Organizers encouraged by 'Meet your Muslim Neighbor' event

(WAFF) - Dozens of people came to the Huntsville Islamic Center for its "Meet Your Muslim Neighbor" event Saturday. Aladin Beshir, who is the Community Outreach Director for the center said the idea is to break down fears through understanding.

Beshir said the fear of the unknown can help breed hate, and that's why the Islamic Center invited anyone of any faith to learn more about their Muslim neighbors.

"It's very hard to hate from close up. It's good to know one another. We have a lot more in common than differences. We all have the same dreams, the same aspiration. Our enemies will try to play us against one another. And that's not going to work. Not in America," Beshir said. " We really are thankful to God and the community."

Mitchell Williams is Senior Pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville. He said getting to know someone and talking about differences between people of different faiths can open up an understanding of how much they are
the same.

"It's very important we learn to understand one another. Because what we hear on the media and other things like that is just to make us mad at one another or emphasize our differences," Williams said.

"As people of God, we're obligated to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, in our Christian tradition. And that means, at the very least, learning about them. Learning what they care about, what matters to them. "

People with the Islamic Center said they were heartened by the enthusiastic turnout, and they plan to hold the "Meet Your Muslim event" at least once a year.

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