Muslims Association of Bolingbrook, in collaboration with an outreach organization, GainPeace, invited their neighbors for an educational session on Islam. The event was well received by the community with numerous representatives from various churches along with a synagogue who were all present despite a rainy weather forecast. There were beautiful posters displaying some of the Islamic principles and also booths that offered Arabic Calligraphy and temporary Henna Tattoos.
The event commenced at 1:00 PM with the tour of the Mosque. Theguests were able to view the ‘Adhaan’, or call to prayer, by Mostafa Muftah, the Imam of the Bolingbrook Mosque. Two young Cub Scouts from Naperville’s Pack 99 within the Indian Prairie District, also registered with the Three Fires Council, demonstrated the call to prayer using sign language, a project that was recently undertaken by the pack to accommodate those with hearing disabilities. Attendees were briefed on different parts of the call to prayer and given a translated version of what the beautiful Adhaan actually means.
The guests were then invited to come into the sacred prayer hall and view the actual prayer service, which was followed by recitation of beautiful verses from Chapter 3 of Glorious Qur’an by Imam Mostafa, signifying the role of Mary and Jesus in Islam.
Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, Director of the GainPeace outreach program for the Islamic Circle of North America, who was the Keynote Speaker, gave an overview of Islam, covering such topics as Woman’s Rights in Islam, Jihad, Sharia Law, etc. Dr. Ahmed said that Muslims believe that men and women are born with original goodness, not original sin. He also spoke about the message of Prophets Jesus and Moses, being no different than that of Prophet Muhammad’s in which the Creator alone is worshiped, rather than His creation. “The Muslim worship the Creator, not His creation,” he reiterated.
Aadil Farid, a board member with the Islamic Center of Naperville said that Muslimsare thoroughly family-centric and want to bring different sections of the community together and serve them in all possible ways. Farid, who has also been an active Scout Master, called upon the youth to build leadership skills and passion for community service, including Cub Scout- related activities.
Anwaar Khan, President, Muslims Association of Bolingbrook greeted everyone into the hall along with other volunteers. He stated that the first and foremost pillar of Islam is peace. He added that there are many more open houses in the pipeline aimed at enabling the neighbors and friends of all faiths to appreciate Islam in its true and total frame of reference.
“We are really no different from everyone else. We want to help our kids to become good American citizens,” said Aamer Abduljaleel of the Muslim Association of Bolingbrook. “Our kids attend the same schools and we go to the same doctors. By opening the doors to our friends and neighbors, we want to clear the misconceptions about our faith and work towards the common cause of providing a peaceful and caring environment”, he added.
A young woman, Muryum Quadri, gave a very touching message to all of the guests talking about the rights Islam gives to Muslim women, including rights of choosing who to marry, inheritance, and how Muslim women were part of the political process in the 7th Century, while women did not have the right to vote in the United States until the 20th Century.
Attendees provided positive feedback about their visit to the Mosque and many of them expressed the desire to come back again to interact with their Muslim neighbors. “I developed a good impression about Islam mainly because of a devout practicing Muslim who has been a client of mine for over 15 years. It is he who allowed our families to have a good understanding of what Islam truly is, not the image that is reflected through our flashing TV screens,” said Ken McConnaughhay of Bolingbrook.
“I had never been to a mosque before, and the Mosque Open House was a rare opportunity to learn more about what goes on here,” said Greg Krabbenhoft of Bolingbrook. “Our Muslim brothers really made us understand more about their religion and culture. The event was an eye-opening experience insofar as the positive image of Muslims is concerned”, he added.
“I have friends who are Muslims and it is cool to see that they are passionate about Peace, Progress, Mutual Coexistence, and American Values” said Krissy Krabenhoft, a young girl who attended the event. “Everybody’s so nice”, she added.
“The frustration of many a Muslim lies in their negative portrayal by the media. What KKK is to Christianity or Catholicism is what ISIS is to Islam,” opined one of the volunteers who was helping out at the event.
The guests were given ample amount of time at the end of the presentation to ask questions. Their questions which were related to Shariah Law, Jihad, Sunni and Shia Schools of Thought, Arranged Marriages, etc., were answered to their satisfaction by their hosts.
After the midday prayer, guests walked back into the hall to an amazing Mediterranean lunch buffet, comprisingof shawarma sandwiches, falafel, baklawa sweets, and traditional hot tea.
The next open house will be held on May 14th at Muslim Society, Inc. in Glendale Heights.
The Muslim Association of Bolingbrook offers a wide range of programs including a weekend school, youth and adult educational initiatives, a toastmasters club, arrangements for memorizing Holy Qur’an, outdoor and indoor sporting activities, etc.
The Bolingbrook Muslim community has experienced exponential growth with a mere 50 families in 1991 to a whopping more than 1000 families as on today. There are over 1.7 billion Muslims across the globe.
Ashfaq Hussain Syed, Chicago