SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) – Reaching out to Non-Muslims in the UK, British mosques around the country will open their doors on Sunday, February 1, to the public in a bid to ease tensions and show the true-face of Islam in the wake of Paris attacks.
“Members of the community are there to get to know one another better and some may be on hand to answer questions about Muslims and Islam where this is possible,” the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
Organized by the MCB, the event will be attended by religious leaders to show solidarity and unity amid rising anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe.
Besides discussions, tea and cake will be served to attendants during the open day.
According to the Muslim Council, the event “is part of a national initiative by Muslims to reach out to fellow Britons following tensions around terrorism.”
The event was praised by UK Muslims who deemed it a chance to view Islam in a clearer way.
“Love the idea and hope it makes people think again,” Monir Ali, a British Muslim, wrote to MCB Facebook page.
Other Muslims suggested making it a quarterly event to reflect the spirit of Islam.
“Brilliant idea, should make it a quarterly thing. So they can experience Ramadan, Qurbani [`Eid Al-Adha] etc,” another British Muslim posted.
The mosques’ open day comes three weeks after Paris bloody attacks that left 17 killed, including two Muslim.
Seeing the Charlie Hebdo attack as a betrayal of Islamic faith, leaders from Muslim countries and organizations have joined worldwide condemnation of the attack, saying the attackers should not be associated with Islam.
The hashtag #VisitMyMosque”, which was created to promote the event, has been trending on Twitter since its launch earlier this month.
“#visitmymosque a wonderful idea,” Bilal Sarwar wrote in Twitter.
Another user, Dr. Sarah Hackett @SarahEHackett, posted: “A truly wonderful initiative! #VisitMyMosque @MuslimCouncl.”
Finsbury Park Mosque, Balham Mosque, Baab-ul-Ilm, Didsbury Mosque, European Islamic Centre, Goodwood Islamic Centre and Hyderi Islamic Centre are among the mosque that will host the open day.
The list also includes Khizra Mosque, Muslim Welfare House Sheffield, Neeli Mosque, Tooting Islamic Centre, Zainabiya Islamic Centre as well as other mosques that will open their doors next Sunday.
“Hyderi Islamic Centre shall be holding their #VisitMyMosque day on Sunday 1st February 2015 between 11:30am – 3pm,” Hyderi Islamic Centre said in a statement.
“All are welcome to come and meet with members of our local community. Afternoon congregational prayers shall also be taking place.”
Next February’s open day is not the first to be organized by UK mosques.
Over the past years, similar events were organized to dispel misconception surrounding the religious minority.
Two week ago, the MCB organized an “interfaith unity gathering” at London Central mosque in Regent’s Park where UK religious leaders gathered to show unity among the country’s faiths.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.
In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.
Reflecting a deep-rooted relationship, a synagogue in the northern British city of Bradford has appointed, this month, its first Muslim member, in a decision passed unanimously by its ruling body.