Let’s face it. Muslims do not have a good reputation in the media nowadays. When we read the papers or listen to speeches, Islam is often portrayed in a negative light. Muslims are largely assumed to be potential terrorists. What is worse is that politicians with harsh views on minorities such as Donald Trump are normalizing bigotry.
Segregating people is easy. There’s ‘us’ and ‘them’. People who belong and people who don’t fit in. Those whom we trust and those whom we fear. Faces we can trust and those we fear and avoid.
The Muslim Council of Britain aspires to change this. They want to connect communities to build trust and understanding. On 5th February, 150 mosques across Britain will welcome everyone for Visit My Mosque Day. You can search for their nearest participating mosque at www.visitmymosque.org/find.
This is the perfect opportunity to find out more about your Muslim neighbors. Look forward to warm hugs, tea and biscuits. Listen to stories about their community efforts – from supporting food banks and assisting the economically vulnerable, to providing free meals for the homeless and caring for the elderly and sick. Feel free to ask as many questions as you want about Muslims and Islam.
Last year, hundreds of comments were left by visitors on social media and at #VisitMyMosque. They included:
“Diane and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Warrington Islamic Society and Mosque,” Emily Goodler
“Such an interesting visit to Edinburgh Central Mosque today – thanks to all for such a warm welcome (and scrum my food),” Isla Jack
“Good to see the Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner and many residents inc. those from other faiths supporting #VisitMyMosque in Camberley,” Rodney Bates.
At the end of the day, maybe you will ask yourself, “Are we really that different?”