PLANO - Some Muslims say they feel targeted since the election of Donald Trump, but Sunday the East Plano Islamic Center opened its doors, inviting anyone and everyone in to ask anything, and talk about Islam.
It turned into a conversation between different types of people, about politics, religion and race relations. Some said they wanted to simply show their respect for the Muslim community. Others had never been inside a mosque, and wanted to talk to Muslims living in North Texas one on one.
Among those who came, a Mormon family of seven who toured the new 3,200 square foot mosque that could soon double in size. Heidi and Chris Yates want their children to experience the mosque, and the Muslims who pray here.
"We just thought it was important to learn a little bit more," said Heidi Yates. "And to let our kids learn a little bit more about different religions. Because we have to live together peacefully, and with respect for one another."
"In this day and age of so much suspicion, of so much negativity, of so much resentment and prejudice," said another visitor, Pastor Matt Gaston of First United Methodist Church of Plano, "it is vitally important for me as a Christian witness to say these are my sisters and brothers, no matter what."
This is part of a national campaign by the Islamic Circle of North America to host open houses at mosques, raise awareness about Islam and promote racial equality. It's tied to these billboards seen across DFW.
Mosque Outreach Director Saiyad Ahmad feels this is productive, and may be the only way to combat misinformation about Muslims. "It helps to open things up. We just are here to reassure people that we have nothing to hide. We're here as American citizens."