Although many Mosques across the United Kingdom have been holding open days for decades, it’s that special time of year again where hundreds of Mosques nationally welcome people of any or no faith for tea and nibbles, to learn about the day-to-day goings-on of a Mosque, to meet Muslims and to find out about Islam.
Thousands of people are expected to take part in the fifth annual Visit My Mosque day this weekend, visiting mosques from as far north as Inverness to as far south as Portsmouth.
Last year the Muslim Council of Britain, the organisers of the campaign, revealed that 90% of people in Britain have never been inside a Mosque. Their hope is that this initiative will help clear up misconceptions and shatter stereotypes.
Some of last year’s most notable participants included: Prime Minister, Theresa May, Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. But it’s the stories of everyday people who take part that are the most heart-warming.
One more from the amazing educational experience I had today #VisitMyMosque pic.twitter.com/QkqcuyOFJk
— Gareth Evans (@garethevans79) February 18, 2018
When the initiative started in 2015, just 20 Mosques took part. This year’s campaign expects to see more than 250 Mosques get involved – 100 more than last year.
2nd from the left, Cath in Rochdale told me her husband didn’t want her to go to #VisitMyMosque Open Day because he thought there’d be “terrorsits at the mosque” she still attended and said she was “pleasantly surprised by how lovely the place and people were” @MuslimCouncil pic.twitter.com/jQU7ZkH9vR
— Inzamam Rashid (@inzyrashid) February 18, 2018
East London Mosque was one of the original 20 Mosques that signed up to take part in the initiative. Last year more than 700 people visited and they’re hoping even more will visit this year.
“We are once again delighted to open up our doors to members of the public as part of Visit My Mosque national initiative by MCB,” said Dilowar Khan, Director of Engagement at East London Mosque. “We hold regular open days and Islamic exhibitions where visitors can tour the Mosque and centre and have the opportunity to watch the prayers live.”
He added: “Visits to our mosque have always been popular in building relations with people from other faith and non-faith communities.”
If you are hoping to visit or volunteer this weekend you can find your local participating mosque here and sign up to volunteer here.