Muslims urged to dispel misconceptions

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2002

ATLANTA (AP) -- Muslims from across the Southeast are being urged to visit churches and synagogues, and hold open houses at mosques to try to dispel misconceptions about Islam, especially after Sept. 11.

''Take advantage of any opportunity to let people have firsthand experience with Islam and Muslims,'' Souheil Ghannouchi, president of the Muslim American Society, said Dec. 28 at the three-day ''Living Islam in America'' convention.

The meeting was sponsored by the Southeast region of the Islamic Circle of North America. The group is made up largely of Muslims living in Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas and Tennessee.

The region's president, Manzoor A. Khalid of Gwinnett County in suburban Atlanta, said many of the estimated 60,000 Muslims living in Georgia have been subjected to harassing telephone calls or comments. Khalid, a U.S. citizen who came to this country from Pakistan in 1973, said some friends looked at him differently after Sept. 11.

Ghannouchi agreed that Muslims should venture outside mosques and community centers to involve themselves in the larger society.

''I think the isolation has lasted much longer than it needs to,'' he said.

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