UK mosques open doors for ‘Visit my mosque day’

Mosques in UK open doors to visitors from all faiths during ‘Visit my mosque day’ aimed to provide better understanding of Islam

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Finsbury Park Mosque, London

Updated Feb 9, 2016

More than 90 mosques across the UK invited visitors from all faiths to “"Visit My Mosque Day”" in an effort to explain the Muslim faith beyond hostile headlines.

Dr. Shuja Shafi, the secretary general of the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella organisation, Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), invited everyone to mosques to create a better understanding of Islam, while offering introductory classes on Islam and a guided tour during which visitors could observe prayers.

"What we thought could be useful is to have one day for every mosque or as many mosques as possible [when they] can open their doors for neighbours and demystify what happens inside,”" Dr. Shafi said.

“"That way they will have a better idea and hopefully we will have a better, cohesive society."”

The event attracted interfaith leaders and politicians as well as the locals in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was photographed in London’s Finsbury Park Mosque as he posed together with Finsbury Park Mosque’s chairman and vicar of St John's Church.

Pastor Jeremy Taylor from St John's Wood Parish Church said the problems come from not knowing each other well in society: “The beauty of an event like this is opening up and welcoming people in a very explicit way [that] helps to encourage that contact which can lead to better understanding,” he said.

MCB said it “has been a tense time for faith communities” and stated that the mosques participated in the event will be inviting interfaith leaders.

“All will be asked to come together to demonstrate unity and solidarity.” the umbrella organisation said.

“It is good to open up Islam so it does not become hidden away from society,” said Oliver Miller, a student of International Security Studies at the University College London. He added that he decided to visit a mosque to find out about Islam himself.

"I want to find out a little bit more about what the message of Islam is because we hear a lot about it in the media and its portrayed in good and bad, so I wanted to see what is the true meaning is."

According to Met Police statistics, anti-Muslim hate crimes have risen by 70 percent in England’s capital London in 2015.

There are almost 3 million Muslims in the UK, representing nearly 5 percent of the population.

TRTWorld and agencies