The Islamic Council of Oklahoma will sponsor the Spring 2018 statewide Open Mosque Day on April 8.

Six mosques in the state will open their doors for casual gatherings designed to help non-Muslims get to know their Muslim neighbors better.

Islam and Muslims are in the news almost every day, yet many Americans never have a chance to ask a local Muslim what they think about that, said Sheryl Siddiqui, spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, a statewide coalition of mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim organizations.

Siddiqui said mosques have hosted open houses for years, but Open Mosque Day is different in that it is a regional or statewide coordinated effort to reach people who might have been misinformed about Islam.

This is not about converting people — it is about understanding neighbors and co-workers, Siddiqui said.

Regional open mosque days started in Southern California and other states have picked up the tradition.

Participating Oklahoma mosques include the Islamic Society of Edmond, Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, Islamic Society of Stillwater, Islamic Society of Tulsa, Islamic Society of Norman and Masjid Mu’min in northeast Oklahoma City.

“Over the years, we’ve had great response statewide and every mosque loves to do this,” Siddiqui said.

“We understand that people are concerned. The people who usually come are people who know a Muslim. We are hoping that the people who are the most concerned will come and ask their questions. And there are some people who are just curious about what happens at a mosque.”

Siddiqui said Imad Enchassi, senior imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, will give a presentation on the “Misconceptions of Islam” during the organization’s open house event.

At the Islamic Society of Tulsa’s mosque, activities will include a Kids Ethnic Fashion Show and a panel discussion.

“We have more than 20 kids that are going to dress up for the fashion show. We also have a panel where we will talk about government, men’s and women’s roles and food,” Siddiqui said.

Visitors are encouraged to follow the following mosque etiquette:

• Visitors should be prepared to remove their shoes before entering prayer spaces.

• Women should cover hair and wear long sleeves and long pants or a long skirt inside the building.

• Visitors should stand off to the side of the hall during prayers. Do not stand in front of people during prayer services.

• Enjoy the food.

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