Mosques in Harrow opened their doors at the weekend as part of ‘Visit My Mosque’ day.
London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith joined Stanmore residents and interfaith leaders at the KSIMC Islamic Centre on Sunday.
The KSIMC Islamic Centre, which has been based on Wood Lane since 1983, welcomed nearly 100 people during the open day.
Visitors were given tours of the centre, shown Islamic art displays and invited to take part in Q&A sessions and debates with faith scholars.
Mr Goldsmith, who is currently campaigning to be the next Conservative Mayor of London, answered questions and spoke to community members.
He said: “It was an honour to visit the Husaini Islamic Centre in Stanmore and to have an opportunity to address the congregation and see the art that was on display.
“Visit My Mosque Day is a hugely effective way of breaking down barriers and increasing community engagement and it was a pleasure meeting members of the centre and having an opportunity to outline my vision for London.”
MP Bob Blackman also attended the event, describing the Open Day as “an example to other communities” while also complimenting The KSMIC of London in Stanmore for being “an important part of Harrow life”.
The Open Day was organised by the young pupils of the centre’s Madressa School and was part of The KSIMC of London’s educational outreach programme.
Sheikh Mustafa Jaffer, president of The KSIMC of London, said: “On behalf of The KSIMC of London, we would like to thank everyone who took part and helped to make it such a memorable day.
“We were particularly pleased to see so many young people bring their friends and of course we are very grateful to Zac for taking time out of his busy schedule to join us on the day.”
The Shia Ithna’ashari Community of Middlesex (SICM) in North Harrow also organised an open day.
MP Gareth Thomas said: “This is a great initiative by the Muslim Council of Britain. There’s a great crowd here tonight from all faiths coming along to visit the mosque.
“The interfaith work that the community is really quite impressive. You may think it is your mosque but actually it is my mosque too. I take great pride in having SICM in my constituency and being as active as you are.”
Dr. Kumail Versi, from the executive committee at SICM, said: “The purpose of the event was to reach out and build bridges, encourage deeper religious understanding and above all, to provide the opportunity for more people to get to know one another.
“What was incredible was how one person who attended for the first time, donated £600 to our centre, because he was so impressed with the work being done. These open days really do make a difference.”
The event at SICM consisted of the sunset prayer translated on a screen, a recitation from the Holy Qur’an and short speeches from leading members of the community including Reverend David Tuck, of St. Alban’s Church, Reverend Jody Stowell, of St. Michael and All Angel’s Church, Rabbi Michael Hilton, of Kol Chai Synagogue, Reverend John Swarbrick, of North Harrow Methodist Church, and deputy mayor Cllr Rekha Shah.
Jack Lynes, chair of Harrow Interfaith, ended his words with a pledge that everyone read together, that “we will not stand by” in today’s growing climate of Islamophobia.