SHAFAQNA- THE doors of the Manchester Road Mosque were opened to the public on Sunday as part of the scheme to foster community relations.
Visit My Mosque day saw 80 mosques across the country inviting people in to find more out the religion.
Throughout the day, more than 100 people visited the mosque and were given a tour of the building and were also allowed to view a prayer session.
Community leader Enam Choudhary said: “The aim of the day is to show the people of Swindon what is inside this building and what we do.
“I am happy that so many people have come along today. It was due to start at midday but there was a queue at half 11.
“We often invite schools and community groups to have a look around but not on this scale.
“The aim is to build community cohesion. There are people of all faiths and no faith here today.”
Recent world events have led to hostility towards the Muslim community in some parts of the country but Enam says schemes such as Visit My Mosque will help to dispel many of the myths about the religion.
He said: “It gives us the opportunity to show the real side of Islam. Bad things have been done in the name of Islam but these are only a few people out of 1.6 billion Muslims.
“We all condemn what has been done and it is not real Islam. Showing the good we do in the community is what we want to do.”
As well as members of the public, a number of local councillors and other dignitaries were invited.
Among them was South Swindon MP Robert Buckland who said the day highlighted the cohesion between different communities in the town.
He said: “I am delighted to have been invited here. It’s a really positive step to open their doors to the public to show what they do for Swindon.
“Anything which helps to increase social cohesion is bound to be a good thing. I have always thought Swindon has led the way when it comes to people from different backgrounds mixing.”