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Feb 03 2015

#VisitMyMosque in Harrow – A Roaring Success

20150203_visitmymosqueOn Sunday 1 February, local Muslims from the Shia Ithna’ashari Community of Middlesex (SICM) in North Harrow organised an open day from 2 to 4pm alongside mosques across the country in line with the Muslim Council of Britain’s national #VisitMyMosque day (see http://www.mcb.org.uk/visitmymosque/ for further details).

The ongoing outreach from the community at SICM was praised by the local MP Gareth Thomas: ” It is great to see this fantastic work done by the Muslim community here in my constituency – and I’m looking forward to the vision of the Salaam Centre becoming a reality”, referring to the new building project of a community centre open-to-all that is currently undergoing construction at the site.

Zahra Khimji, the outreach officer at SICM explained that “the purpose of the event was to reach out and build bridges, encourage deeper religious understanding and above all, to provide the opportunity to for more people to get to know one another.”

“Days like today play an important role towards educating us about each others’ cultures and faiths”, the local prospective parliamentary candidate Uma Kumaran pointed out as she praised the #VisitMyMosque campaign as “an excellent national initiative helping to bring people together and furthering community cohesion.”

The event consisted of short speeches about what the Muslim community in North Harrow does, after which Reverend David Tuck from St. Alban’s Church added a few words of praise for the community: “Our relationship with the Muslim community here stretches back years, and we are proud to be working together. In fact I consider many of the community here to be my dear friends.”

Everyone had the opportunity to ask questions and get to know one another over the British tradition of having a cup of tea and whilst discussions continued for over an hour, two incidents are worthy of note:

  • A Christian mother and child took a picture with a Muslim mother and child, so the young child could do a “show and tell” at school the next day about the #VisitMyMosque day
  • Judy, who goes to a Jewish school, told BBC Asian Network (radio) that she would let her friends know that “it was a really interesting experience and they should go to a mosque themselves and find what Islam is about; and not just believe what the media tells them”

During the day, “one could feel the excitement over the Salaam Centre project”, Cecil Reid from the local Hatch End Reform Jewish community (Kol Chai) said. He came away “earnestly hoping that the proposed collaborations…will bear fruit”.

The Reverend John Swarbrick, Minister of North Harrow Methodist church, considered that “it was a good opportunity for people from different faith groups to get together, and for North Harrow residents to learn more about the hopes and aspirations of the Muslim community for their new building and current progress on its construction.”

“This open day is part of a series of outreach work done by our organisation in the past few months,” Executive Committee member Muhammad Asaria explained. “This has included a range of interfaith and social action programmes with the local community. The next such session is an interfaith dessert bake-off on February 7th at 2-4pm, co-organised by North Harrow Methodist Church, St. Alban’s Church and our community.”

Photos: see here

Radio report from BBC Asian Network: see here

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