A national campaign encouraging community members to visit their local mosque to kickstart a dialogue about what work they are doing and promote cross-cultural integration is coming to Burnley with everyone urged to #VisitMyMosque.
"We want to engage local communities in terms of promoting what's happening in our mosques, what work they're doing in terms of community engagement and cohesion, and generally [allowing] different communities to come in and see the mosque," said Abdul Haleem, Director and Project Manager at Participation Works NW at Burnley Arts Centre on Queens Park Road.
"You can come when prayer's taking place so you can see how Muslims pray, you can have a tour of the different areas of the mosque and learn about their significance: we want to share a dialogue."
The programme, which will see the Jamia Masjid Ibrahim on Clegg Street in Burnley open its doors to anyone and everyone on Sunday, February 18th from 12:30pm to 4pm, aims to bust any myths surrounding mosques and publicise the fact that the institutions are open to all. There will be free parking available and informative leaflets provided.
"What I've found is that a lot of people aren't aware that they can pop into a mosque," Abdul said. "They feel they're closed buildings, but they're more than happy to engage. The negative perception is a fear of the unknown. They're open at all times and if you do come, they're quite inviting and they'll answer any questions you have and show you the building.
"Communities share similar spaces and they've all got common aims and objectives in life," he added. "All religions are about peace, so this initiative will take away any misconceptions people have and they can see what's going on.
"Hearing something and seeing something are two different things."