Saturday, February 27, 2016
Know Your Muslim Neighbor
Location: Canton Public Library, 1200 S Canton Center Rd, Canton, MI 48188
Time: 9 AM - 1 PM
In co-operation with:
Rochester Hills
Rochester Hills Public Library
Jan. 16, 2016
Canton Public Library
Feb. 27, 2016

Not in Our Town Event: Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbors

January 21, 2016

Learn about American Muslims in our community and their culture in an interactive program on February 27, 9:00 AM-
1:00 PM.

Drop in and try your hand at Arabic calligraphy, enjoy coffee and international delicacies, get a henna design, speak
one-on-one with Muslim members of our community and ask questions about Islam and its belief system.

This event is sponsored by the
Muslim American Society of Detroit, the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs, the
Canton Public Library and the Canton Response to Hate Crimes Coalition. It is part of an initiative entitled “Not In Our
Town: Stop Hate Together” a program for people and communities working together to stop hate, address school
bullying and build safe, inclusive environments for all.


Muslim event at library to promote understanding

Darrell Clem,
3:51 p.m. EST February 4, 2016

Canton-area Muslims, troubled by political rhetoric they say distorts their place in American society, are again
stepping up their efforts to build community relations, this time in a Canton Public Library setting.

Canton resident Saamih Bashir of the Muslim American Society’s Detroit chapter said Muslims are deeply rooted as
productive U.S. citizens striving not only to better themselves, but their country. Yet, he said the winds of intolerance
are strong.

“They’re being looked at like they are imported, like they are an invasive species,” Bashir said.

He and others hope to change some perceptions during a program, “Get To Know Your Muslim Neighbor,” 9 a.m. to
1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Canton Public Library. It’s billed as a Not in Our Town event, part of a national
movement to promote inclusive, safe communities.

Visitors can sample international delicacies, get a henna design, write in Arabic-style calligraphy and talk face-to-
face with Muslim residents.

“The library is a great venue for this event. Not only are we fulfilling our mission of Connecting Our Community, we
are providing a neutral common ground for all of our residents to meet and learn about our Muslim neighbors,”
library Director Eva Davis said.

She, along with Canton police Sgt. Dale Waltz, co-chairs the Canton Response To Hate Crimes Coalition, a diverse
group dedicated to promoting a peaceful, safe community and combating intolerance. The coalition is sponsoring
the latest event with the library, the Muslim American Society’s Detroit chapter and the Muslim Community of Western
Suburbs, based at the Canton Mosque.

“Amid growing tensions and cultural misunderstandings, the key to overcoming stereotypes is face-to-face
interaction,” Bashir said. “We want everyone to see a friendly Muslim face amid all of the hate rhetoric that’s going on

Among other topics, speakers will address misconceptions about the role of women in Islam and the hijab, a head
covering worn by Muslim women. The program also will explain the basic tenets of Islam and how Muslims view
other religions.

Davis said those who serve on the local hate crimes coalition have found that it is personal interactions that “are
most effective at breaking down preconceived biases and fears.”

Bashir agreed.

“We really believe that the solution is not to isolate ourselves but to reach out and for people to see that we’re normal
human beings, neighbors, teachers, parents,” he said, adding later that it’s important for Muslims to “stand up and
talk about ourselves” to increase understanding.

The Canton Mosque has hosted several events and welcomed visitors to the mosque for food and conversation.
Bashir said it’s also important to have events at neutral sites like the library, giving visitors a way to learn more about

“It breaks the ice between the Muslims and the community,” he said.

The library event is scheduled in the Community Room. The library is located at 1200 S. Canton Center. For more
information or for directions, go to

Twitter: @CantonObserver



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