Muslims hope to open minds with mosque open day
Four mosques in Auckland will open their doors to modestly dressed visitors on November 19.
Guests will get an opportunity to share a meal, ask questions and watch Muslims perform a congregational prayer at Avondale Islamic Centre, West Auckland Mosque in Ranui, Birkenhead Islamic Centre and Ponsonby Mosque between 10am and 2pm.
President of the New Zealand Muslims Association Ikhlaq Kashkari says the event is taking place at a good time because current developments in world politics may have piqued people's interested in Islam.
Traditionally mosque open days involve a tour of the premises and a question and answer session, however, this time promises to be a unique experience for visitors because they will also get an opportunity to watch Muslims perform an obligatory prayer in congregation.
Kashkari says the organisers have made a deliberate effort to include this in the agenda.
"We have had feedback about it in the past. People actually want to know how Muslims pray and what happens during prayer."
At around 1pm on the day a muezzin, meaning announcer in Arabic, will make the call to prayer or adhan at each mosque.
This will be followed by an organised supplication behind an imam, the appointed leader of the mosque.
Kashkari says most people have never been inside a mosque and the main purpose of the city-wide event is to improve the public's understanding of Islamic practices.
While he expects all sorts of visitors there are no security concerns.
"The police are aware that there is a mosque open day happening all around Auckland. In fact, we are going to have a number of officers joining us."
However, there are some protocols that should be observed while at the mosque.
Kashkari requests that all visitors are modestly dressed as they will be entering a place of worship.
Guests will also be asked to remove their shoes while inside.
There are over 20 mosques catering to about 30,000 Muslims who live in Auckland.
The mosque open day will take at place at Avondale Islamic Centre, Ranui Mosque, Birkenhead Islamic Centre and Ponsonby Mosque on November 19 from 10 am to 2pm.