(This article by Azzura Lalani was originally featured on the LFPress here)
Members of London, Ontario’s Muslim community joined together outside Victoria Park Saturday for the first Meet a Muslim event.
“I decided to hold this event to help educate the community, reaching out to the community by educating them and spreading awareness to stop Islamophobia,” said organizer Tamara Elsayed, 28.
Sparked by the recent incidents of Islamophobia in London and Donald Trump’s comments about banning Muslims from entering the United States, Elsayed encouraged Londoners to ask any questions they had about Islam.
More than 100 people came by, said Elsayed, with more than 50 taking the time to chat with the Muslim women who offered brownies, cookies and free bottled water.
“We saw this and decided to stop by, had some treats, learned a little bit. It was good, win-win,” said Marlon Brown, who stopped by after brunch downtown with his friends.
“Groups and groups of people were coming to speak with us to thank us,” said Elsayed, “I even had a police officer pull up and come to thank us because he thought it was fantastic.”
Some of the questions people asked were whether Muslims believe in Jesus (they do), what jihad is and what does Allah mean in English (it means God).
After the event, Elsayed posted the following on Facebook:
“Today’s Meet A Muslim Day was more successful than we thought. Many Londoners we appreciative and supportive of our event. We received plenty of positive feedback. A police officer even stopped his vehicle, came out of the car and sincerely thanked us for what we were doing. His response to the event was that our purpose really got to him emotionally and that he appreciated our dedication to end Islamophobia.
Of course we also received dirty looks and laughs but they were very small in number, then long came a man and decided to verbally attack us and insult the prophet in the worse way possible. I will not repeat those insults because they are insults to make your blood boil.
With that being said I would like to thank my volunteers who came out and sacrificed their time for the sake of Allah, the event was so successful that we had to extend the time from 2-6 to 2-8:30 pm. May Allah reward you for your time, sacrifice and struggle.”
Elsayed said she plans to host the same event either later this month or in early September.
Below are some pictures from the event: