By Isabelle Cueto The State of Columbia
Mayor Hardy King of Irmo, S.C., came under fire just a few months ago for anti-Islam Facebook posts. Back then, he stood by his posts but said he didn’t know much about Islam.
That was when Chaudhry Sadiq reached out to Mr. King, inviting him to an end-of-Ramadan celebration at a Columbia, S.C., mosque, Masjid Noor Ul Huda, where Mr. Sadiq is president. While there, Sadiq said he pitched the idea of hosting a “demystifying Islam” event, and King agreed.
“It was mutual. It was mutually benefiting, it was mutually rewarding,” Sadiq said in a phone interview.
The event, “Demystifying Islam: Understanding Your Muslim Neighbors,” will fill part of the Irmo Town Hall with a library of resources on Aug. 30 for locals to learn about Muslim traditions. Books such as the Quran and other literature on the contributions of Muslims to society will be on display, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session.
“I hope that people that come will come with the open heart and open mind to understand,” King said. “I hope they’ll go, ‘Oh, OK, I didn’t know that,’ because I didn’t know that.”
Sadiq is president of the Peace and Integration Council of North America, which is a young national interfaith organization based in Columbia. He said what started as a sour situation that drew much attention and backlash was, in his eyes, a great opportunity.
“God has mysterious ways of bringing people together,” Sadiq said.