Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh to host open house in Richland
Monday, February 10, 2020 | 12:01 AM
The Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh will welcome its neighbors to an open house and offer an opportunity to anyone who has ever had questions about Islam or what it means to be Muslim to get answers.
“Usually, people have a lot of questions, so we try our best to cover things that are most frequently asked,” said Mishaal Paniwala, outreach coordinator for MAP. “But for anyone who walks in the door and wants to understand or learn or get some clarification in terms of what is there and what they see on the news, we try to do that.”
The association is a nonpolitical organization to serve the religious, cultural and social needs of the Muslim community in the North Hills. This is the fourth year that it has hosted the open house at the Richland Township mosque. It sponsors another outreach event at the end of Ramadan, when it hosts an interfaith meal. Often, participants have many of the same questions or are surprised to learn the same things about some of the tenets of Islam.
For instance, Paniwala said, people often are unaware that the root of the faith comes from Abraham and that Muslims believe in Jesus and Moses as prophets. There is an entire chapter in the Quran on Mary, the mother of Jesus.
People frequently have questions about the rights of women.
“People feel that wearing the hijab and covering the head is a sign of oppression or that you’re being forced into it, and that’s another misconception,” Paniwala said. “That comes up everywhere, and it’s one thing we address a lot.”
The program will include a keynote speaker and small-group discussions with a question-and-answer session, and the conversation and opportunity to ask questions will continue with refreshments in the social hall.
Everyone is welcome, Paniwala said, and the association tries to have a diverse representation of the faith on hand because practice of Islam varies. The point of the open house is to give people from diverse backgrounds, faiths and cultures an opportunity to learn from one another and understand one another better.
“That’s what we’re trying to do, and I do hope we’re able to achieve that,” Paniwala said. “We can only try at the end of the day.”
The open house will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at 5725 N. Montour Road. Because of limited space, those who are interested in attending are asked to RSVP to either Sadaf Mansoor at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sidra Khan at email@example.com.