Photo by Alexis Marshall/ Assistant News Editor
Murfreesboro Muslim Youth hosted its sixth Love Your Neighbor potluck at Barfield Crescent Park on Sunday. A few hundred people from various faith communities came to Pavilion 7 to break bread and enjoy the weather.
MMY hosted the first Love Your Neighbor event in October of 2015, feeding about 250 people according to its website. Since then, the potluck has turned into a staple event for the organization. Since 2016, the youth group has planned three Love Your Neighbor events per year, usually increasing in size each time according to MMY board member Anas Hajhussein.
The event is free and open to the public. Hajhussein said it is meant to build connections between members of the community irrespective of religion or background.
He said, “You’ve got people of all different shapes, sizes and colors, and it’s just perfect.”
Joudi Alkallah attended the event with her family. They moved to the United States from Syria a year ago and said that they enjoy the event. Alkallah is 14 years old and said that she would be starting at Blackman High School this semester. She said that this event has helped her to make friends, but that it also helps connect the two communities that she and her family are now proudly a part of.
“It’s a way to connect Arabs with Americans,” Alkallah said as her mother stood a few feet away wearing an American flag-printed hijab.
The event also attracted Jane Griffin who brought her two grandchildren to the family-friendly event. She said that, to her, this potluck means “hope.”
“I wanted to be part of this community event… And I wanted to show (my grandchildren) what community is all about,” Griffin said.
The most recent Love Your Neighbor potluck follows vandalism to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro* and the property of a local Muslim man. Hajhussein said it is important to note that the vandalism was done by individuals and does not reflect the sentiments of the community as a whole. He also said that the event shows that everybody can come together.
“It just makes you forget about everything that’s happened, and just sort of live in the moment and have fun,” HajHussein said.
Murfreesboro Muslim Youth will host its next Love Your Neighbor potluck on October 22 at 3 p.m. at Barfield Crescent Park.
To learn more about upcoming events for Murfreesboro Muslim Youth, click here.
*The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is a completely separate entity from Murfreesboro Muslim Youth.
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