It was a chance for Saskatoon residents to get to know their neighbours during Islam awareness day.
The event was held inside the gymnasium of Saskatoon police headquarters where visitors dropped by throughout the afternoon.
Zakariya Sidyot, one of the youngest event organizers at just the age of 13, showed individuals the garments men wear and couldn’t stress enough how important it is to engage with the rest of the community.
“Canada is multicultural and we are supposed to know everyone’s traditions and their cultures so this is why we have an open house so everyone will be aware of what Islam is and how many cultures Islam represents.”
Attendees could taste traditional foods and ask questions openly, like if women are forced to wear a hijab that covers their head and chest?
“There’s a lot of girls out there that don’t wear the hijab and that doesn’t make them any less than me they could be doing a lot of other things that make them a lot more religious than I am,” said Nisa Bano, who demonstrated how to put one on.
For the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, it was an opportunity to dispel other myths and misconceptions about their faith and culture.
“We’re hoping that when people meet us face to face and meet the true Muslims – that we’re not the terrorist that you hear about,” Hanen El Bardouh, with the association, said.
With Tuesday’s deadly terror attack in New York on the minds of many, there was a bit of a shadow hanging over the special event.
El Bardouh said she lost sleep after learning eight people had died and 11 others were injured in the worst attack in that city since 9/11.
Organizers were quick to send their condolences and condemn the man behind the attack, identified as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov who moved from Uzbekistan in 2010.
Peter Hedley, from the University of Saskatchewan, attended the event and said it was incredibly important for people to come together at a time like this and unify collectively in voicing outrage against terror attacks of any kind.
“I would often compare it to a room with the lights shut off – of course it’s scary you don’t know what’s there but the more you learn, the more you understand about different people the lights come up a little bit more and a little more and then you realize you’re just standing with other people.”