Ismail Mohamed Nur, Imam of the mosque, speaks to the crowd Saturday afternoon during Open Mosque Day. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

For five hours on Saturday, the public was invited into mosques around B.C. to take part in Open Mosque Day – a B.C.-wide initiative to bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.

RELATED: Open mosque day is Saturday

The Masjid-Al Iman mosque in Victoria had an estimated 1,000 people show up for an opportunity to learn more about Islam, take a tour of the mosque, receive a henna tattoo and try on a hijab.

More importantly, according to the mosque’s imam Ismail Mohamed Nur, it brought people in to have conversations and get to know members of the Muslim community – nearly 3,000 of which live in Greater Victoria.

“It’s been great, amazing. It’s really heart-warming to see so many people coming out on a Saturday. It is really lovely to see,” said Imam Ismail Mohamed Nur.

Mohamed Nur notes that Victoria is not immune to racism and bigotry but believes that knowledge and understanding is the cure.

“I think the key is education. People, I believe, are racist because they don’t understand a different culture or different religion. That bigotry comes out of a place of fear and the best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here,” said Mohamed Nur.

RELATED: Walk a mile in her hijab event encourages religious tolerance

Hate crimes in Canada shot up by 47 per cent in 2017, according to Statistics Canada figures, the worst year since the federal government began tracking hate crime-related data in 2009.

The groups worst hit were Muslims, with a 207-per-cent increase.

The B.C. Muslim Association – which spearheaded the Open Mosque Day with local support – felt opening mosque doors and providing education about their religion to non-Muslims will help to curb the ignorance and fear.

“I was just encouraging people to ask as many questions as they want. There is no such thing as an inappropriate question,” said Mohamed Nur.

RELATED: City of Victoria shares launch of Ramadan with local imam

“In a world with ever-growing stigma and confusion around Islam and Muslims, we want to open our doors, our minds and our hearts to everyone around us, irrespective of their background and build a stronger community.”

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


The Open Mosque Day event was held in conjunction with the B.C. Muslim Association and saw mosques across B.C. opening their doors to the public as an opportunity to build community and to teach and answer questions about Islam, the mosque and the Muslim community. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Sami Muntaser, education director for the Masjid Al-Iman mosque, and Victoria City Councillor Sharmarke Dubow share conversation at Open Mosque Day in Victoria. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Nawab Shah, fundraiser for the Masjid Al-Iman mosque, gives a tour of the mosque during Open Mosque Day in Victoria Saturday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Just Posted

B.C. Transit saves $300,000, scores 28 used fareboxes idle in California

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

PHOTOS: City of Colwood hosts a ‘heartwarming start’ to the holidays

Colwood Christmas Light Up Celebration sees surge in attendance

Tenants above Wellburns uncertain after ‘nightmare’ sewage flood ousts them indefinitely

Tenants evacuated after sewage flooded basement of century-old building

Victoria cycling community raises concern over new bike lane designs

High traffic along a corridor needs to be considered, Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition says

Hundreds of students gather at Government House to decorate Christmas Trees

The annual tradition let Grade 2 and 3 students help celebrate for the holidays

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Camosun College for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Most Read