Australian mosques open doors to locals to ‘demystify’ Islam

By @snksounak on
Muslim worshippers
Muslim worshippers pray, during the holy month of Ramadan, in the Gallipoli Mosque located in the western Sydney suburb of Auburn, Australia, July 10, 2015. Picture taken July 10, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Australia celebrates National Mosque Open Day as it hopes to “'break down barriers of misconception” about Islam.

Australian mosques have opened doors to the public as Islamic leaders in the country hope to reduce misunderstandings about their religion. Fourteen mosques around Australia have invited locals in so that they may learn more about Islam.

According to Lebanese Muslim Association President Samier Dandan, extremist organisations like the Islamic State have maligned Islam’s reputation, and any “ignorance” among the public about the religion should be addressed.

“There's never been a time more so than now that ... any particular Islamic organisation needs to open up its doors to embrace all the different concerns and issues that currently do exist,” AAP quoted Dandan as saying outside Lakemba mosque on Saturday. “The only way to try and break down those misconceptions or that level of ignorance is through a dialogue.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten and Treasurer Scott Morrison visited the mosque in Sydney’s west on Saturday. 

According to Morrison, there's “no comfort” for terrorism and violence in any of the mosques he visited. He, however, admitted that the recent radical attack on NSW police employee Curtis Chang might have encouraged anti-Muslim sentiments.

LMA spokesman Zachary Rea believes non-Muslim Australians should also visit their local mosques and engage with religious leaders of Islam to aid the process of “demystifying the mosque.” Rea asked people to take their shoes off before going inside mosques. They can, however, leave their socks on or take those off.

"We ask people to come with an open mind and essentially enjoy the day and take advantage of it," HuffingtonPost Australia quoted Rea as saying. "It's about trying to promote cohesion within the community and society at large."

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