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As hate crimes rise, Muslim leaders take the lead in visiting Churches, Synagogues and Temples

Symbolic interfaith visits come in week where over 250 mosques open their doors to the public on #VisitMyMosque day.

Muslim faith leaders from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland took part in an act of interfaith solidarity by visiting Churches, Synagogues, Mandirs and Gurdwaras on Tuesday 26 February.

At a time when the country is polarised by Brexit and hate crime is on the rise, the symbolic action aims to emphasise the importance of communities of all faiths and none in coming together and putting aside differences for the common good.

Leaders from the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Council of Wales, Muslim Council of Scotland and Belfast Islamic Centre made the visits to Churches, Synagogues, Mandirs and Gurdwaras to share common experiences with their Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh neighbours.

The visits come in the week where over 250 mosques across the UK will be opening their doors to the public on #VisitMyMosque day on Sunday 3 March.

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said​ “It was a privilege to visit the West London Synagogue today. It was great to hear about the similarity of the Jewish religious services to my own faith as a Muslim, alongside the synagogue’s active outreach programmes for refugees and the homeless. I strongly encourage more of my fellow Muslims to visit other faith institutions as this will only make our bonds stronger as we have more in common than what divides us.”

After the Muslim Council of Scotland’s visit to Glasgow Gurdwara, a Gurdwara volunteer commented that, “Sikhism is a religion of compassion and of sharing. Our Langar (open kitchen) is free for everyone in the community to come along and share a meal together. We are always happy for people to come along to the Gurdwara and we enjoy sharing our faith with them’.

Clock-wise from Top-Left: West London Synagogue visited by the Muslim Council of Britain, Agape Methodist Centre visited by Belfast Islamic Centre, Glasgow Gurdwara visited by Muslim Council of Scotland, and the Shree Swaminarayan Temple Cardiff visited by the Muslim Council of Wales

Reverend David Compton of the Methodist Agape Centre in Belfast, who hosted representatives from Belfast Islamic Centre, spoke of the importance of going outside our own communities to build bridges and friendships between faith communities, in order to break down stereotypes and to build strong societies.

Rabbi Helen Freeman of West London Synagogue said, “We value the building of bridges of understanding with those of all faiths. So it was my particular pleasure to welcome visitors from the Muslim Council of Britain as we look forward to celebrating ‘Visit My Mosque’ day on Sunday 3rd March”.

Dr Harriet Crabtree, Executive Director of The Inter Faith Network for the UK said, “Mutual exchange of visits to community places of worship is an important part of building and strengthening good inter faith relations. These visits arranged in connection with Visit My Mosque are a significant demonstration of this.”

Mosques across the UK from Inverness to Cornwall, and from Belfast to Ipswich, will be opening their doors to the public this Sunday 3 March. For more information, visit www.visitmymosque.org

For further information, images or interviews, please email [email protected] or phone 0845 26 26 786

 [ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

  1. #VisitMyMosque day is a national initiative where over 250 mosques across the UK are holding open days on 3 March 2019 to welcome in their neighbours of all faiths and none. Further information at www.visitmymosque.org
  2. Symbolic interfaith visits on 26 February included:
    a) West London Synagogue visited by Muslim Council of Britain
    b) Glasgow Gurdwara visited by Muslim Council of Scotland
    c) Shree Swaminarayan Temple Cardiff visited by Muslim Council of Wales
    d) Agape Methodist Centre visited by Belfast Islamic Centre
  3. #VisitMyMosque day is facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations. Further information is online at ​www.visitmymosque.org
  4. This year’s #VisitMyMosque day is supported by British Muslim-led charities Penny Appeal and Muslim Aid, as well as the grant-making charity the Aziz Foundation.
  5. Visit My Mosque started with about 20 participating mosques in 2015 and has grown to over 250 mosques in 2019.
  6. The participating mosques represent the diversity in Islamic traditions, with mosques from a wide variety of Islamic schools of thought and traditions taking part, including some of the country’s largest mosques seasoned in doing outreach activities, as well as smaller mosques holding open days for the first time.
  7. For further information please contact:
    Tel: 0845 26 26 786 or email [email protected]
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