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Muslim Aid was one of the key partners with the Visit My Mosque campaign on Sunday, when around 250 mosques across the country opened their doors to people of all faiths to build and strengthen bonds across communities. Muslim Aid staff and volunteers were present in town and city mosques around the UK along with representatives of the mosques and other Muslim organisations.
“We are very proud to embrace this initiative, which has forged greater understanding between neighbouring communities across the country since its inception.”, said Muslim Aid Chief Executive Jehangir Malik OBE.
“Our participation has enabled us to tell our neighbours about the generosity of Muslim people to charitable causes both at home and abroad.”
The holy month of Ramadan is now around the corner. It is a big time of giving by the Muslim community. It is estimated that some £100 million is raised in the month of Ramadan for charitable causes. (This year Muslim Aid will focus on targeting funds where the “need is greatest.”)
Organised by the Muslim Council of Britain, Visit My Mosque was launched with eager volunteers sweeping up litter in an early spring clean of areas of London, partnered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. Celebrating its fifth year, other sponsors include the AZIZ Foundation and Penny Appeal.
The locations where Muslim Aid had a presence included the Birmingham Central Mosque, Carshalton Mosque, Cheadle Mosque, and Leeds Grand Mosque as well as Finsbury Park Mosque, Havering Mosque, and the Morden Islamic Centre. In some Muslim Aid staff ran stalls and in others they addressed the gatherings. Some mosques put on guided tours or exhibitions around Islam, served food, or showed recent charity events undertaken.
‘Visit my mosque provides the Muslim community with an opportunity to start conversations and develop relationships,” said Altaf Kazi, Muslim Aid’s Head of UK Programmes. “Having taken part in the last three, I developed new friendships and an appreciation of what the diversity of our community looks like.”
Visit my mosque has attracted increasing numbers of curious non-Muslim British people over the years and been supported with visits of high profile politicians. This year, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott MP visited Finsbury Park mosque along with Harun Khan of the Muslim Council of Britain. The campaign has come a long way since 2015 when the first 20 mosques took part. But poll figures last year showed 90% of Britons had never visited a mosque.