The Muslim Community Center is holding a public open house for all ages and denominations on Saturday, February 6 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1888 E Fort Union Blvd in Cottonwood Heights.
“It’s a chance to meet and get to know Muslims in your community,” Muslim Community Center member Maysa Kergaye said.
The open house will have food, henna, face painting, Arabic calligraphy, a Selfie Booth and an ongoing five-minute Powerpoint Presentation with Q&A Station.
“The Selfie Booth will have Islamic clothing for women and children to put on and take a picture with their own phone,” said Kergaye.
Kergaye will be there to teach how to wear the scarves and other clothing pieces.
“I want to break that fear,” she said. “Once they see their own picture wearing a scarf, they can realize we’re just people wearing a scarf. Sometimes you see someone wearing a scarf and they just look like a foreign person, a non-American. But no, we’re just Americans who choose to wear scarfs. When you see yourself in it, I think it breaks that barrier and it makes it more human.”
She hopes the open house will break down those barriers and prejudices.
“If you know a Muslim you don’t tend to have those prejudices,” Kergaye said. “When you hear something, you think, I know a Muslim and they aren’t like that. But when you don’t know anyone, you tend to believe everything you hear in the news. If don’t know any Muslims, and someone tells you something, you tend to assume it’s true of all Muslims.”
And it’s a great chance to visit a mosque, she said. “A lot of people have never been to one, and they are intimidated to just show up. Unlike Temple Square, no one is assigned to welcome visitors. It’s just luck of the draw whether someone there will be comfortable enough to walk up to you and say, ‘Hi, are you visiting? Do you have any questions?’”
“With the open house, there will be people there to answer questions, as well as a lot of other people like you who are also there just to learn and observe,” she said.
As visitors will be asked to remove shoes, she recommends wearing shoes that are easy to take on and off, as well as clean socks without holes.
The Muslim Community Center is one of twelve mosques in the Salt Lake Valley. It opened in June 2014 and has since hosted many programs, events and ongoing activities, such as potlucks, Sunday School, babysitting services, youth camps, yard sales and Friday prayers.
“Anybody is always welcome to come to any of our activities,” she said.
To learn more about the open house and future activities, visit www.facebook.com/mccutah.