Mosque holds open house to connect with Calgarians, reduce misconceptions, vandalism
'I think we are in a time where we need to know as much about every person that we can'
Acts of vandalism prompted an open house event on Sunday with organizers hoping to build a bridge between Muslims and non-Muslims.
'Our House is Your House' at the Northwest Islamic Centre in Ranchlands followed a string of anti-Muslim incidents in recent weeks including racist graffiti and posters and broken windows.
- Calgary mosque vandalized for second time in a week
- Window smashed, burnt Quran, hateful letter left at Calgary Islamic centre
L.J. Stollery says she was prompted to come to the event after seeing what's happening in the United States.
"We saw that this event was happening and I think we are in a time where we need to know as much about every person that we can," Stollery said.
"Especially in the wake of this presidential election and all the hatred that's happening and especially directed at certain groups… we would be foolish not to try to get to know everybody and know what brings us all together because we're all living in the same community."
Organizer Muhammad Abbas says he hopes by engaging non-Muslims with healthy conversations and education, it will reduce misconceptions and hopefully future acts of vandalism.
"Everything is on the table, anything can be talked about," Abbas said.
'That is what this event is about and let's create mutual understanding and the trust among ourselves."
Abbas hopes to hold the events on a more regular basis.
"I believe this will help a lot. That was the experience we had when we held this event in February," he said.
"We are thinking that on a weekly basis we will open our centres and welcoming our non-Muslim neighbours. Come inside, interact with the Muslim community and let's talk about all the issues."
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With files from Terri Trembath