Volunteers from the Metro Atlanta community gathered Saturday for various service projects scheduled around the city. The third of its kind, the 2015 Masjid Beautification Day expanded its reach to four Masajid, a local cemetery, and the Home Park neighborhood in Atlanta.
Participants registered ahead of time for the location of their choosing. Each location had much needed cleaning or beautification projects to improve the quality of their site. Event organizers assigned site and project leaders to ensure people were accomplishing the task at hand.
A group of young professionals spearheaded the first ever Masjid Beautification Day in 2013. For them, this event is a chance to bring the community together for a day of service but also to connect people to their places of worship. Aside for the Friday prayer and occasional Eid, too many youth and young professionals today have felt far removed from their masajid. By working with masjid and community leaders, the Masjid Beautification Day organizers have broken into the elder-dominated Masjid arena, and shown their potential for further involvement.
In addition, the event was also aimed to “create an ‘open-house’ atmosphere for non-typical community space/Mosque participants to feel welcome on this day to visit any participating mosque/community site” as the website describes. Meant not just for Muslims and current masjid-goers, the Masjid Beautification Day was a chance to invite friends who would not usually attend that particular masjid, or any masjid at all, for a day of service.
This rang true especially at the Al-Huda Islamic Center in Athens, Georgia. Located in a small college town 70 miles northeast of Atlanta, the Athens Muslim community is a pioneer of interfaith relations.
Volunteers at this site included college students, community members and members of the local Wesley chapter, a Christian campus ministry. “The past few years, there has been a growing desire in Wesley to come alongside the Muslim community, and we’re just starting to see this love for the Ummah in Athens come to life through Peacemakers (a Wesley ministry area) and through involvement in events like the Masjid Beautification Day”, said Philip Ian, a Wesley intern.
Like many other initiatives in the area, this event was also aimed at uniting the Muslim community in and around Atlanta. By hosting multiple service projects on the same day, Masjid Beautification Day hopes to become the premier Day of Service among the Atlanta Muslim Community.
Among the six volunteer sites, around 100 people attended the Third Annual Masjid Beautification Day. Following the completion of service projects, volunteers gathered at the Al-Farooq Masjid for a barbecue lunch and to meet people from other sites. Organizers are hopeful for a fourth annual day of service in 2016, and look forward to attracting more volunteers while adding additional sites.