Visit My Mosque Day was celebrated around the UK this last weekend.
As right wing media attacks intensify against Islam & Muslims in Europe, British Muslims organized this special event for the second year.
Inside the Regent Park Mosque in London, a non-Muslim family reacted positively to this initiative:
“It’s very exciting. It’s very beautiful…”
“It seems quite important for the people here … they are all reading.”
“It’s quite peaceful.”
This was the reaction of Georgia, a young girl visiting the London Central Mosque together with her father.
“It’s a wonderful idea,” her father said.
Rev. Anders Berquist, Vicar at the nearby St. John’s Wood Church, said:
“I’m really pleased that this mosque is open.”
In Leeds’ Makkah Mosque, visited by the Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, three weeks ago, there were less people visiting the mosque this year, though last year the event attracted around 150 visitors.
“There is fear on both sides,” said Qari Asim, the Imam who had welcomed Mr. Cameron during his visit.
“This should be a huge concern to anyone. An attack on any community is an attack on all of us,” he said.
“We are all in it together, and only together can we defeat extremism” he added.
Other people interviewed in Leeds were not interested, including an atheist lady who said there is no point to visit a mosque as she did not believe, a Catholic man who said he had nothing against Muslims and another lady who had more important things to do.
Another London mosque, the Finsbury Park mosque, had also welcomed many non-Muslims over the weekend.
The ‘Visit My Mosque Day’ seeks to educate the public about the faith beyond the media’s hostile narrative. The initiative comes amid a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim attacks in Britain.
In the face of continuing mistrust, we have no other option than to reach out to build bridges with people of other faiths, to break the mistrust and respond to the misconceptions.
If you are interested in this initiative, don’t miss this three minutes video report by Sky News.