SHAFAQNA – Members of London’s Muslim community joined together outside Victoria Park Saturday for the first Meet a Muslim event.
“I decided to hold this event to help educate the community, reaching out to the community by educating them and spreading awareness to stop Islamophobia,” said organizer Tamara Elsayed, 28.
Sparked by the recent incidents of Islamophobia in London and Donald Trump’s comments about banning Muslims from entering the United States, Elsayed encouraged Londoners to ask any questions they had about Islam.
More than 100 people came by, said Elsayed, with more than 50 taking the time to chat with the Muslim women who offered brownies, cookies and free bottled water.
“We saw this and decided to stop by, had some treats, learned a little bit. It was good, win-win,” said Marlon Brown, who stopped by after brunch downtown with his friends.
“Groups and groups of people were coming to speak with us to thank us,” said Elsayed, “I even had a police officer pull up and come to thank us because he thought it was fantastic.”
Some of the questions people asked were whether Muslims believe in Jesus (they do), what jihad is and what does Allah mean in English (it means God).
Though the event was a success, said Elsayed, it was marred by one unfortunate incident of Islamophobia when a man walked by them yelling profanities.
“He told us to go back where we came from,” said Elsayed, who was born in Windsor. “He used a lot of offensive language that I couldn’t even repeat.”
Though people privately expressed their disgust to Elsayed about the incident, no one spoke up and stood up for her, she noted.
“It would have been nice for someone to speak up,” she said, adding “everybody else was absolutely supportive.”
Elsayed said she plans to host the same event either later this month or in early September.