The Miami Valley Islamic Association in the US state of Ohio is reaching out to share its culture with the Springfield community.
Islamic Day of Ohio is an annual state-wide effort inviting people of various faiths to get to know their Muslim neighbors.
The MVIA will celebrate its event, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 at Bayley Auditorium on the Wittenberg University campus. The event is free and the public is invited.
It will include refreshments, prayers, a keynote speaker and a guest of honor, Todd Green, author of three books on Islamaphobia who will present a program on the subject.
Islamic Day of Ohio has been recognized by the state to be marked every second Saturday in October for the past 31 years, but hasn’t been done locally since 1997.
Events including the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have occurred since, leading to a lot of misinformation about Muslims as a whole. Recent interfaith collaborations, including the 2017 CBS News special “Beyond Tolerance”, the MVIA has been involved in have helped build inroads into understanding of their culture.
Dr. Akber Mohammed led the last local event and had been thinking for the last two or three years of reviving it. The time seemed right in 2018.
“This is an open invitation to people of all faiths, from synagogues and churches, to hear our presentation,” said Mohammed, who will also do the program introduction.
Imam Mustafaa Islam of Masjid An-Nur Mosque will be the keynote speaker and Imam Yunus Lasania of Masjid Al-Madina Mosque will give a Quran recitation.
Mohammed and Samina Ahmed, who will be the closing speaker, previously heard Green speak at Wittenberg and were impressed. They immediately thought of him to speak at their event.
“People don’t realize Islamaphobia is a reality and this is an expert to back it up,” Mohammed said. “People should know we have good values and this will show the true faith of Islam.”
The program will also include an awards presentation. The MVIA asked for nominations for a member of the police department, sheriff’s department and a Springfield Regional Medical Center nurse to be recognized.
Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland will present the awards, which will reflect people dedicated to helping the Springfield community, according to Ahmed.
The intention is for this to become a local annual event to continue interfaith good will.
“We want to build bridges, for non-Muslims to get to know one or all of us in the community,” said Ahmed.