Glory Bright twirled the tassels of her hijab while she waited to have her hands painted with henna.
The 6-year-old said the gold-colored head scarf, which she had borrowed, was her favorite part of Saturday’s open house at the new Islamic Community Center on Old Evans Road.
The open house gave community members a chance to explore the Islamic faith and culture through movies, short lectures, demonstrations and food sampling.
Glory attended with her mother, Rose Ann Bright, who was invited by one of her students from Riverside Elementary School.
Classrooms were set up with short films on a variety of topics including women in Islam, Christianity and Islam, and the Prophet Muhammad’s legacy.
“A lot of people wanted to know about this building, what it is. They wanted to know what’s inside,” said Oulia Bougrine, who gave introductory lessons on Arabic. “This is a good opportunity for them to know – just feed their curiosity.”
Lynda Lamarre and Angela Bratton were there to take advantage of the opportunity to explore a different culture. Lamarre teaches history at Georgia Military College, and Bratton teaches anthropology at Georgia Regents University.
“I found it very informative,” Lamarre said.
She said they learned a lot about women’s roles in the Islamic culture, and how that changes across the family, cultural and religious dynamic. They were also able to explore how religious and “home” cultures are blending with American culture for Muslims living in Augusta.
Bratton said she enjoyed being able to talk with people who are part of the culture.
“Sometimes people associate – ‘Oh, that’s that group of people’ – but they don’t have a conversation with a real person. And so this is a really nice atmosphere to be able to do that,” Bratton said.
Hossam Fadel, the chairman of the open house committee, said he appreciated the opportunity to share his culture with friends and coworkers.
“A lot of times they know I’m Muslim, but they don’t know what we do as Muslims. We’ve never really discussed it,” he said. “Now we have a chance to show them what Muslims do.”