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Belfast mosque opens doors in bid to educate visitors

By Helen William

Published 08/02/2016

Young Mohammed looks on after prayers take place during an open day at Belfast Islamic Centre in Wellington Park, Belfast. More than 90 mosques across the UK opened their doors to the public in an effort to ‘explain their faith beyond the hostile headlines’
Young Mohammed looks on after prayers take place during an open day at Belfast Islamic Centre in Wellington Park, Belfast. More than 90 mosques across the UK opened their doors to the public in an effort to ‘explain their faith beyond the hostile headlines’

Belfast Islamic Centre was one of more than 80 mosques around Britain that opened their doors to visitors to help people understand their faith.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it hopes the annual Visit My Mosque Day will help show unity in "a tense time for faith communities".

Nick Taylor, chief executive at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation For Peace, said he had a "fascinating afternoon" and had "learnt so much" with his visit to the Warrington Islamic Centre.

Mr Taylor tweeted he had been "privileged to be allowed to watch prayers" and to learn about the Islamic faith.

Mr Taylor holds a senior role in the charity which was set up in the names of two young boys were killed in the IRA's bombing of Warrington in March 1993. It aims to try and prevent, resolve and respond to violent conflict.

Ashraf Ahmed of the Islamic Centre in Belfast said there was a need to explain that Islam is separate from the terrorists who kill in his religion's name.

"People sometimes hear on TV this thing called Isis and they say 'what is this Isis'?" he told UTV.

"People don't know it is nothing to do with Islam. They claim they represent Islam but they are just criminals. We thought it would be a good idea to tell people simply what Islam is."

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