People of all faiths and no faith at all descended upon City Mosque Preston as mosque’s across Lancashire opened their doors to the wider community.
The open day on Sunday (February 18) - styled as #VisitMyMosque - saw the mosque in North Road encourage members of Preston’s community to come along for a brew and samosa and get a hands-on understanding of what life is really like behind the front doors.
This reporter was greeted at City Mosque by secretary Mohammed Faisal and Mosque ambassador Zakaria Horne.
Mohammed, who lives in Fulwood but is originally from Huddersfield, said: “The day is about opening our doors, welcoming and answering everyone’s questions to give them a better understanding of Islam.
“Turnout has been brilliant; it’s been a brilliant and wonderful day for the mosque.”
This was the first open day for City Mosque, which is only three years old after the building previously operated as a church.
Zakaria, who converted to Islam 15 years ago, said: “Now that we have paid off the cost of buying the building, we want to be for the benefit of the whole of Preston’s community and give something back to Preston.
“We want the people of Preston to tell us about anything we can help them with.
“The people of Preston have so welcomed us and supported us since we’ve been here.”
Joanna Rozborska, a 25-year-old practising Christian, was one of the many non-Muslims to visit City Mosque on the day.
“I’ve never been to a Mosque before, I was curious about what they are like on the inside,” said Joanna, who is originally from Poland but now lives in Preston.
“You can understand so much more by seeing everything. Everyone has been so helpful and they are so welcoming.”
Preston Mayor Brian Rollo was also in attendance. Coun Rollo said: “It’s a lovely reuse of the building and lovely use of the building full stop.”
For mosque secretary Mohammed, the day was also about correcting misconceptions of Islam that members of the public might hold.
“Islam is a religion of peace. There’s a lot of things happening around the world that aren’t Islam,” said the 41-year-old.
“A lot of people will have questions on these issues and this is a great day where people can come and ask any question that they really want to, and they will get a straight answer.”
As well as asking questions, the public got the chance to witness the call to prayer - something that happens five times a day, every day.
This reporter experienced the second call of the day, which was a rather spiritual three or so minutes and a real life experience for anyone open to learning about different cultures and communities.
The Post can confirm that plans are already in place to welcome the community again at next year’s open day.