Members of a mosque near the University of Central Oklahoma opened their doors to the community-at-large Sunday, hoping to meet their neighbors, educate non-Muslims about Islam and dispel myths about their faith tradition.

Visitors to the Islamic Society of Edmond’s mosque, 525 N University, listened to a presentation called “Islam 101” presented by the society’s Imam Qasim Mazhar.

Guests were invited to ask questions during a question-and-answer session, then were given an opportunity to tour the mosque and talk with Muslims who worship there.

Attendees asked questions such as how does ethnicity play a role in the way Muslims act and when was the Quran, the Islamic holy book, written.

One guest asked for information about Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims.

Another guest asked the Edmond Muslims how non-Muslims should view the significant ways that the version of Islam purported by the terrorist group ISIS differs from that of Muslims like those who attend the Edmond mosque.

Muslim leaders at Sunday’s open house answered the last question by saying they strongly condemn ISIS, whose followers have used Islam for their own agenda.

They said they consider ISIS members to be terrorists just like other terrorists who are not Muslim.

By 3:30 p.m., about 27 people had signed in as visitors at the mosque’s entrance and the come-and-go event, which began at 1 p.m., was set to conclude at 5 p.m.

Mazhar said he was pleased with the turnout for the “Building Bridges of Understanding” Open House, particularly since he and other leaders realized belatedly that attendance might be low because Sunday was Mother’s Day.

Dr. Bilal Piracha, a physician at Integris Baptist Hospital who attends the mosque, also was pleased with the turnout.

“It has been a big success because there is a positive response from the community. The people came to bridge the gaps and that’s exactly what we wanted. We want to get the people here to tell them who we are.”

Joe and Pat Froehle, of Edmond, said they were impressed with the imam’s presentation. “I came because I wanted to understand more about the religion,” Pat Froehle said, adding that she and her husband are Catholic.

Joe Froehle said he was surprised that Islam seemed closely associated with Christianity because of the way Abraham, Moses and Jesus are mentioned throughout the Quran.

Harry and Carol Woods, of Edmond, also visited the mosque.

The couple said they attend First United Methodist Church of Edmond, which is near the Islamic house of worship and they wanted to lend their support to the Muslim community.

“I felt like there’s a lot of misunderstanding and I felt it was important to support the Muslim community because I felt like they have been having a rough time lately,” Carol Woods said.

Glenn and Jenny Goldschlager, of Midwest City, said they decided to attend the open house because they had never been to a mosque, plus their son attends nearby UCO.

Jenny Goldschlager said she is Christian and her husband is Jewish.

The open house came a day before the Islamic Society of Edmond and the North American Islamic Trust Inc. planned to appear before the Edmond City Council for the second time, asking for a permit to build a new fellowship hall.

Sunday, Islamic Society members said it was a coincidence that the open house and the city council meeting were just a day apart.

Piracha, who is president of the Islamic Circle of North America-Oklahoma City, said members of the Edmond mosque plan to host more open house events, perhaps even quarterly, to build upon the momentum from Sunday’s event.