Visitor to ‘Open Mosque Day’ changes perception on Islam and Muslims

Al Qalam Reporter

“I used to believe Muslims don’t like Christians, but today my views on Islam and Muslims have changed”. These were the words of a visitor to this year’s National Mosque Open Day event held across the country on Heritage Day.

The event appears to be growing each year. This year over 2000 people of all faiths, cultures and ethnicities attended the Heritage Day event at 45 participating masaajid across the country.

Dr Faisal Suleman, head of the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) that spearheaded the project, said: “We have seen an encouraging climb in the figures from 800 participants across 20 Masaajid in 2018 to 2000 participants across 45 Masaajid in 2019. Alhamdulillah!

“As we bask in the successes of this programme, our eventual is to draw many more thousands to visit a Masjid on Heritage Day, to meet a Muslim and to become aware of the true message of Islam – peace,” Suleman said.

Participants gushed over the warm welcome they received. They were surprised to learn of the hospitable and peace-loving nature of their Muslim brothers and sisters. For many, it was their first time of meeting a Muslim and for others it was their first time to visit a mosque. Words such as “kindness”, “warmth”, “sincerity”, “friendliness” and “understanding” came up frequently.

The following are some of the feedback that SAMNET received from participating mosques.

For the first time this year, the Shelly Beach Musallah, near Port Shepstone, participated and 52visitors from other faiths attended the Open Mosque Day. Many misconceptions on Islam were corrected.

One visitor to Masjidur Rahman in Durban North said: “I learnt about the faith and about my Muslim neighbours/community. I learnt about how Islam relates to my understanding and belief (of my own faith). I will remember the love within the community.”

Another who attended the event at the same mosque said: “I was impressed by the warmth of the welcome, the knowledge of the Imam and the smiling hosts.”

A pastor who attended the Open Mosque Day event at Aleemia Masjid in Phoenix said: “I never thought that the day would come where I would set foot on the holy ground of a Mosque.”

A visitor at Masjidul Muttaqeen in East London said: “I used to believe Muslims don’t like Christians but today my views on Islam and Muslims have changed.”

A visitor at the Jumah Masjid in Durban said:  “Unity is created even though we are all from such diverse cultures.” Another attendee said: “What dawned on me is how misdirected the outside world is about Islam.”

A spokesman for Masjidul Muttaqeen in East London said: “Alhamdulillah our Masjid was well attended by over 200 guests – approximately half were non-Muslims. The books on Islam were well received and appreciated by all guests. We had a Q&A session about Islam followed by a power-point presentation and practical demonstrations of 1 Unit/Raka’ah of salaah with translation. Afterwards, there was a fun session where names of guests were written out in beautiful Arabic Calligraphy.

All guests stayed till 4:30pm to witness the Asr Salaah in jamaa’ah after which the guests were treated to sumptuous meals of chicken biryani.”

At the Vereeniging Masjid in Gauteng, three of the visitors took the Shahada.

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