It's festival season again in Edinburgh and for the second year running Edinburgh's central mosque offered those attending the world's premiere art and cultural fair a taste of Muslim cuisine. The Festive Cuisine Day (7 August), featuring a range of mouth-watering dishes from across the Muslim world, proved immensely popular attracting several hundreds of people. That the mosque is now listed in the official Edinburgh Fringe Festival Guide almost certainly helped to broaden awareness and interest in the event.
|`Every day's an open day at Edinburgh's largest mosque!'
Mosque and Islamic Centre of Edinburgh
`This is great!' and `You are so generous!' could be heard again and again from the throngs of festival goers who had decided to take up Edinburgh Mosque's offer of a complimentary lunch. With a selection of South Asian, Arab, North African and European (pizza!) to choose from there was something on offer to suit all tastes.
The food had been donated by local restaurants and grocers and their staff were on hand to help serve the crowds of people. `This is so important at this point in time
', noted a discerning middle-aged academic whilst tucking into his lamb biryani adding `
and is such a positive step towards bridge-building' before leaving to join his family who had wandered over into the Discover Islam exhibition hall which will be open to the public throughout the month of August.
Planned for the next three weekends as part of the 'Discover Islam' month are thematic days which will all be open to the general public and are free of charge:
Arabic coffee day (14 August)
Mint tea day (21 August)
Traditional sweets day (28 August).
Such important initiatives are unfortunately still few and far between. At a time when the Muslim community needs to be opening its doors to those with a genuine wish to interact and engage with us, perversely, so many mosques and Islamic organisations are developing a siege like mentality and bolting theirs doors shut. Edinburgh has taken a welcome first-step and demonstrated what can be done if communities pull together and we hope that others will now follow suit.