CAIRO – Trying to show up different Islamic cultures, the Muslim community in the Canadian city of Winnipeg is opening their mosque on Sunday, May 26, to their neighbors to dispel myths about Islam.
"We really want to open the Muslim community up to the public," Louay Alghoul, a lawyer and member of the Manitoba Islamic Association executive, told Winnipeg Free Press."They can ask 'Who are you really? What do you do when you're not at the mosque? What country do you come from?' "
Trying to break barriers between different cultures, the Manitoba Islamic Association has invited the Canadian public to visit their mosque on Sunday.
The event will include sharing dishes and modeling costumes from diverse cultures, including different styles of women's headscarves from different parts of the world.
Alghoul, who has been living in Winnipeg since he was 17, said connecting with non-Muslim neighbors is at the heart of the event.
The event also aims at showing the difference between Islamic faith and culture prevailing in Muslim countries.
For example, women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive because of their culture, not because they're Muslim, said Alghoul
"It's our job to explain the difference," he said.
"We can't just say 'Oh well, people don't understand.'"
Manitoba is home of a Muslim community of nearly 12,000, which has doubled in the last decade.
Along with mixing cultures, the event aims at extending bridges between followers of different religions.
"I think it would be great for the whole community," university student Lubna Usmani said.
Usmani and her husband are making gulab jamun -- a kind of Pakistani Timbit soaked in syrup -- for the event.
The event will also showcase Muslim contributions to civilization such as advances in math and science, as well as some culinary creations.
Muslims make around 1.9 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country.
A survey has showed the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian.
Interfaith events usually help in correcting misconceptions about Muslims which resulted in a sharp increase in anti-Muslim views among Canadians.
A survey by the Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation in March 2012 found that more than half of Canadians distrust Muslims, the lowest level of trustworthiness of religious groups in the country.Another recent survey by the Canadian Studies (ACS) found that the Muslim minority in Canada is still facing negative perceptions a decade after the 9/11.
Related Links:Canada Muslims Plan Interfaith Dialogue
Most Canadians Distrust Muslims: Poll
Sisters Club Fights Canada Muslim Myths
Canadian Muslims Show Face for Citizenship
Canada Gets First Muslim Mayor