Despite rising hate crime and recent attacks on mosques, thousands of Muslim volunteers across the UK have defied the odds and welcomed in members of the public today on #VisitMyMosque day.
Over 250 mosques from Inverness to Cornwall, and from Belfast to Ipswich, took part in a day that that saw neighbours and visitors welcomed with food, stalls, calligraphy, henna art and tour guides.
Last October the Home Office reported that religious hate crimes rocketed by 40% across England & Wales in just one year, with over half of attacks directed at Muslims, whilst two mosques in Newcastle and Manchester have been attacked in the last two months with Nazi swastika symbols graffitied on their premises by the perpetrators.
“I would get asked questions about whether Islam promotes terrorism – sometimes it hurts because you see how these stereotypes impact some individuals and wider society. That’s why I’m so passionate about speaking out and challenging the status quo such as through mosque open days” said Jayde Russell, former interfaith coordinator for Regent’s Park Mosque in London.
“Mosques in Bolton have been holding open days for decades. Welcoming our neighbours is part of Islamic tradition (Sunnah) and we are proud to be taking part in the national campaign once again,” said Imteyaz Ali, Secretary, Bolton Council for Mosques.
Earlier this week on Tuesday 26 February, Muslim faith leaders from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland visited churches, synagogues, mandirs and gurdwaras across the country in the lead up to Visit My Mosque Day.
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said, “Whatever faith or background you come from, care and cleanliness for our local environment is a unifying force that brings communities together.”
He continued, “Despite those who continue to fund hatred and sow division in our society, Muslims across the UK have shown today that regardless we will continue to do the opposite by building bridges and bring communities together. Thank you to everyone who took part today.”
Visit My Mosque is a national initiative facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations.
Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said, “This year we’re aiming to inspire half a million people to join forces to collect and safely dispose of litter from our streets, parks and beaches, through our annual Great British Spring Clean campaign. We are delighted for the support of over 250 mosques in Britain getting out early and hope to see many more turn out again in spring!”
This year’s initiative is supported by British Muslim-led charities Penny Appeal and Muslim Aid, as well as the grant-making charity the Aziz Foundation.
For further information, images or interviews, please email [email protected] or call 07932546995.
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. ‘Visit My Mosque’ is going green for its 5th year anniversary in 2019 by supporting the national charity #KeepBritainTidy (www.keepbritaintidy.org) for cleaner streets and local environments.
3. Visit My Mosque is facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest and most-diverse Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated mosques, educational and charitable associations.
4. This year’s initiative 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]
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079
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