Mosques all over Britain are inviting non-Muslims this weekend in an effort to explain Islam “beyond the hostile headlines” amid a surge in Islamophobic sentiments across the West.
This weekend, over 80 British mosques are offering tours and tea as part of the Visit My Mosque Day event organized by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
According to the MCB, an umbrella body for 500 mosques, schools and associations in Britain, the event aims to “provide a platform for Muslims to reach out to fellow Britons and explain their faith and community beyond the hostile headlines.”
Two of the UK’s oldest mosques, the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, Surrey, and the Abdullah Quilliam Mosque in Liverpool are participating in this year’s event. Mosques in the cities of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow ,Cardiff, Belfast, Plymouth and Canterbury are also involved in the initiative.
“Local mosques will also be inviting interfaith leaders, and all will be asked to come together to demonstrate unity and solidarity during what has been a tense time for faith communities,” the MCB said.
During the open day event, introductions on Islam and explanations on community activities will be offered as well as opportunities to see prayers and guided tours.
Last year, hundreds of people took part in a similar event, held in some 20 mosques.
Based on figures released by the Metropolitan police, there has been a 70 percent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the 12 months leading to July 2015.
Despite Muslims’ efforts in Europe and the US to tackle Islamophobia, the phenomenon seems to be on the rise.
The far-right anti-Islam movement PEGIDA organized several rallies in the continent, where demonstrators rejected entry and presence of refugees fleeing foreign-backed militancy in Syria and the rest of the region.
Thousands of people took part in the anti-Muslim demo in the eastern German city of Dresden alone.
Miles further, around 5,000 people participated in a PEGIDA-inspired march in Prague, while a large number also turned up for a similar event in Amsterdam.
More protests were also held in the northern French port of Calais, the Irish capital Dublin, and the UK’s Birmingham.