VANCOUVER, British Columbia –Mosques across British Columbia opened their doors on Saturday, Feb 16, welcoming Muslim and non-Muslim people for the first province-wide Open Mosque Day, CBC reported.
“We want to address misconceptions, but at the same time we want people to meet Muslims in a very human way,” said Adnan Akiel, program manager for Open Mosque Day.
The first-ever Visit My Mosque Day in Canada took place on Sunday, October 15, 2017.
Yet, this is the first time major mosques across BC province have united to host an event all on the same day.
“We wanted to show the unity of the Muslim community all across B.C. when it comes to reaching out to people of the wider society and engaging with them,” said Akiel.
“Doing it as a coordinated event is just a symbol of how much we care when it comes to building a stronger community.”
Mosques are always open to anyone. However, this event is designed to answer questions about Islam, said Akiel.
“The event is open to people of all faiths, no faith, regardless of your age, gender, orientation, or age,” Akiel told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.
In Kelowna, the public was invited into the Kelowna Islamic Centre’s new building.
“We’re very happy to have this bigger place,” said Hamid Butt, one of the board directors at the center.
Statistics Canada reported a 151% spike in police-reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2017 following the Quebec mosque attack and the RCMP says far-right extremists have become emboldened in Canada.
Muslims make up 3.2 percent of Canada’s population making Islam the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.
“Non-Muslims, in general, have a responsibility to take a moment to understand who Muslims are and what Islam is, especially if they have an opinion [on] Islam,” said Akiel.
“And Muslims have a responsibility of doing a better job in reaching out to the wider community and telling people what Islam is.”