On Feb. 25, Muslims and non-Muslims attended the annual Know Your Muslim Neighbor banquet where they enjoyed a meal of Middle Eastern food and drinks while learning about Islamic history, religious practice and the contributions of Muslim Americans to the United States’ culture.

The full story

The event was sponsored by the Islamic Society of Greater Houston and held at the MultiCultural Center in Webster.

The event kicked off with a quiz to test attendees' knowledge of Islamic history and was followed by a Q&A panel with members of Houston’s Muslim community, including former Texas House of Representatives candidate John Floyd, who said he converted to Islam over 30 years ago when he married his wife.

The audience was encouraged to submit questions for the panelists, which included:
  • What is the thing you love most about Islam?
  • Are there denominations within Islam?
  • Why is the conflict in Israel-Palestine important for Muslims?
  • How can I speak up if I see hate directed toward Muslims?
  • How can non-Muslims understand the difference between extremist groups who promote violence and Muslims as a collective religious group?
Quote of note

Some event attendees asked the panel about the significance of Palestine for Muslims.

“If you want to be historically accurate about what’s happening in Palestine and Israel is that there is an unjust situation, in my opinion,” Floyd said. “An indigenous people were removed from their land and have been treated in a system of really brutal apartheid violence. We don’t hate the Jewish people who are from the region or have migrated to the region. We simply want to have justice.”

What else?

The event concluded with a traditional Levantine folk dance, the dabkeh. The dabkeh is a popular group dance originating from Palestine, which is often performed at celebratory events, such as weddings or graduations, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.