"This is not about a religious debate, nor about a religion conversion, it's about mutual understanding."
That's what Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations said about Open Mosque day.
The Islamic Center of Redlands is celebrating the day Sunday afternoon.
Open Mosque is a day dedicated to opening mosques around Southern California to community members who are not familiar with Muslims or Islam to learn about the culture and the religion. The main focus is to dispel misconceptions about Islam, Ayloush said.
The event is organized by the Southern California Islamic Shura Council, an organization that serves as an umbrella to many Southern California Islamic centers.
Mohammad Hossain, director and founder of the Islamic Center of Redlands, said this is an opportunity for many people from Redlands and the surrounding community to ask questions about Islam.
"Many people don't know about Islam," he said. "It's kind of a visual orientation to non-Muslims, so they can get an idea about the Muslims."
For years, CAIR encouraged the Muslim community to open up their doors to allow non-Muslims a chance to get answers about Islam, Ayloush said.
"Islam is misunderstood by a large segment of the American population, and as Americans, we owe it to our neighbors to do our part in promoting activities that will create dialogue, promote understanding and encourage friendship in our own communities," he said. "And this is why an open mosque is a step in that direction.
The day became critical after 9/11, Ayloush said.