Less than a year after opening a , the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) is continuing various outreach efforts and planning a new monthly series called "Many Cultures, One Community."
The new monthly program will begin April 17 with a screening of the documentary Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, followed by an informal discussion. Dinner will also be available for $5.
Rania Hussein, a MAPS member who is helping to organize the new program, says the series is intended to be a way for neighbors from various faiths and backgrounds to share their stories and interact in a positive manner.
"We really need to talk to get to know each other in an effort to promote diversity and tolerance of different backgrounds," she said.
The new program is just one example of how MAPS, a nonprofit organization with hundreds of members, reaches out to the local community, Hussein said. Members of the mosque are also invited to speak about their faith at local schools and churches and welcome people from other backgrounds on a regular basis.
The idea for Many Cultures, One Community came up after MAPS held a successful outreach event tied to Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, and the MAPS community decided the volume of interest warranted a more regular educational program.
Although misconceptions about Islam are often the "elephant in the room" during such discussions, Hussein said upcoming topics for Many Cultures, One Community will vary and focus on general issues, such as parenting, finances, and living a healthy lifestyle.
"We try to find topics that everybody is interested to know about," she said.
But organizers also want attendees to feel comfortable asking any questions they might have about Islam, Hussein said, noting that people of all faiths have much to learn from one another.
"The only way to promote the positives of the community is to talk," she said.
The first Many Cultures, One Community event takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the MAPS center, 17550 NE 67th Court in Redmond. Click here for more information or to register.