For some, the walls beyond the Masjid Al-Hidayah Islamic Centre and mosque in Port Coquitlam are a bit of a mystery.
But members of the centre are hoping an open house planned for Sunday (Sept. 9) will help break down those barriers.
The public is being invited out to the Masjid Al-Hidayah to tour the centre, try a little food and learn about the culture and religion of Islam.
This year's open house theme is the role of women in Islam, the misconceptions and their status in the religion.
It's an issue Miriam Rahimi, the event co-ordinator, knows well.
Though the topic will be discussed at greater length during the open house, Rahimi did quash some fallacies about one aspect of the religion - the much-misunderstood hijab, or veil worn by Muslim woman.
She said women are not forced to wear the head covering and are given free will to choose.
"That's a big misconception," Rahimi told The NOW.
"Even when I go to school or outside, people think we're forced to wear it, almost like they want to sympathize with you - 'You poor thing, does your husband make you wear it?' No. It's out of free will."
She said in some Islamic cultures, the women are forced to wear the hijab, but said that has nothing to do with the religion.
Rahimi suggested there is a big difference between the religion and culture, and most people see the culture and misunderstand it as the religion.
Saad Bahr, a director with the Islamic centre, said the topic of women in Islam was chosen based on surveys from both members and visitors to the centre.
There will also be an opportunity for questions and answers following a presentation.
He expects roughly 300 to 500 people to walk through the doors of the centre during the open house.
As for the larger event, both Bahr and Rahimi see the open house as a way to reach out to the greater TriCities community.
"We're part of the Canadian Mosaic," Bahr said.
"As part of the Canadian society, we'd like to build bridges."
Rahimi, meanwhile, said some people outside of the religion are shy and unsure whether they're welcome at the centre.
"The whole essence of our religion is to bring people together, to unite," she said.
The open house will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the centre, located at 2626 Kingsway Ave.