Faced with the dual problem of radicalisation and Islamophobia, UK mosques take an initiative to bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims
Over 90 mosques across the UK, including three in Cardiff, are going to open their doors to the public this Sunday (7 February) inviting non-Muslims to visit and learn more about the Muslims and Islamic culture.
The initiative called Mosque Open Day will allow people to walk into mosques and ask questions about Islam, clarify doubts, know more about the Muslim community through exhibitions and workshops, and interact with the community leaders.
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“There is a misconception that Muslims are aliens, we don’t belong to this country and there is also a sense of distrust,” says Md. Alamgir, the project director, Muslim Council of Wales. “We want the public to come and meet the Muslims, take a tour of the mosque and feel we are the same as you.”
The initiative by the Muslim Council of Britain – the umbrella organisation of over 500 mosques, schools and charities – gains significance as Islamophobia is on the rise and there is accusation of radicalisation of a section of the Muslim youth.
“We want to share the goodness of Islam with all”, says Ali Hamuda of Al-Manar Mosque in Cardiff. “One needs to understand the concept of Allah and his message through Prophet Muhammad to realize the true meaning of our religion.”
The experiment to reach out to the non-Muslims initially began with tours of the mosques for teachers and students of the local schools and later it was extended through the National Mosque Open Day last year.
The programme has already generated interest among many in the social media and community leaders have welcomed the initiative.
“This is a brilliant initiative. I hope lots of people will take this opportunity”, said Caro Wild, the local Councillor at Cardiff City Council.
“It’s going to help building a cohesive and happy community. It is important that people understand each other’s culture and religion.”