A Northampton mosque is opening its doors to the public tomorrow as part of a bid to stamp out hate crime in the area, following a string of recent abuses suffered by on its worshippers.
People of all faiths and beliefs are being invited to Northampton Islamic Centre in Clare Street, The Mounts, tomorrow to learn about daily prayers, Islamic culture and to meet the mosque’s committee.
But the event has been prompted because many of its worshippers have suffered abuse at the hands of bigots in recent weeks.
One of the organisers, Councillor Muna Cali (Lab, Castle) said there have even been occasions where people have actually come into the mosque during prayers and stolen the shoes of the worshippers.
She said: “There has been name calling, people have been blocked coming into the car park, during prayers people have come in and stolen shoes, people have thrown garbage inside.
“Sometimes it is nasty stuff.”
Sadly, Councillor Cali said, the crimes are not always reported as it is tough to present evidence of the abuse to police.
But the open day tomorrow, between 10am, and 12, aims to broaden horizons about the Islamic faith as well as showing the range of activities that take place in the mosque.
Councillor Cali said: “There are all sorts of awareness events, celebrations, health activities, courses.
“Primarily it is a place of worship - but it is also a community venue.”
Councillor Enam Haque (Lab, Castle) who is also organising the event, said: “The committee want to encourage Muslims and non-Muslims to come along and view the inside of he mosque to see what activities we do.
“It’s about explaining what takes place, what happens inside.
“We also want to explain why we do certain things, like pray for example, and why women wear the hijab or burka.”
Recent news of terror reports across the world and the vote for Britain to leave the EU mean it can be a difficult time to be a Muslim in the UK, Councillor Haque said.
“But we are peaceful minded people,” he added. “Islam teaches peace, it teaches respect within society. These people carrying out these acts don’t speak for us.”