MADISON (WKOW) -- People from Madison and surroundings areas are coming together today to discover more about Islam - and “what it's really all about,” according to the event's planner.
The open panel discussion called “ Islam, Muslims and the West: ISIL - Our Common Enemy" is happening at the Monona Terrace. It's sponsored by the Madinah Community Center, a mosque on Madison's west side.
Moderator Masood Akhtar of Middleton, says the event is critically important to combat an environment of fear. He wants to send a very strong message "that we are in this fight together" in creating understanding of Muslims and how groups like his are trying to maintain peace and harmony, inspite of what he calls the fear that that terrorist organizations like ISIL use as a recruiting tool.
Part of the focus of the discussion will also be hearing from law enforcement officials about how Muslims can stay safe in an environment of what Akhtar calls “Islamaphobia.”
Scheduled to participate are U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth; Madison Mayor Paul Soglin; Madison Ald. Samba Baldeh; Dane County Executive Joe Parisi; Ismael Ozanne, Dane County district attorney; John Vaudreuil, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin; Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney; Greg Neumann, political reporter for WKOW-TV, Ch. 27; and Alhagie Jallow, imam of Madinah Community Center.