Ummah Mosque in Halifax holds open house
'Get to know us, we're citizens like you,' imam says
Ummah Mosque and Community Centre in west-end Halifax held an open house Sunday evening to help clear up any misconceptions about the Islamic faith.
"We were planning to do this for a long time," said Abdelkader Tayebi, imam of Ummah Mosque.
"It's just the events that came recently made it more urgent than we planned," he said, referring to the recent attacks in San Bernadino, California.
Tayebi says the open house is a way for the Halifax community to get to know the city's Muslims.
Hundreds of people showed up at the event, which featured tours, food, cultural exhibits and two lectures.
'We're citizens like you'
"We've opened up the mosque so people know what goes on in a mosque," he said, "Who are the people coming here? They are your teacher, they are your doctor, they are your lawyer, they are your neighbour."
"When they're seeing the news about these terrible things happening in the world, some media outlets, some politicians, some leaders are attributing that to the entire population ... that is 1.6 billion people," he said.
The imam says any local backlash against Muslims he's heard about has been second-hand.
"Get to know us, we're citizens like you," said Tayebi.