Tahira Khan, Samin Khan and the rest of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community want to make sure everyone knows the truth about Islam.
People don't realize that Islam means peace and that's what we stand for, said Tahira Khan, president of the Women's Auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Albany. "Our slogan is love for all, hatred for none."
Tahira Khan is part of several local organizations that have banded together to host a program at Temple Sinai at 509 Broadway in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, Jan. 9, where they hope to dispel common misconceptions by encouraging people to come and ask questions.
"We want people to ask any question at all, really what they have on their hearts, put it out there so we can discuss it," said Samin Khan. "Even if it's politically incorrect, we're not going to be adverse to it."
Programs like this, which promote discussion, education and, most important of all, peace, are events both women said are necessary and that they try to offer as often as they can.
"We are reclaiming our religion back; giving people the truth and reality of Islam," said Tahira Khan. "We want to create harmony and love in the world because there's so much trouble and angst and so many misconceptions among faiths."
Common "facts" that people frequently get very wrong are that Muslim women are downtrodden and that they're forced into arranged marriages with no rights of their own.
"Islam is the only religion that gives women rights. If a woman goes to work, the money she earns is her own money to do as she sees fit. The husband, on the other hand, is the one that has to earn money for the family. That's his responsibility," said Tahira Khan. "Women are given the freedom to choose whoever they want to marry. If they're given the name of someone and they say 'no,' there is no way, according to Islamic law, that marriage is allowed to go ahead."