HARROW, Middlesex – Members of a local mosque in Harrow, Middlesex, the UK, will gather tonight to attend night mass at their neighboring local churches after being invited to share in the occasion.
“For us, attending Midnight Mass is a great chance to participate in an important part of Christmas celebrations and meet people from our local church, many of whom have become our friends,” Miqdaad Versi, of the executive committee of the Mahfil Ali mosque in Harrow, northwest London, told The Times.
“Ten years ago, this was one of the first times we met, and now it has flourished into a long-lasting relationship.”
Though mosquegoers will not have to sing the carols, and might hear elements of theology that they disagree with, but Versi said: “Most of them, when they come out, realize that a lot of the [Christian] carols and sermons and words are very similar to many of the Islamic supplications, of glorifying God, being thankful, caring for your neighbor.”
The idea was supported by Rev Kate Tuckett, the vicar at St Alban church.
“We’re delighted to welcome them in . . . Their presence at Midnight Mass, which is such a central service for us, really reinforces the links between our two communities,” she said.
Muslim worshippers were always “very respectful and join in with what they can” and there were “genuine bonds of friendship” between the congregations, she added.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he was born miraculously, conceived with no father, to his mother, Mary, but not that he was the Son of God.
While Muslims regard Jesus as a holy prophet, most do not celebrate his birthday, a date historians note could not have been in December at all.
Islam is the second largest religion in the UK, with results from the United Kingdom 2011 Census giving the UK Muslim population in 2011 as 2,786,635, 4.4% of the total population.
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar. Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.