Group of seniors visit Palo Alto mosque to learn about customs

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- In Palo Alto, a group of senior citizens is trying to learn more about Islam and for many of them visited a mosque for the first time.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, this trip kind of took on a new meaning. It was an opportunity for these neighbors to converse, and share with others why opportunities to learn from one another, are so important.

On Tuesday at the Anjuman-e-Jamali Mosque in Palo Alto, congregation leaders welcomed some of their neighbors for a visit.

"It is a religion of peace. Salaam, our greeting, means peace," Mosque secretary Zoaib Rangwala said.

An in-depth conversation covering everything from Muslim culture and customs to the recent Paris attacks by ISIS.

"We do not associate with such people, with such organizations," Rangwala said.

"What happened is just so overwhelming, and so emotional, and you react to things emotionally," Palo Alto resident Janice Weinman said.

The group senior citizens from the Maldow residences at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center took advantage of the open forum.

"The news in Europe and the news here. You know, we're all one big world," Palo Alto resident Irvin Franson said.

Franson walked by the new mosque many times over the past several months, wondering what it was like inside.

"I was quite impressed, because it's different than churches, or synagogues, and it was a whole different experience," Franson said.

Others said it was a great chance to help break down barriers in the community.

"It's very important to know all cultures and all people. No matter what's the color of their skin, shape of their eyes, broadness of their nose, we should get along with everybody," Palo Alto resident Ada Kriegman said.

An opportunity to find some commonality in the differences that may divide us.

"We're patriotic to the nation that we're citizens of, and so it is very important for us to have the community know us, and vice versa," Rangwala said.
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