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Muslim Community Center of Greater San Diego holds annual Open Mosque Day

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — In these divided times, a local mosque is working to bring people together. 

On Sunday, the Muslim Community Center of Greater San Diego held its annual Open Mosque Day welcoming people of all faiths to learn more about their Muslim neighbors.  

"We're your neighbors, we're your doctors and lawyers, accountants... we're just regular Americans," said Vice Chair of the MCC board Owais Siddiqui. "A lot of people have questions about Muslims and their neighbors and they may feel, perhaps, intimidated or just unsure about how to get those questions answered." 

During the event, there were tours of the mosque and several presentations. 

"The moment you eliminate ignorance or the lack of information, the vast majority of the time, you'll find a lot more commonality," said one speaker at the event.  

There were also booths displaying different aspects of Islamic history including the first American printing of a Koran printed in 1806 in Massachusetts.  

Siddiqui says one thing he wants people to know:  

"We believe in the same God as the Christian God, as the Jewish God," he said. "A lot of times Muslims use the term 'Allah,' but that's just the Arabic word for God."  

Sunday's event was held just as the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR is about to release a new report about bullying of Muslim students in schools.  

According to CAIR, of 1,000 Muslim students ages 11-18 who were surveyed, 53 percent reported some form of bullying. 

13-year-old Umair Mahmood says, fortunately, he hasn't been bullied..  

One thing he wants people to know: 

"We're very peaceful," said Mahmood. "Islam itself has many meanings, but one of the main meanings, is peace."  

The full CAIR report on bullying of Muslim students is scheduled to be released Monday with a news conference will be held in Kearny Mesa at 10 a.m.  

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