Mosques invite neighbours on #visitmymosque day

27th Feb 2015

Members of the general public enter Mahfil Ali mosque on February1 as part of #VisitMyMosque day, a pilot national event organised by the Muslim Council of Britain

Hassan Joudi

On February 1, mosques across the UK opened their doors to the general public as part of #VisitMyMosque day, a pilot national event organised by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

The national event aimed to encourage mosques to reach out to their local communities following recent tensions around terrorist attacks in France.

One of the participating centres, the Zakariyya Mosque in Bolton, welcomed 30 to 40 people for a guided tour of the building, and to get to know members of the congregation and the committee.

Chief Officer of the Bolton Council of Mosques, Ibrahim Kala, said Bolton mosques are open to visitors all year-round but it was still a worthwhile event. “After some of the tensions that arose after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, we had to show to people that the vast majority of Muslims in Britain are law-abiding, just want to practice their faith and have nothing to hide,” he said.

Jo Hill, 58, a Catholic Christian, said she had heard about the event on the radio and had come to the Baabulilm mosque in Leeds, to show solidarity with fellow people of faith who were being stigmatised. “I don’t think people have any imagination of what the faith is like. I couldn’t even recognise this as a mosque – I went to the building across the road,” she said. About 60 guests were welcomed on the day, and Syed Hadi Hassan, the resident scholar, fielded questions on social media and how the concept of jihad has been warped.

One Jewish visitor to Hyderi mosque in Streatham, South London, said, “It was a warm, friendly and inspiring gathering with regard to social cohesion and in my view fostered very good community relations at a grass roots level. Unity in action.”

In North-West London, at the Mahfil Ali mosque, a Christian mother and child took a picture with a Muslim mother and child, so the young child could do a “show and tell” at school the next day about the #VisitMyMosque day.

However, not all events went smoothly. Channel 4 News presenters Cathy Newman caused a media stir when she claimed that she was turned away from a mosque in South London because it would not allow women inside. She tweeted to her 78,000 followers, “Well I just visited Streatham mosque for #VisitMyMosque day and was surprised to find myself ushered out of the door…”

Several days later, CCTV footage emerged showing her leaving the mosque premises unaccompanied and not being ushered out, after visiting another mosque by mistake that was not participating in the national event.

The journalist later apologised criticism of her tweets by Muslim and non-Muslim on social media, saying, “I have written to South London Islamic Centre and offered my sincere apologies for tweets sent in haste after there in error.”

MP for the mosque, Chuka Umunna, said, “Very important our news media treats every community in the UK on the same fair basis & stops to ask questions before rushing to judgement.”

C4 News Editor, Ben de Pear, said: “I have spoken to her [Newman] at length and expressed my disappointment at her actions. Her language was poorly chosen and caused your mosque untold and undeserved hurt.”

About 20 mosques nationwide participated in the event. Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, Miqdaad Versi, said, “Many mosques already have open door policies, and many have special set days to invite the local community around them. We celebrate these existing schemes as well. #VisitMyMosque day was a pilot national event and we hope, based on feedback, to be repeating it again later in the year.”

One Response to “Mosques invite neighbours on #visitmymosque day”

IftikharMarch 1, 2015

The whole world belongs to Muslims. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not belong to a specific territory.

Are Jews welcome into mosques? and are Muslims welcomed into synagogues?.Are Muslims welcomed into Hindu temples? are Hindus welcomed into Mosques?. Generally, yes. There isn’t a rule banning people from other faiths. I think there is a lot of ignorance about masques – seating arrangements for instance. Masques have prayers five times a day. People also sit on the floor while waiting for the next prayer. Harrow Mosque is well integrated into the local community with local connections and a good relationship with the council. I suspect this is a badly communicated PR stunt by the MCB which is a body with almost no authority amongst any catchment of Muslims except for those there members directly control but presumes to speak on behalf of all British Muslims. Harrow Mosque regularly holds community open days and during the BNP protests even invited local council reps to their Friday Prayer. A failed social media strategy is worse than none at all.

At one time women who had given birth were not allowed in Christian churches until they had been ‘cleansed of sin’. Their sin being made pregnant by having sex. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit Mosques at any day and at any time while the Mosques are opened. Non-Muslims do not want to visit any Mosques. Mosques ALWAYS have an open door policy. You DONT need an open day to visit!!! Prayers are held five times a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year!!! Walk into any mosques and say you want to have a chat. They may not be able to show you around but they can definitely arrange a time to do so!! Many people forgetting or unaware that gender separation isn’t exclusive to Islam, as anyone who has been to a Synagogue or Bar-Mitzvah can testify. So using that as a rod to beat just to beat Muslims with is short sighted and unfair. Women are allowed at Mosques but they have a different entrance/hall area. It is not compulsory for Women to pray at Mosques and they have the choice to pray at home if they wish. But they aren’t second class citizens in anyway….Strict Jewish Temples also separate the sexes and a woman trying to enter the men only area would also be escorted out. Just like many other religions the place of worship is separated for men and women. Strange how at a time of rampant Islamophobia this aspect of Islam is pounced upon as something evil or unnatural!!! As usual the press is only interested in emphasising the negative at the expense of. Go visit a Synagogue or Methodist church and criticise the separation and see how a certain clique react!!!!???

Muslim schools encourage non-Muslims parents to send their children to Muslim schools. There are 188 Muslim schools and in my opinion, not a non-Muslim child is in a Muslim school. One can find Muslim children in jewish and church schools. There are a couple of church schools where Muslim children are in majority. There are state schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies. I hope, one day my dream would come true.

Islam is a threat to the West not because it has veiled women running around with concealed bombs, but because it takes women (and as an indirect result, men) out of this lucrative cycle of western psychological exploitation. Since she is not buying to attract men (or compete with other women), she no longer needs to buy most things fashion magazines attempt to sell women. Veils, Burqa and over garments pretty much eliminate the need to buy seasonally—since the design and purpose of the woman’s garment minimize attention and evades fashion. Without the provoked psychosocial frenzy instigated by media advertisements, the sexual tension that underlines the high crime statistics in the West will cease to be a contentious cause of human aggression. In contrast to the West, and in no small part due to the veil, societies like Saudi Arabia have crime rates that are, across the board, the lowest in the world.

Islam has come for all Muslims on earth, anywhere. It was given to and started from Arabs. But it was meant to be spread out to all humankind. Allah sent the revelations to His Prophet in Arabic and convey the message to all humankind through the language and customs the Arabs of that time were using. When I read Quran, I clearly get the messages. I don’t feel like I have to be an Arabic or an American or an African. All the teaching are applicable to who I am, what culture I belong to.. It tells me the ways to lead my life according to certain laws told by my Lord which are pretty much applicable to every human being on earth. And that is why I consider Islam as universal religion and it is! I don’t get this, why Allah will be forcing a lady living in Norway or Korea or any other part of world to follow what Arabs use to wear in their culture. I believe it only tells us the manners about man and woman interaction and wearing appropriate clothing representing dignity and grace. Now is there anyone deny with this??? This is acceptable in every culture. Vulgarity is considered as bad in every culture. Please value ISLAM. It is the only religion with logic and practicality. Do not associate anything objectionable without reading Quran to Islam. We all will be in front of Allah answerable for our deeds soon.

Terrorism and sexual grooming is nothing to do with Masajid, Imams and Muslim schools. Those Muslim youths who have been involved in terrorism and sexual grooming are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage, literature and poetry. They suffer from identity crises and I blame British schooling.


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