City of Brookfield — The only mosque in Waukesha County will celebrate its second birthday this Saturday, Jan. 21 with an open house for the community.
Masjid Al-Noor will welcome guests from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. with the goal of continuing to establish good relations with the surrounding community and to answer questions people may have about Islam.
The mosque opened at 16670 Pheasant Drive in 2015 after an approval process that saw some opposition from local residents. Prior to the opening, Muslims in the area had previously met for prayer services in a number of temporary locations, including Elmbrook Memorial Hospital, a rented space in Waukesha and the Education Center at Waukesha Memorial Hospital.
In the time since the Islamic Society of Milwaukee achieved its dream of Masjid Al-Noor, the congregation has made openness and education for its community two of its highest priorities.
“We just want to be open to the community. We’ve had tremendous feedback and interest in visitations from schools, churches and community groups,” Masjid Al-Noor spokesperson Dr. Mushir Hassan said. “The more that we can share how similar we are, the more that we can work together on how to make the community better together.”
The open house will be informal, with guests being offered tours, being able to look at display boards and having the opportunity to observe the daily prayers.
Hassan and other members of Masjid Al-Noor have not been living under a rock for the last two years. They are well aware of some of the comments made by President-elect Donald Trump regarding members of their religion.
“Obviously with the current election cycle and such, we want to make sure that if folks have questions, we can help answer them,” Hassan said. “I think there’s obviously concern given the rhetoric that (Trump) has had about Muslims, but I think that we’ve also been encouraged by a number of our interfaith partners.”
Masjid Al-Noor has worked continuously since its opening as part of the Brookfield-Elm Grove Interfaith Network (BEGIN), a collective of faith-based communities in the area that share ideas and promote cooperation between different religions.
“The key issue is giving people an opportunity to know each other,” Hassan said.
In the days following the presidential election in November, Hassan noted that some children at the mosque had reported being victims of bullying related to their faith; however, he says that situation seems to have improved.
“I think the schools have done a nice job of being able to convey their emphasis on a learning environment that’s open to all,” Hassan said. “There’s going to be, unfortunately, some remarks that are going to be made, but I think it’s lessened.”