There have been complaints and compliments about this program that will take place at the Library tomorrow ( July 16th) between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.
First, this is a program that is not sponsored by the Sycamore Library. The group hosting the program have complied with our Meeting Room Policy and application process.
Our Meeting Room application requires that anyone who wants to use the meeting room provide a brief description of the nature of their meeting. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association wrote the following:
"Holy Quran Exhibition
The purpose of this this exhibition is to provide local residents with an introduction to Islam and identify commonalities between Islam and the other major religions of the world. The goal is to help educate and dispel common myths and misunderstandings about Islam. Those who attend will be able to ask any questions they have about Muslims and Islam, including but not limited to: What is Islam? What is the Holy Quran?, What is the status of women and their rights in Islam?, What are the prophesies of the Holy Quran?"
This group has used the meeting room in the past for the same purpose. The program was well received by those who participated.
There are many terrible things going on in the world today and this can lead to fear and anger.
One of the things that we at the library strives to offer, is the opportunity for all to learn and expand their understanding of the world around them. We believe that offering the meeting room for public use by a variety or groups and organizations is part of that service.
You have a choice to attend or not attend this program the same way you have the choice to attend any of any program at the library. Every time you use the library, you are making choices about what you read, watch, or listen to. There are many things that a person will find offensive in the library. At the same time, that same program, book, song, or movie will appeal to another person.
I have been asked if a Christian group wanted to use the meeting room to provide information about their religion, would we allow them to use the meeting room? The answer is, Yes! We require that all group follow our meeting room policy, complete the application process, and pay the fee for use of the room.
As a public entity, we have a legal obligation to make sure that we don't discriminate based on religion, politics, color, or sexual orientation. As a matter of fact, we don't want to discriminate. We want EVERYONE to feel comfortable using the library. We also want provide discomfort that takes people outside their comfort zone so everyone is provided with opportunities to learn, discover, create, and grow.
These are difficult times and lately we have seen too much anger, fear, and violence. I believe that the Library is and should be one place where you can research ideas, participate in a variety of activities, and join in discussions that can take us beyond what we already know to a more knowledgeable more understanding place so that we can relieve fear and anger and find a way toward peace.