ORLANDO, FL - It's not every day I get invited to a mosque.
But with an offer of free coffee and free pizza, I couldn't turn down the invite to the Islamic Center of Orlando.
Every Wednesday night at school located across from the mosque, a group meets to discuss Islam. Anyone from any faith background who might have questions about the religion is invited.
On the night I visited, Imam Tariq Rasheed led the conversation, which began with a short reading about Muhammad.
About a dozen people sat at tables around the Imam - some were members of the Islamic Center and others were guests who knew little about the religion. Every one shared the pizza and cookies brought in by the members of the mosque.
After the initial reading, Rasheed opened up the discussion and asked, "Does anyone have any questions about Islam or Muslims?"
A young couple with a baby asked a few questions, but nothing too controversial. They were just curious about the differences between Christianity and Islam, and they wanted to expose their daughter to different cultures.
The Imam said he started the discussion group for believers and non-believers nearly a decade ago because there was so much misinformation out there about Islam. Because so many of our neighbors and co-workers are Muslim, he wanted to make sure non-Muslims had a place to ask questions and get real answers.
And Rasheed isn't afraid off tough questions that can range from terrorism to the role of women in Islam.
On that recent Wednesday night, the discussion eventually turned to politics and the 2018 election. By then, the Muslims and non-Muslims in the room were talking politics, sharing opinions and talking.
Just like any group of Americans would talk if given the chance.
What: Open house at the Islamic Center of Orlando
When: 6:30 p.m., Every Wednesday night
Address: 11543 Ruby Lake Rd, Orlando, Florida 32836-6159
Phone number: 407-238-2700