I have two ideas in my head that I would love to do, but quite honestly, I don't think I could pull off. At least, not on my own. But I don't know of anyone who would help me. Well, I do, but geographically they are a bit far away.
Muslims where I live, while here, are pretty invisible. And the general population that has been here for years seem to have very little true knowledge of actual Muslims. One of the local churches a couple of years ago - the one I used to belong to, actually - their book club did a month on learning about Islam. They had three or four books, but I specifically remember two that they were using to "learn about Islam." Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Oh yes - let's take a book that is written by a self-hating woman who paints culture as actual Islam and another book that takes Afghani culture and paints Islam as a female hating faith. Yeeeeeah. I bet they learned a lot. (Please, note the sarcasm. I hope they talked about how Islam is not like the Kenyan/Somali culture or the Afghani/Taliban culture/political spectrum. But I highly doubt it.)
So what I would like to do is have an interfaith coalition in Kincardine, but really in southern Bruce County. Have the Muslim community, the various sects of the Christian community, the Hindu community and any other community that may happen to be here (I only know these three for sure. I know there is a tiny Jewish community in western Grey County) and get us working together on service projects. Granted, I'm not sure what service projects we could do, but community wide, community benefiting, family oriented (though some with just adults if needed, and some more child centric) community group that has us all working together to better our community.
The second thing would be a long way off. The Hindu community, at Deepawali, hosts a community dinner. They post invitations in the newspaper and in the past I've seen flyers around town. For the first time this week, I saw an article about Muslims in our small, weekly newspaper. Unfortunately, it wasn't even about OUR community. It was an article about Ahmadiyya Muslim missionaries coming up here from Maple (outside Toronto) to tell people about Islam (http://www.kincardinenews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3037532). I don't know for sure that there aren't any Ahmadiyya Muslims up here, but I'm willing to put money on the fact there are not. But that would be gambling. And we don't gamble. So I won't. There are Sunnis, there are Shi'as, and there are those like me that just don't do prefixes and are just Muslim.
And that brings me back to the second thing. The second thing I would like to do at Eid. Since Eid-ul-Fitr is scheduled to happen at the end of August (insha Allah) right at the holiday weekend, I'd not do it then, but at Eid-ul-Adha, which is, insha Allah, scheduled to happen in early November. I would love to have some help of other Muslims in the community and put together a community Eid dinner. If Ramadan was falling at a time when iftar wasn't going to happen until after 9pm, I'd suggest an iftar dinner, but I'm not sure how many people you'd get to come out to a dinner that late! So an Eid dinner. Where we invite the community. And just hope people show up. And learn something. And I think that the Eid-ul-Adha holiday would be incredibly appropriate for such an event, seeing as it is the feast of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) being called upon to sacrifice his son. Now granted we differ on which son, but still - it is the same story. Except that little part.
But this isn't something I could pull off alone. And I know it would irritate beyond all belief the people that have been "in charge" for however long that a new person in their community (and a convert no less!) would do such a thing to take away from their dinner. And by "their" they have made it abundantly clear (the women anyway) that they don't like "outsiders" in their community. And outsiders can be people like me who are converts or born Muslims who don't happen to be of their sect or of born Muslims who don't come out to community events much.
I want to do something with the community to show people that there's really nothing to be afraid of with us and that maybe they'll loose some of their preconceived notions of the Muslim community and Islam in general. But trying to figure it all out? A bit difficult to do on my own!