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.”


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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

PHOTOS: Thousands raised for cancer at second annual Gala for Hope

Victoria Fire Department’s fundraiser a success ahead of Ride to Conquer Cancer

Crews respond to near drowning at Thetis Lake

Man taken to hospital after calls come in of drowning in progress

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Wooldog among mysteries uncovered with powerful UVic microscope

Finding ‘Mutton,’ a dog lost in a Smithsonian drawer for 150 years

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read