Steps Necessary to Hold a Mosque Open House
1. PREPARE the members of your local community by explaining the necessity of building a positive image of the mosque in the surrounding area. Let them know that experience of other communities has shown that a positive neighborhood image offers many benefits. Ask for input concerning the details of when and at what time the open house should be held. There are no hard and fast rules for such things.
2. INVITE local community leaders, clergy, law enforcement officials, activists, and government officials. Remember to invite the mayor, congressional representatives, the chief of police and members of the city council. These people should all receive written invitations. Follow up with a personal phone call. Letters are not enough.
3. PUBLICIZE the event by sending a well-written news release (see sample) to the local media. You may also place paid advertisements in the local newspaper. Send the news release to the religion calendar editor, the city editor and the feature editor at the newspaper. Send a release to the assignment editor at the local television stations. Also send copies to news directors at the local radio stations. Send announcements to local churches.
4. INFORM your guests of mosque etiquette before they arrive (see “Welcome to Our Mosque” brochure). This will make them feel at ease and avoid embarrassment. Be ready to answer questions about prayer, separation of men and women and other common issues.
5. CLEAN the mosque. The first impression is one that will last. Make sure bathrooms are spotless. Have a mosque clean up day prior to the open house.
6. SET UP a reception area where guests can be received, told about mosque etiquette and served refreshments. Have greeters at the door to direct arriving guests. Have knowledgeable people conduct tours of the facility. Do not leave guests alone to wander about the mosque. Give each guest a name tag. Make sure sisters are available to make female guests feel welcome.
7. SELECT literature to be given to the guests. Do not push materials on guests. Let them select what they wish to read.
8. POST signs at appropriate locations in the facility.
9. PRAY that your efforts will open the hearts of your guests.