By: Jason Donati—
Muncie, IN—The Islamic Center of Muncie partnered with R.A.C.E. Muncie to host a ‘Celebration of Diversity’ meet and greet at the Islamic Center on Saturday, March 12th. The celebration followed a recent resolution unanimously passed by Muncie City Council to promote religious freedom and respect for all beliefs in the City of Muncie. Nearly 140 community members attended the celebration on Saturday including Mayor Tyler, his wife Vickie, Police Chief Steve Stewart, Fire Chief Eddie Bell, Community Development Director Dr. Terry-Whitt Bailey, Muncie Human Rights Director Yvonne Thompson, City Council Member Julius Anderson, along with many other community leaders.
Islamic Center President Muhammad Maqbool welcomed all guests prior to Mayor Tyler reading a proclamation officially declaring March 12th 2016 to be ‘Celebration of Diversity Day’ before answering questions from the audience with President Maqbool. Bassam Helwani, treasurer at the Islamic Center and owner of Damask Café, moderated the audience discussion. Community members discussed the need for people from all different backgrounds and beliefs to come together and support a welcoming and inclusive environment in Muncie that promotes peace and that celebrates our unique diversity.
Muslim members of the community shared about their personal stories of landing in Muncie and how much they appreciate the Muncie community and feel at home. Attendees also learned about the history of the Islamic Center of Muncie which was originally founded in 1969 by local African American leaders in Muncie, and once was housed on Ball Street in Muncie before moving out to the Northwest side of Muncie, which now serves as place of worship for over 200 members.
Attendees also enjoyed a variety of delicious ethnic foods and deserts served and made by local Muslim residents in the surrounding community.
Organizers hope to continue to partner on many more events like this that celebrate the wonderful diversity represented in Muncie.
Jason Donati is R.A.C.E. Muncie Coordinator (Reconciliation Achieved through Community Engagement)