On Sunday, Oct. 29, the Islamic Center of Southern California opened it’s doors for our annual Open Mosque Day Festival. Energy was buzzing hours before guests began arriving as volunteers and organizers met early Sunday morning to discuss the setup and day’s plans. This year, the ICSC Interfaith Council decided to take a somewhat new approach on this well-known event – adding in new fun and educational activities for everyone.
In the main lobby, a registration table was set-up for guests to sign-in. Throughout the day, volunteers greeted visitors with a smile before leading them on guided tours of our Center. Many of our guests were new – some had never met Muslims or stepped inside of a mosque before. These tours gave visitors an opportunity to learn about the history of the ICSC along with our programs and services.
While tours were going on, some visitors chose to sit-in on Storytelling in the Lecture Hall. During these short sessions, Religious Director, Asim Buoksoy, emceed a presentation of personal stories shared by community members about the mosque and its impact on each person. The stories ranged from funny and insightful anecdotes from elders, to origin stories from converts, to coming of age stories of our youth. This part of the day offered an inspiring, humanizing element – giving people the chance to connect on basic principles that relate across faith lines.
Outside, the energy was high. Nasheeds played over the speaker system while vendors and volunteers helped bring interactive activities to life – henna, face painting, Arabic calligraphy, free trees, voter registration, and more! Kids lined up to jump on the bungee trampoline and came together for a game of pickup basketball while parents shopped for Arabic art, clothing/accessories, and shopped at our ICSC Thrift Store. The MYG also came out to support Open Mosque Day by volunteering at the registration table and one of our members even helped create free henna tattoos for everyone!
The day was fun and educational for all. Our interfaith community expressed gratitude for our hospitality and for the opportunity to join us in our spiritual home. Thank you to all of our volunteers and organizers who made the day possible. We look forward to hosting more enriching events like this in the future.
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