SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 – THE Muslim Story and A strategy for Coping – Part Two

Nov 5, 2001

OPEN-HOUSE PROGRAMME GUIDELINES

With regard to the mosque Open House, Muslims must let their attitude, conduct and speech reflect these Islamic qualities to the fullest extent.

From Wudu to salah to hajj, Islam is a Deen based on carefully choreographed programs. It is, therefore, important for Muslims to keep in mind the following principles good programming:

1. Keep all speeches and comments brief, low key, non-threatening and non-confrontational.

2. At all times, avoid being combative, argumentative.

3. Avoid hyperbole. Exaggerations generally weaken your case. They reduce your credibility.

4. Only say what you know to be true. Otherwise, stay quiet and let it go.

If you are asked a question to which you do not know the answer, openly and clearly say so. But at the same time, offer to find out the answer for the person who asked the question.

Make sure you know how to contact that person once you have the answer.

5. Do not attack or insult the beliefs, behaviour, values or practices of your non-Muslim guests.

6. Stress commonalities of belief and behaviour between Islam and other faiths such as Christianity and Judaism. For, that is the way of Allah in the Qur’an.

For example, belief in God; personal and social responsibility; accountability for one’s decisions and actions; and family values.

7. Stress shared concerns. For example, future of children, education, growing violence, crime, hope and economic opportunities for the future.

Point out that security of person and property is a common concern of both Muslims and non-Muslims.

8. Use simple, non-technical language when presenting Islamic teachings and beliefs.

9. Focus on ideas and concepts rather than on heavy Arabic terminology.

10. Focus on the main points and avoid getting bogged down in details and fine points.

11. Do not argue. Make your point in a clear, concise, simple and gentle manner and move on.

12. In general, limit questions and comments to non-Muslim guests. If you have Muslims making comments, make sure they are brief.

13. Keep your own answers to questions brief, simple and to the point.

14. Speak softly, clearly and respectfully at all times.

15. Scrupulously observe punctuality.

A SUGGESTED PROGRAMME OUTLINE*

Welcome speech 5 minutes

Guided tour of mosque and premises                      10 minutes

Presentation on Islam & Muslims  15 minutes

Questions & Answers by non-Muslim guests         20 minutes

Refreshments & informal time 15 minutes

The entire program should not take more than two hours.

* I am indebted to Tanweerul Haq of the Islamic Centre of Central New York, Syracuse, for this section.

 

CONCLUSION

An Open House of this kind is something the Muslims must do at all times and in all places.

Given the troubled times in which we live today, it has become all the more important.

Prejudice is a common human phenomenon. North America is no exception to this general rule. Given all that has happened in the recent past, Muslims have become the main target of prejudice in North America.

One way to deal with this pervasive anti-Muslim prejudice in the society is to hold an Open House for the local mosque. If non-Muslims understand what Islam is, they would also understand who the Muslims are.

This will bring the communities together and build peace in society – and in the world.

For, Allah is peace – As-Salam.

And so is Islam – a message of peace.

And so must a Muslim be – a person of peace.

END

© 2001 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com

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