The local Muslim community is still healing from a tragedy, after a person deliberately set fire to a mosque in Perrysburg Township.
Now the faithful are working to give the public a better understanding of the vital role they play in the community.
People of all backgrounds and faiths were invited to the Masjid Saad Foundation in Sylvania to learn more about the history of Muslims in the area.
"The first Muslims that were sizeable came with the slave trade in the 1700s, and the first Muslims came to Toledo in the early 1900s. This is one of the oldest Muslim communities in America," said Toledo-native Nura Sediqe.
The annual open house comes after a fire was set inside the Islamic center's prayer room on September 20, 2012.
Randy Linn, 52, of St. Joe, Indiana, pleaded guilty to setting the blaze. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, April 16.
Sediqe, an academic advisor at Harvard University, wants to educate the public about her faith and eliminate misconceptions, which she says may have lead to that fire.
"I think Randy Linn mentioned the news in his sources…being the reason he developed this biased view of the Muslim community. As we build relationships, we help to clear information and show people that we are all in this together, and that if one of us hurts us, all of us hurts," said Sediqe.
Carolyn Eyre, of the Multifaith Council of Northwest Ohio, said she is fascinated by Muslim teachings and culture.
"I'd like to see their curriculum, the methods of teaching, the size of their classrooms, and their values. I understand they teach Arabic too and I'm amazed that children learn English and Arabic," said Eyre.
The invitation to come and learn was accepted by many, including Joe Shay.
"I'd like to see what they believe. It's one thing studying it, and it's another thing seeing what they actually do," said Shay.
Dr. Ovamir Anjum, Chair of the Islamic Studies Department at the University of Toledo, also spoke at the event about the spread of Islam around the world.
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