Jorge Rodas OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Muslims in Oshkosh and in 79 other places across the country this weekend extended a hand to their communities to take away misconceptions or fears about Islam. They've dubbed the event, 'Meet A Muslim'.
Muslims in local communities say it's their responsibility to take on the challenge of educating a fearful society.
While standing in the cold and waving at traffic, four members of Oshkosh's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community set up on the corner of Algoma Boulevard, Main Street, and Washington Avenue hoping to interact with anyone walking by. Their mission was to teach the true meaning of Islam to anyone who asked.
"It's being misrepresented by a few extremist, and we label them as extremist because that's what they do - they do extremist things like terrorism,” says Ahmed Khan of the Ahmadiyya Community Men's Youth Auxiliary in Oshkosh.
The four men made up one of four groups in different parts of the city doing the same thing. They held signs that said ‘Meet A Muslim’.
"We're trying to change the perspective of how people face Islam, but I think that interfaith dialogue is always a good thing regardless of whatever situation or [the] climate is in this country,” said Haris Ahmed.
Charity Brand and Kristen Bauer stopped to chat with the men.
"We need to fight even harder to come together and understand each other and work through our fears of people we don't understand,” Brand said.
"There's so much fear and hatred and there is no place for it in the world,” said Bauer.
The conversations weren't always easy, but the group said they welcome all questions. They see that as a perfect opportunity to educate.
"It is a challenge, yes, but the effort alone is worthwhile because the product or the result you get for it is much more than what we would get if we don't do anything at all,” said Khan.