Open Doors, Open CommunitiesMonday 19th February 2018
Last Sunday was ‘Visit My Mosque day”, this is the fourth year that this global initiative has taken place in Britain. Aiming to welcome and unite communities, more than 200 mosques around the country opened their doors to neighbours of all faiths and of none.
One of the Mosques that opened its doors was the Jamia Masjid Ibrahim Mosque in Burnley, this was visited by Fr Peter Hopkinson and he has written about his visit:
This initiative by the Muslim Council of Great Britain has continued to help the building of bridges between Mosques and their neighbours, since it was initiated back in 2015. Year on year, since 2015, the number of Mosques opening their doors on this Sunday has continued to grow, with 80 opening their doors in 2016, and again a further rise in 2017 with 150 Mosques opening their doors, across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The aim is to promote friendship and the opportunity simply to talk and share.
This was certainly my experience when I visited the Jamia Masjid Ibrahim Mosque, in Burnley, last Sunday. As I entered the mosque, there were two welcomers who were so friendly and warm, it was a wonderful taste of what lay ahead during the afternoon. Along with a great welcome, everyone was presented with a gift, wonderful food and hospitality. There was a marvellous response from the local Community. As people mingled and talked, it was great to see and hear the chatter which was peppered with laughter and the voices of the young people and children who were present. As part of the afternoon, there was a presentation which gave some insights and helped to further an understanding of Islam; a warm atmosphere ensured that people could ask any questions or make observations too.
A common theme was thanks, thanks that the mosque had opened their doors and invited the community in and emphasised the common desire to promote and build cohesive community, where the walls of misunderstanding are knocked down and people simply seek to live together, respecting difference but recognising what we all hold in common as we build a caring society for all.
During a conversation, a member of the Mosque mentioned how he was pleased to see so many visitors and that there should be more open days, building on the annual opening, and the year-round visits which are made by the different schools in the area.
A valued spinoff of the day is the request that more and more Churches open their doors in return, to invite members from the mosques and wider community to visit too.
Special thanks must go to all the Mosques who opened their doors and invited all to come, see and share.