Under the leadership of imam Muhammad N. Haq, the AIC is emphasizing cooperation with other faiths and involvement with the community.
“We are a part of this community. We want to be engaged in making this a better community,” said Abdul Ahad Kazi, president of AIC, announcing the center’s plans to open a free community medical clinic. The center is also involved with Interfaith Ministries of Calhoun County, and members are volunteering for Meals on Wheels.
The AIC moved into the old Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School building on McCall Drive two years ago.
The open house featured a tour of the facilities, from Sunday school classrooms to the gym to the mosque itself, the prayer room that is the heart of the building.
Visitors sat through the afternoon prayer service. Afterward, the imam gave a Powerpoint presentation on the tenets of Islam and answered questions.
The emphasis was on the commonalities between Jews, Christians and Muslims — the believers that the Muslim holy book calls “The People of the Book.”
There are an estimated 8 million to 10 million Muslims in America, about 100 to 150 Muslims in Anniston. “Muslims are as in love with this country as any other American,” Haq said. “This is home to my children.”
At the end of the evening, visitor Brad Mitchell of Anniston thanked the imam for having the open house. “What you’re doing, in opening up to Anniston and the community, is the right thing to do — to build bridges, to demystify Islam for us,” he said.
“We cannot do it without you,” replied the imam. “May God bless and guide all of us.”
Visitors are always welcome at the Anniston Islamic Center. For more information, call 256-238-8613.