Visit My Mosque day, a national initiative organized by Muslim Council of Britain, drew support from Church of England leaders, British politicians, and hundreds of everyday Britons eager to show solidarity with British Muslims.
Now in its third year, event organizers claim this Sunday’s event was their largest ever. Mosques from a wide array of Islamic traditions and schools of thought participated. Leaders took questions from the public about Islamic law and teachings. There was a special emphasis on showcasing how British Muslims use mosque communities to organize social action projects, like blood drives, hospice visits, and food collections for the homeless.
People visit Finsbury Park Mosque during Visit My Mosque Day held by Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in London, United Kingdom on February 5, 2017.
In the weeks leading up to Visit My Mosque day, several mosques also arranged interfaith exchanges with other faith communities in their neighborhoods ― attending church services and participating in peace walks.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, visited a mosque in north London. He issued a challenge to President Donald Trump, whose recent executive order on refugees and immigrants has been criticized for unfairly targeting Muslims.
The Muslim Council of Britain’s Secretary General Harun Khan said that he was moved by all those came out to show solidarity with Muslims.
“As the world recoils at President Trump’s so called ‘Muslim Ban’ and the mass killing at a mosque in Canada, [Visit My Mosque day] is a much needed antidote to the poisonous atmosphere we find ourselves in,” Khan told The Guardian. “The British public, Muslim and non-Muslim, have an opportunity to come together and renew bonds of friendship.”
Secretary of East London Management Committee Ayub Khan said that right wing media are circulating propaganda news to demean Islam. Visit My Mosque programme will help to lessen the impact in general people. He expressed his gratitude to those who visited mosques.
Speaking at the national launch event in Khizra Mosque, Manchester, Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General Harun Khan, said, “We hope that Visit My Mosque Day will become a great British institution. So many British Muslims opened the doors to their mosques and their hearts to thousands of fellow Britons keen to reach out to local Muslims and find out about their faith. We were also moved by the record numbers who came in solidarity to Muslims and the hostile atmosphere they find themselves in.”
“Now more than ever, we need initiatives like #VisitMyMosque as antidotes to the poisonous atmosphere of fear and distrust rippling through society in the wake of recent events.”
With over 150 mosques taking part – almost double the number that took part last year – many faith, civil and political leaders took part. The Bishop of Liverpool and of Salford are among the main faith leaders who attended. More MPs than ever before attended a mosque open days in their local constituencies. They include minister Ben Gummer, leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry and numerous other MPs including David Lammy, Gareth Thomas, Patrick Grady, Kirsty Blackman, Mike Gapes, Chi Onuwarah, Neil Coyle, Maggie Throup, Wes Streeting, Ian Lucas, Kelvin Hopkins, Stephen Timms, Jeff Smith and Stephen McPartland.