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#VisitMyMosque Day: Gants Hill mosque welcomes Redbride Mayor and Ilford North MP

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 February 2018

Visit My Mosque Day at Redbridge Islamic Centre. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar

Visit My Mosque Day at Redbridge Islamic Centre. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar

Archant

A Gants Hill mosque joined more than 200 others in opening its doors to the non-Muslim community yesterday (Sunday, February 18).

Visitor Susan Ruckes at Visit My Mosque at Redbridge Islamic Centre, Woodford Avenue. Photo: Aaron WalawalkarVisitor Susan Ruckes at Visit My Mosque at Redbridge Islamic Centre, Woodford Avenue. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar

Redbridge Islamic Centre, in Woodford Road, took part in the third annual Visit My Mosque Day, this weekend.

The initiative is led by the Muslim Council of Britain, which last week released poll results revealing that 90pc of Britons have never set foot inside a mosque.

Around 100 worshippers were in attendance at the mosque to pray, greeting visitors with smiles and handshakes.

They hurriedly entered the prayer room, after performing ablutions, lining up in rows along a green carpet with a repeating, dome-shaped orange print.

Leading the prayer was Imam Mubarak Ullah, who is originally from Bangladesh and has been at the Gants Hill mosque for more than 13 years.

In a hall next door, guests could speak to volunteers, and read from a variety of books with titles such as What do Muslims believe?, Why is Islam often misunderstood? and What does Islam say about terrorism?

Among the guests were Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, Redbridge Mayor Cllr Linda Huggett and Chairman of Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (Formo) chairman Farouk Ismail.

“This is a really good way of breaking down some of the prejudice and some of the stigma that exists,” said Mr Streeting.

“Part of tackling prejudice is about getting people to understand different faiths and beliefs and in Redbridge we have a diverse religious community.”

Visitor Susan Ruckes, a member of Redbridge Faith Forum, was given a tour of the mosque.

“It has been excellent, a lovely welcome,” said the 72-year-old.

A plentiful supply of tea and coffee, samosas, biriani and bhajis were available.

The guests joined figures across the country in visiting a mosque, with Mayor of London Saqid Khan attending the Al Manar Mosque Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in Kensington.

He said: “Today is a day to increase understanding, celebrate the important role mosques play in bringing the local community together, and in particular, to highlight the major part everybody at this mosque has played in responding to last summer’s devastating Grenfell Tower fire.”

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