Mona Ives
Mona Ives (COURTESY PHOTO)

LEOMINSTER Author Terry Pratchett once said, The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. Educator Mona Ives hopes to do just that with Islam 101, a program designed to share some of the riches of her tradition and culture, as well as identify some common misconceptions of one of the world s major religions.

Islam has 1.6 billion followers worldwide, and almost 3 million Americans are Muslim.

The program will be held Tuesday, Feb. 12, starting at 7 p.m., in the Community Room at Leominster Public Library, 30 West St. Registration is not required.

Islam 101 is presented as part of the library s focus on social justice during the month of February and its yearlong series of Leominster Library University programs.

Ives will focus on the six primary beliefs of all Muslims, the five pillars of practice of Muslims, Islamic moral values, and Islamic customs around food and attire. She welcomes questions from the audience.

I really hope that people learn to think about Islam and Muslims as human beings, not political pawns, Ives said. We are people with jobs and kids who are your neighbors, classmates and co-workers and are, for the most part, just like anyone else just trying to make a living, live a good life and realize the American dream. I hope that the program opens up a dialogue and gives people the opportunity to allay their fears. I don t want people to see me or my peers as a threat when I m doing my grocery shopping or doing my errands.


Advertisement

I would like for people to appreciate that America is a diverse place and that everyone here has something to offer.

Ives, an American-born Muslim and West Boylston native, studied international relations at Boston University and then Arabic and Islamic theology and comparative religion at the International Islamic University in Islamabad. She formerly served as administrator at the Worcester Islamic Center and is now an instructor at the Worcester Institute for Senior Education. She conducts free seminars on Islam at libraries, churches and schools. Her charity work includes a special focus on assisting refugees resettling in America.

For more information, call 978-534-7522.