TEHRAN (IQNA) — The North Austin Muslim Community Center on Wednesday launched Islam 101, a series of weekly classes to help share elements of Muslim culture with members of the Austin community.
In the year since the pullout from Afghanistan, Texas Refugee Services projects that more than 1,000 Afghans have resettled or will resettle in the Austin area.
As more Afghans acclimatize the Central Texas community, an Austin mosque is seeking to welcome them with open arms, while educating members of the public about Islam and Muslim culture.
On Wednesday, the North Austin Muslim Community Center launched Islam 101.
Islam Mossaad is the imam, or prayer leader of the mosque, at NAMCC and said the program aims to better connect Muslim and non-Muslim Austinites through a common understanding of Islamic culture.
Classes will take place from Wednesday to November 16 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They will cover the basics of religion, as well as misconceptions about religion, such as violence or the treatment of women.
“We want to demystify and also inform, and take it a step further and see the level of complexity of some of these issues,” Mossaad said. “You really want to have an engaged discussion. So when you come to the mosque, we want you to ask the hard questions.
In recent years, Mossaad said heightened polarizations have been reflected in actions targeting Austin’s Muslim population. Last fall, hate messages and a bloody pig’s head mask were left outside an Austin mosque on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
He said these feelings stem from a lack of understanding of Islam and its practitioners. These classes are not aimed at converting residents, but he said they hope they can come away with greater empathy and appreciation for members of the Muslim community.