One of Preston’s leading mosque’s has opened its doors to the wider community as it continues in its efforts to promote a greater understand of Islam in the city.
City Mosque Preston held its Mosque Open Day on Sunday to encourage members of the city’s community to come along and enjoy a coffee and a samosa while asking any questions they may have about Islam.
It was a fitting end to the city’s Interfaith Week, held every year in the week after Remembrance Sunday to focus on inter-faith co-operation.
It also followed on from the mosque’s first ever open day in February.
Secretary of City Mosque Preston, Mohammed Faisal, explained how it was a bit of a “mad dash” to get the day organised in time to close out the week.
He said: “The open day in February was a great success with some 500 people coming through our doors.
“The follow up day is to provide further answers to the questions that people have about Islam and why we believe in what we believe.”
Fulwood-resident Faisal joked: “We are not aliens, you know, just human beings with a particular life and religion that we follow.
“Some 16 per cent of Preston’s faith community follows Islam. It’s a pretty chunky amount.
“We should open our doors and let people in just to get a general feel of mosque.
“Some people haven’t ever been in a mosque – and maybe that is because they just haven’t ever been given the chance to visit one.”
One of the visitors to the mosque was Prestonian Brian Grimshaw.
Brian said: “I had just dropped my wife off in town and came here. I thought why not?
“I have a curiosity. I am an atheist but I am also a humanist.
“I like to understand other people, other faiths, other beliefs. Just to get on with other people.”
The Post was at City Mosque Preston to witness Salat al-zuhr – the midday prayer – which was respectfully observed by all visitors.
“It’s a very democratic process,” explained mosque treasurer Zakaria Horne.
“Prayer can be led by anyone in the congregation.”
The mosque states that it has a daily congregation of about 50 to 100 people and on Friday prayers it attracts more than 300 worshippers.
Zakaria, who converted to Islam 15 years ago, added: “We are here to answer any questions.
“At February’s open day we had more than 500 people come through our doors, including 327 non-Muslims who were curious about the mosque.
“A number have since converted and we hold coffee mornings every Monday for them.
“We are a strong part of the faith community and we are in a position to step out and offer more.
“Interfaith Weeks are the beginning of Preston realising how it’s not an accident it was called ‘Priest’s tun’. It’s origins are in the faiths.
“Faith has a role to play in underpinning community action.”
Zakaria, who was part of the team that made Garstang the first Fairtrade town in the world, added: “Preston is a faith-based community and Muslims are as active as any other faith in the town and seeking to be more active then we already are.”