UK Mosque to open doors over Islamophobia events
Muslims in the United Kingdom are going to open the gates of mosques to the public in an effort to fight rising Islamophobia.
More than 80 Muslim places of worship will participate in the "Visit My Mosque Day" on February 7.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) says the event is an opportunity for British Muslims to tackle misconceptions.
“It’s an opportunity for Muslims in the UK to put themselves out there and reach out to their local neighbors,” an MCB spokesperson told al Jazeera.
“The day will allow for people to meet face-to-face, get to know each other and tackle misconceptions”, he added.
Visitors of all faiths and none will be welcomed and able to ask their questions, and go on guided tours and have tea and snacks with volunteers and those who run the mosques.
Organizers hope that the occasion will lead to better understanding and more integration.
An open-door mosque event was also organized last year in Britain with only 20 or so mosques participating; and earlier in January, France held a similar open-door event to encourage integration.
Now Catherine Shakdam, programs director of Shafaqna Institute for Middle East Studies in London, says government policies are directed at the wrong people and that they are thus allowing for more hate to be generated.
Muslims constitute 2.7 million of the UK’s population of 64 million. Around half of British Muslims are born in the UK.
A significant rise has been seen in UK Islamophobia following the Paris terror attacks last November. The Metropolitan Police, which is responsible for Greater London, has reported a sharp increase in hate crimes against Muslims.
The month of December 2015 alone recorded more than a 158 offences in London; three times higher than the 50 hate crimes recorded in December 2014.