12 January 2017
In recent weeks, mosques across the UK have been extending the hand of friendship and dialogue to their neighbours of other faiths through a range of interfaith exchanges and visits to each other’s places of worship.
The events ranged from observing church services to peace walks to interfaith conferences. At the same time, partnering organizations are also being invited to attend a ‘Visit My Mosque’ open day on Sunday 5 February 2017 run by their nearest mosque.
“Dialogue is so important in bringing communities together – it demonstrates our many commonalities and the many aspects of how we can work together,” said Usman Choudry, Cheadle Muslim Association (CMA), speaking after a visit to the United Reform Church in Heald Green shortly after National Interfaith Week.
Dr Mohammed Mozaffari, Chairman, Leeds Muslim Youth Group, said, “When working in the field of interfaith, it is important to develop yourself and your community to understand and accept plurality. One such way is to visit and meet people of faith at their religious centers and places of worship.”
Reverend David Tuck, Interim Priest-in-charge at St. Alban’s Church, North Harrow, said, “We always look forward to Muslims from the SICM community in Harrow joining us at our church and sharing in our joy over the Christmas period. This was the eighth year in a row and this visit caps off a year where we have been able to strengthen the relationship between our church and the mosque through a number of joint activities.”
Several mosques taking part in the interfaith exchanges will also be hosting a #Visit My Mosque day on Sunday 5th February 2017. The national initiative will see over 100 mosques holding an open day, inviting in neighbours of all faiths and none to share tea, cake and an insight into a busy Muslim centre of worship. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions they may have about Muslims or the general faith of Islam
The Secretary General of the MCB, Harun Khan, said, “Faith plays a major role in many people’s lives, like our Prime Minister, and it is imperative that we learn about one another, so that we can all grow together, respect each other’s beliefs or non-beliefs, and strengthen community relations. Muslims are often seen negatively through the media or government policies, but we, as Muslims, want people to get to know us truly, and we hope initiatives such as interfaith exchanges or #VisitMyMosque day will do justice to that purpose.”
#VisitMyMosque day is a national initiative facilitated by the MCB where over 100 mosques across the UK are holding open days to welcome in their neighbours from all faiths and none. The next Visit My Mosque day will take place on Sunday 5 February 2017. Participating mosques are listed on www.visitmymosque.org.
The following groups or congregations have taken part in a recent, or are planning an upcoming interfaith exchange (Please email [email protected] for further details):
Islamic Association of Lincoln, Orchard St, Lincoln
Cheadle Mosque, 377 Wilmslow Rd, Heald Green, Cheadle
Shia Ithna’ashari Community of Middlesex, 39 Gloucester Rd, North Harrow
Finsbury Park Mosque, 7-11 St Thomas’s Rd, London
Leeds Muslim Youth Group, 35 Hanover Square, Leeds
Maidenhead Mosque, Holmanleaze, Maidenhead
Craven Arms Islamic Centre, Newton Street, Craven Arms, Shropshire
KSIMC of Birmingham, 17 Clifton Rd, Birmingham
South London Islamic Centre, 8 Mitcham Lane, London