Rashed Ferdous of Rochester is on a mission: Open the doors of the Rochester Islamic Center to encourage community dialogue about his faith.

In January, the 28-year-old IBM software engineer started organizing monthly open houses at the Islamic center.

He’s encouraged by the turnout at the open houses, which has ranged from 10 to 25 people a month. Questions from people generally touch on politics, terrorism and theology, he said.

“The ones that actually come here, they have already crossed a certain barrier, so they have opened their minds,” Ferdous said. “That by itself is a big step.”

The open houses, which are held at 11 a.m. the last Saturday of each month, are just a start. Ferdous said people can e-mail him at or call him at 253-6710 with questions about Islam or to arrange a tour of the Rochester Islamic Center if the Saturday open house times aren’t convenient.

“It’s not just a Saturday thing,” Ferdous said. “I’ve met people at Barnes & Noble at the mall.”

The Rochester Islamic Center, which is at 17 N. Broadway, is also willing to help high school or college students write papers about Islam, Ferdous said. At the same time, the center is also open to invitations to speak at churches, schools, colleges, or community organizations about Islam.

Here’s what Ferdous had to say in an interview this week at the Rochester Islamic Center’s library:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.