A leading Chicago Muslim organization has announced plans for hosting open day next Sunday in several mosques around the city, offering answers to anyone curious to learn about Islam.
“It gives individuals who may not know a Muslim or have never been inside a mosque a chance to become familiar with what goes on,” Tabassum Haleem, executive director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, told the Daily Herald.
The mosques which will open their doors on Sunday, October 4, include mosques in Naperville, Wheaton, Des Plaines and Libertyville
Some of the mosques, or worship centers, have hosted open houses in the past, but this is the first year the council has helped coordinate Open Mosque Day, a larger, more unified effort to invite non-Muslims into mosques.
“I have often heard that neighbors and anyone who is interested in visiting a mosque, they wait for an invitation. They don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone and asking the mosque for a visit,” Haleem said.
“Anyone who ever wanted to ask questions, just mingle with Muslims that come to the mosque, this is a great opportunity.”
Mosques in Northbrook, Morton Grove and Chicago will also open their doors to guests who are welcome during the opened hours.
Those visitors, Muslims and non-Muslims, will be greeted by volunteers who will offer short tours of the mosques, which vary in size and grandeur.
“Some are larger and may have separate, beautiful prayer areas. The architecture may be unique,” she said.
Short presentations and Q&A sessions will take place at all the mosques, to give visitors a chance to learn more Islam, mosques and Muslims.
Afternoon prayers may take place during some of the open houses and guests are welcome to observe.
“It will be very helpful, I think, in increasing mutual understanding … especially given the political climate where there is so much misunderstanding, so much fear,” Haleem said.
“This would be a great time to work past those fears.”