‘More Than Welcome Here’: Minnesota Muslims Open Mosques to Host Neighbors

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minnesota – Two local mosques in Minnesota opened their doors this weekend to welcome neighbors and answer their questions on Islam and Muslims, Grand Forks Herald reported.

“There are no right or wrong questions,” said Deka Ali, who works as a bilingual coordinator with East Grand Forks Public Schools and also helps out at Al-Huda.

“Whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim, you’re more than welcome here.”

The East Grand Forks Islamic Center on 1500 5th Avenue NE held a “tea and tour” event on Saturday at 2 pm.

The Al-Huda Islamic Center on 1401 Central Ave NW will host an open house from 1 to 5 pm Sunday.

“Whatever question that they want to ask, they are welcome,” said Ali Hassan, president of the East Grand Forks Islamic Center.

Al-Huda first opened its doors in November 2018, while the East Grand Forks Islamic Center began operations at the site of the erstwhile Liberty Lanes about five months ago.

Abdirisak Duale, the mosque’s president and chairman, and John Emery, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Islamic Resource Group, were both very excited to host their neighbors and answer their questions.

“They’re very excited to have an open house to share with the community,” said Emery, a convert to Islam.

“If [people] are coming in good faith, we know we can have a dialogue and find some common ground,” he added.

Visit My Mosque Day is held annually in a number of countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, Norway, and France.

In the UK, it first began in February 2015, with around 20 mosques taking part.

More mosques are expected to register for this year’s event, seeing growth from 200 mosques in 2018 and 150 mosques in 2017.

In Canada, the first-ever Visit My Mosque Day took place in October 2017.

Last October, some 100,000 non-Muslims visited more than 900 mosques across Germany.

During the event, imams in 900 German mosques gave presentations about the Islamic faith and culture and answered visitors’ questions.