighbors, they leave the mosque today, they will have a strong message of peace and love.” ICN member Arshed Aroos said.
Several non-Muslims said they learned a lot from attending Open Mosque Day and observing the prayer, enjoying the different foods, Middle Eastern, Arabic, Indian, Pakistani and American, and having fun with family. They also noted that Naperville is a diverse neighborhood with many faiths co-existing in peace.
“Today Our Islamic center organized a solidarity event at St Margaret Mary Catholic Church, before our open mosque day to show love and solidarity with the Christian community in the wake of terrorist attacks at Churches in Sri Lanka,” a Mosque representative, whose name is not given in the press release, said.
“Open Mosque day helps to break down barriers between people from different faiths and cultures,” said Ashfaq Hussain Syed.
The ceremony started with a recreation of The Holy Quran followed by a welcome address by Shoaib Khadri, president of ICN.
“Every year we are doing two open mosque (sic), one in spring and another is in the fall. The goal of the Open Mosque Day is to introduce ourselves and our community, our religion, our culture to other community from different faiths and backgrounds,” Khadri said.
One of the coordinators of the event informed attendees that people from Du Page County and other counties and neighborhoods were welcome and that there was a complimentary lunch followed by an interactive Q and A session, as well as multimedia exhibits entitled. “Journey Through Time” and “The Great Women in Islam;”
For entertainment, there were stalls offering free henna and the experience of wearing a hijab.
Among the elected and other government officials who visited the event were State Sen. Laura Clymore Ellman, State Rep. Karina Villa, Du Page County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin, Judge James McCluskey, Janice Anderson, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and DuPage county board member Sadia Gul Covert.