Mosque open dayHastings Mosque joined more than 80 others across the UK in opening its doors for Visit My Mosque day on Sunday 7th February.

The event was organised by the Muslim Council of Britain to “provide a platform for Muslims to reach out to fellow Britons and explain their faith and community beyond the hostile headlines”.

Our reporter was greeted at the door, welcomed with a glass of fruit juice and a programme of events, and transferred into the care of three helpful young guides. They proudly gave a comprehensive tour of the mosque, taking in the main hall (“the lines on the carpet aren’t just design, they’re there to show you where to pray”), the washrooms (“you have to wash your hands, your mouth, your face, your hair and your feet”), the kitchens, the classrooms, a cinema room that was screening Islamic films, the women’s hall (“no boys are allowed up here”) and the main hall.

In the main hall there were speeches from the Chairman of Hastings Mosque, Imad Bourghli, and the Mayor of Hastings, Bruce Dowling, followed by a prayer session that visitors were invited to watch. Throughout the main hall were informative displays about Islam, and later in the day there was a question and answer session. Meanwhile in a side room a queue of people waited to have intricate henna designs painted on their hands.

An estimated 350 visitors attended the event, including neighbours, councillors and police. “We would like to thank everyone who made our event a success,” said a spokesman. “The doors to our mosque are open all the time to anyone who wants to pay us a visit.”