Kristin Lam USA TODAY
Muslims across the country will open their mosques to neighbors of all backgrounds Saturday, inviting people for conversations and a meal.
During a time where attacks on places of worship are trending, Ahmadiyya Muslims are hoping to build understanding and connections through the community events, said Harris Zafar, spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.
The Open Mosque Day will be staged in about 40 locations across 25 states, featuring question-and-answer sessions as well as traditions of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month.
Who are Ahmadiyya Muslims?
Living in 207 countries, Ahmadiyya Muslims practice a denomination of Islam founded by an Indian Iman, the late Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA was established nearly a century ago.
“As part of the fabric of America since 1920, we want our fellow Americans to know that our mosques are their mosques, which is why we are hosting these Open Mosque events around the country to invite our fellow Americans to break bread with us and learn about their Muslims neighbors,” said Amjad Mahmood Khan, national director of public affairs for the organization.
There are 70 Ahmadiyya Muslim mosques across the country, Zafar said.
Why host the Open Mosque Day?
The goal is to build bridges, break barriers and get to know one another face-to-face, Zafar said, particularly with a recent rise in Islamophobia.
“Hatred usually finds its breeding ground in distance and in a lack of interaction,” he said. “We are vigilant about security, but we feel the best way to protect ourselves is to open our mosques. That’s why we would like to invite all Americans of any persuasion to join us this Saturday for an open and honest conversation and a delicious meal.”
What are the activities?
Beginning an hour before local sunset, Zafar said mosque leaders will welcome guests with a tour and Q&A session. A reading from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, will follow, first in Arabic then translated in English. A short presentation will also be given.
At sunset, Ahmadiyya Muslims will break their fast, called Iftar, with a snack that guests can also enjoy. A congregational or evening prayer will also take place, Zafar said.
Everyone will then gather for a complimentary meal that will vary by location. Some will host potlucks while others will order catering or prepare food at the mosque.
About a quarter of participating chapters will invite religious leaders from other communities to speak, such as a rabbi or priest.
Where are the events?
Here are some of the mosques participating in the event. Some require an RSVP, so check with your local mosque. A full list of the participating mosques will be added to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA website.
Chino: Baitul Hameed Mosque, 11941 Ramona Ave.
Milpitas: Baitul Baseer Mosque, 926 Evans Rd.
Meriden: Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque, 410 Main St.
Hallandale Beach: Baitul Naseer Mosque, 208 NW 7th Ct.
Norcross: Masjid Bait ul Ata, 1800 Willow Trail Pkwy.
Glen Ellyn: Baitul Jamey Mosque, 2S510 IL Rt 53.
Zion: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Zion, 2103 Gabriel Ave.
Kenner: Ahmadiyya Muslim community Center, 2113 38th St.
Silver Spring: Bait-ul-Rehman Mosque, 15000 Good Hope Rd.
Fitchburg: Bait ul Zikr, 370 Main St.
Rochester Hills: Masjid Mahmood (Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center), 1730 W. Auburn Rd.
Las Vegas: Bait ul Tawheed, 6574 West Cheyenne Ave.
Old Bridge: Baitul Hadi Mosque, 27 South St.
Willingboro: Al-Nasr Mosque, 500 Bridge St.
Amityville: Bait Ul Huda: 64 Union Ave.
Bronx: Bronx Mosque, 1477 West 8th St.
Brooklyn: Baitul Tahir, 1477 West 8th St.
Rochester: Baitun Naseer Mosque, 1609 E. Main St.
Bedford: Baitul Ahad Mosque, 297 Center Rd.
Dayton: Dayton Mosque, 637 Randolph St.
Portland: Portland Rizwan Mosque, 9925 SW 35th Dr.
Allentown: Baitul Ata Mosque, 2860 S. Pike Ave.
Philadelphia: Bait-ul-Aafiyat, 1215 Glenwood Ave.
Round Rock: Baitul-Muqeet Mosque, 800 Deep Wood Dr.
Allen: Baitul Ikram Mosque, 1850 Hedgcoxe Rd.
Fort Worth: Bait ul Qayyum Mosque: 2801 Miller Ave.
Chantilly: Mubarak Mosque, 4555 Ahmadiyya Dr.
Manassas: Masroor Mosque, 5640 Hoadly Rd.
Monroe: Bait-ul-Ehsaan Mosque, 23515 Old Owen Rd.
American Fazl Mosque: 2141 Leroy Place NW.
Milwaukee: Baitul Qadir Mosque, 5600 W. Fond Du Lac Ave.
Oshkosh: Qamar Mosque, 300 N Eagle St.
Published 10:56 PM EDT May 16, 2019