Dr. Farooque Ahmed Khan is shown in front of the triple arches that lead into the newly constructed building that will house the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.
One of the oldest mosque on Long Island is launching an interfaith institute whose mission is to diapel misconceptions about Islam and promote understanding among different faiths.
The Interfaith Institute of Islamic Center of Long Island will hold its first event Sunday at the mosque in Westbury.
John Andrew Morrow, author of "The Convenants of the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) with the Christians of the World," will gave a keynote address about how American Muslims should respond to ISIS, the military terrist group that has taken over swaths of Iraq and Syria.
Morrow, a convert to Islam and a professor of foreign languages at Ivy Tech Community COlleeg of Indiana, is expected to address at least 250 religious leaders and others from a variety of faiths.
The Islamic Center -- which has 800 members and is physically the largest mosque on the Island-- has conducted outreach for years. Other mosques and groups on Long Island do similar as well.
This, however, is the first time a mosque has created a formal institution to do so, said Dr. Faroque Khan, a founder of the mosque who is heading the Interfaith Institute.
One goal is a more organized, forceful effort to explain Islam to the American public and build bridges with other faiths, he said.
The institutes "will give us an opportunity to clear up some of the misconceptions and stereotypes the muslims," Khan said. "We always get asked,' what are you guys doing about terrorism overseas?'"
Khan and other mosque leaders say organizations such as ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, have nothing to do with Islam, which preaches peace.
The mosques;s members are providing funding through donations. The institute will operate out of a new $5 million facility at the Westbury mosque that is near completion--a three flor, 19000-square-foot addition that has rooms for religious classes on SUndays, a cafeteria, a multipurpose room that will double as a meeting hall for up to 300 people, and a basketball court.