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Youngstown mosque opens doors to open people’s minds

Published: Mon, October 14, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.


Zainab Rehman, 4, of Boardman, is excited as her mother puts on the scarf she purchased for her at an open house at the Masjid Al-Khair mosque in Youngstown on Sunday. The open house was the mosque’s fifth and showcased a variety of ethnic foods, customs and information on Islam.

By Sean Barron



Azka Malik doesn’t do embroidery, but you might be hard-pressed to tell, given the colorful assortment of handicrafts from Pakistan surrounding her.

“My mother used to embroider a lot,” said Malik, public-relations officer with the Masjid Al-Khair mosque, site of Sunday’s fifth annual open house.

The four-hour gathering at the mosque, 1670 Homewood Ave. on the South Side, showcased a variety of ethnic foods, customs and information on Islam, a religion many feel is still largely misunderstood and maligned.

The event also brought together people of all faiths to better educate them about the Muslim faith, noted Naim Rasul, a mosque member.

The Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown hosted the festivities.

Malik, who came to the area 22 years ago from her native Pakistan, had for sale numerous hand-crafted shawls, scarves and other items, the proceeds from which are to benefit the mosque. Assisting Malik was her 18-year-old daughter, Amina Malik, a Youngstown State University student.

Similarly, Montaha Hamdan of Boardman had a large assortment of silk and wool hajabs (head and shoulder scarves) she sold for $5 to $15, along with decorative and traditional dresses, all of which are commonly worn in weddings.

“When you cover your hair, you need something pretty on top of it,” explained Hamdan, a first-grade teacher at the Islamic Academy of Youngstown and a Sunday school teacher at the mosque.

Hamdan said she was pleased to see visitors of many religious faiths and nationalities at the open house.

Many attendees also were pleased to partake of the multitude of ethnic meals that included bhel puri choat (an Indian dish consisting of crispy tortillas with chick peas, potatoes and yogurt), chicken biryani (yellow rice and chicken), samosas (triangular fried egg rolls filled with meat or potatoes) and couscous (a Libyan staple that includes vegetables and meats). Also on hand were several containers of tebuleh made from ground parsley, bulgur and tomatoes combined with lemon juice.

Those with a bit of a sweet tooth or less of an appetite probably sought desserts and other lighter fare such as grape leaves, egg rolls, chicken wings, kibeh (small oval grounded-wheat foods stuffed with beef and fried in oil), hummus, spinach pies and goraibeh (light-colored S-shaped pastries).

Other merchandise included cotton hand-embroidered shawls, mail pouches and cushion covers from Pakistan, as well as ceramic bowls and a set of small coffee cups from Turkey.

On another table was a series of books, pamphlets and DVDs on Mecca and Medina, the prophet Muhammad, the hajj (the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that’s also the world’s largest annual Muslim gathering) and other aspects of Islam.

Performing free blood-pressure and glucose screenings was Dr. Afreen Moonda of Canfield, who works for Trinity Health System in Steubenville.

The mosque’s Rasul said he thinks a greater number of people better understand that extremists were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that the 19 terrorists distort instead of represent true Islam.

“We don’t believe in violence at all,” he added.

In addition to the Muslim faith, extremism runs through Christianity and other mainstream religions that condemn violence and fanaticism, noted fellow mosque member Wally Atway.


1southsidedave(5117 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

peace on Earth to all people

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2rickking123(320 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

People usually resort to name calling when their arguments are less than convincing so they feel compelled to show their ignorance.

They also should pull the timber out of their own eye before they point out the spec in someone else's.

Hitler may have been raised Catholic but to say that he was Catholic is disingenuous and misleading.

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3rickking123(320 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Once again you resort to name calling in a meager attempt to prove your points?

"Deeply held Christian brainwashing"??

You say that his Catholic beliefs motivated him to implement the Holocaust yet you provide no direct examples to prove your point. What specific Catholic beliefs can you point to?

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4rickking123(320 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

That's a Catholic belief?

You obviously can't prove your statement.

All the while hurling insults and hiding behind a phony name. You have a pretty good history of name calling based on the contents of your previous comments.

Engage me in an honest intellectual discussion. Hurling insults instead of facts proves that you come up short on that ability.

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5rickking123(320 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Once again more attempted insults yet you don't even know the difference between Catholic and Christian beliefs.

You routinely used the two interchangeably yet they are not the same.

And you're calling me a nimrod?

Vindy.com should require comments to be signed just like letters to the editor. Maybe if you used your real name you'd be less inclined to try to insult people you don't even know.

As for you changing the world - look at the direction we are headed and we can definitely tell that people LIKE you are in charge. But no one would put YOU in charge of changing anything unless it was a dirty baby's diaper.

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6Dmoadus(2 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

"Hellabb" conveniently overlooks a lot of history. For instance, he references our slave holding Founding Fathers, but overlooks the fact that the bulk of the Africans enslaved went to Islamic countries, with one big difference. In America we have descendants of slaves. They lived, propagated and thrive today. But, where are the descendants of the slaves of Islam? They don't exist; they didn't survive.

Islam shouldn't even be accorded the distinction of being called a religion, because it calls for the conversion or destruction of all other religions. You can start a Mosque in America, but try to open a church in Saudia Arabia.

Also you should know that Islam embraced Hitler, and allied themselves with him. They still share his goals.

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7redeye1(5161 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Brain washing 101 has began !!!
HellBB If people like you,are changing this world. HEAVEN HELP US!!!!!!

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8Silence_Dogood(1512 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I find it funny that HellaBB starts off by condemning someone for their racist rant and then for the next four posts goes on his own racist rant.

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976Ytown(1318 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

"Just sick of you Christian filth who do nothing but spout racist lies and Tea Party propaganda all day. You're the cancer --- and I'm the cure."

That statement sends chills up my spine.

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1076Ytown(1318 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago


Malala Yousafzai, a Muslim girl shot by the Taliban at age 14. Her crime, a wish for education for every child. She is the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala is wise far beyond her years. Gives hope for peace in the world brought to us by the next generation.

Prejudice, racism and intolerance, is rooted in ignorance.

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