Victoria, MINA – There is still a strong need to combat Islamophobia in Australia, with the increasing presence of far-right white supremacist movements across the world, the vice-president of the Islamic Council of Victoria says, as quoted from the Age on Tuesday.
The group’s Mohamed Mohideen said in 2017 he had started an annual mosque open day to “break down myths and negative publicity” about the Muslim community.
Prayer time at the Australian Bosnian Islamic Centre in Deer Park. The Mosque was taking part in the Islamic Council of Victoria’s Mosque Open Day on Sunday.
The motto of “open doors, open hearts and open minds” rang true on Sunday, as Victorian mosques opened their doors to the masses to break down stereotypes and mis-truth about Islam.
With barbecues on and henna at the ready, 15 mosques from across Melbourne and regional Victoria took part, welcoming hundreds of people for tours and talks about the religion.
“We wanted people to come in, visit a mosque, meet people and realize Muslims are no different to any other Australians,” he said, noting that the places of worship are open to people from different religious or cultural backgrounds year-round.
“You’re most welcome to go to any mosque, any time and ask any questions. No one is going to get offended it’s better to get your concerns answered than just keeping it inside.
Australian Bosnian Islamic Centre secretary Alen Havic said attendees enthusiastically took the opportunity to “see what the mosque was all about”.
“It was about building bridges, it’s about combating those negative stereotypes,” Mr Havic said. “It was interesting for them to see.”
The second anniversary of the Christchurch terror attack, where 51 people were killed by an Australian gunman at the Linwood Islamic Centre and Al Noor mosque, falls on Monday. Victorian mosques on Sunday held prayers for the people of Christchurch.
Earlier this month, a 27-year-old man was charged in New Zealand with making a threat to kill after allegedly posting a online threat against the Al Noor Mosque.
“Unfortunately Islamophobia is still here, there are still people who are not willing to accept a faith that is different to theirs or person with a different skin colour,” Mr Mohideen said.
“But there is lots of change and positives: people who come to our mosque say, ‘we always used to pass the mosque and had this fear to enter, but once we came in and saw it, we’re now regulars and know the community.’
“We hope and pray that by educating people, we can remove this hatred that could be there, and we hope and pray that nothing like (the Christchurch attack) will happen in Australia. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)