Anyone can become a Muslim and non-defective Mosques are open to all Muslims, but it is not everyday that lots of Mosques invite non-Muslims to come on in and look around. British Visit My Mosque Day is therefore a special day.
This national initiative on Feb 1st saw the British non-Muslim public invited and welcomed into many of the country’s Mosques so that they could see what really goes on inside…
…and what does go on inside a typical British Mosque?
Well congregational Salaat prayers 5 times per day does – and most Mosques have a Madrassa, however, contrary to the fantasies of Islamophobes everywhere a Madrassa is generally simply the Muslim equivalent of Sunday school or in some cases the equivalent of a Seminary. In larger better Mosques some social services are provided and some other social, cultural and religious activities are undertaken, and that is about it.
Sermons in most British Mosques rarely or never mention politics and when they do it tends to be from a very uncontroversial and totally mainstream perspective (telling people that they should vote Labour is generally as politically controversial as sermon’s get). British Muslims are just normal people. Indeed when polled British Muslims commonly describe identifying with their British identity more so than British non-Muslim communities (who tend to focus upon being English, Welsh or Scottish etc).
Visit My Mosque Day is undertaken to promote community understanding and to help disprove many of the irresponsible distortions that are promoted by the Media. However, in my view it is not enough and – if Islam is to ever escape from the position of being perceived as an unwelcome alien sect in Britain – every decent sized Mosque in the West should have some charitable and social facilities that are open all the time to non-Muslims as well as Muslims.
In this regards Muslims could learn a lot from those many Christian Churches that offer space for community activities in which all are welcome (of any faith or non). These services range from playgroups to coffee mornings and religion is not generally pushed at people attending – yet many, many people became Churchgoers as a result of being invited in for these other non-religious activities and services.
The truth is, however, that most Muslims in Britain are South Asians who have not yet really come to realize that they are part of a European nation now. They have failed to notice that being British and being Muslim at the same time don’t leave much room for transplanted South Asian village life, especially for those elements of them that are in-congruent not only with British values, but also clash with the values of genuine Islam.
I’m pretty sure that if British Muslims don’t do more to establish broader and deeper ties with the wider British community then it would not be surprising if they experience pogroms and other terrible problems later on.
There are just so many people out there who know next to nothing that is true about the Islam and its adherents, yet their minds have been filled with hate filled distortion after distortion. Each new half truth or lie supporting the previous one until they build into a mountain of negative emotions and wrong presuppositions against Muslims. This is a box of fireworks waiting to go off one day.
Each anti Muslim propaganda byte has been cunningly inserted into popular circulation by those who are waging a highly successful and effective propaganda war – one that has turned Muslims as a whole into global pariahs.
Good Muslims need to get together in effective ways and stand up and be counted, in every way embodying the opposite energy from that of the Kharijite terrorists. The only way that Muslims can overcome this situation is by an equally energetic, positive and productive reaction, putting out the fires of hate with the water of warmth, mercy and compassion.
Some Wise Observations…
“Muslims should be a beacon of light in the lands we live in.”
“We should be a spark of hope for others when they see: the dignity of our dress, the dignity of our behavior, the excellence of our schools, the professionalism of our healers, and people who are ethical at their core and won’t absolve themselves of their ethical responsibility.”
“Then, we will be a beacon of light- and people will say, ‘I want to be like those people.”
Hamza Yusuf Hanson
“If you desire to live such that your religion is safe and your portion is full and your honor is sound Guard your tongue; never mention another’s faults – For you too have faults and others too have tongues!
Take care the eye, when it reveals another’s faults – Saying, “O my eyes, remember the eyes of others!” Live treating well all others and avoid aggression – and should they oppress, repel it but with kindness.
Sidi Ahmad Zarruq
“One of the most important ways to conquer the hearts of people is that one always seeks an opportunity to do others good and once such an opportunity appears, makes use of it without delay. If only we could set our hearts on always doing good to others!”
“Good morals and sound conscience, and good manners and virtues, are like a currency universally acceptable and which is not affected by changes in the values of other means of exchange. Those provided with such qualities are like merchants with the highest credit who can do business wherever they want.”