The doors are being opened to learn more about Islam.
On April 1, the Vernon Muslim Association will host Islam: The Great Debate in an attempt to foster awareness.
“We want everyone to be open and understanding of the Islamic faith,” said Muhammad William Saleh, who will lead the discussion.
“We want to draw people who have serious questions about the Islamic religion. People feel uncomfortable to ask questions and I want to open it up to them. With Islam, there is no shyness in asking questions.”
Saleh believes such a public meeting is needed given recent incidents across North America and around the world.
“I had planned to do this before Quebec (mosque killings) but once that happened, I decided to kick it into high gear,” he said.
It’s anticipated that questions will revolve around terrorist acts, often perpetrated in the name of Islam.
“It doesn’t reflect the religion itself,” said Saleh, adding that Islam promotes peace.
Other potential topics are the role of women in Islam and slavery.
Saleh is encouraging local residents to attend the session hopes it will dispel misconceptions.
”This event is aimed towards people who might hold questions in their heart, but have never had a forum to have those questions answered.”
The meeting is free but donations for the Vernon Interfaith Bridging Project are welcome.
“I see such a value to people coming together,” said Saleh of the project, which focuses on creating public awareness and understanding.
“I want to show a sign of respect for what they have done and respect for all faiths or even if you don’t have a faith.”
The April 1 event will take place at the Eagles Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.