Mosques across the state have opened their doors to the public for the 2018 Victorian Mosques Open Day.
Visitors were taken on guided tours, observing, understanding, and learning about the sacred rituals of the Islamic faith, before enjoying something to eat and informative conversations.
Among the hundreds of visitors was Federal Greens Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt MP, who attended the open day the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) Mosque in West Melbourne.
“I am really appreciative of the effort all the mosques have gone to and open their doors so that people can understand what’s going on, what their neighbours are doing.”
This is the second year of the event and is run by the Islamic Council of Victoria and is supported by the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Social Cohesion, a body of the Victorian Government.
The aim of the event is to continue the campaign to stamp out Islamophobia, build better, positive relationships, and breakdown the apparent misconceptions of Islam in the community.
Mr Bandt MP said that is an ongoing challenge. “What we see in Federal politics is a lot of willingness to use race and religion to try and divide people.” Bandt said.
“We see it from some objectionable forces. One of the things that we have to show that we are stronger than that, and this event is a great contribution towards that.”
Mr Bandt said the event raises the profile of Islam in the community. “People may not be aware that there are quite a number of mosques in the inner-city of Melbourne. I think that awareness is growing.”
The Islamic Council of Victoria says there are an estimated 200,000 Muslims currently living in Victoria and over 476,291 nationwide.
The Council said that the Islamophobia Register Australia had recorded 243 verified incidents in just over one year alone between 2014-2016 – “with 79.6% of victims being women wearing a hijab”.
ICV President Mohamed Mohideen said “…we met people who had never been inside a Mosque, others who lived across the road from one and always wondered what it was like inside and even helped some local community leaders try-on-a-hijab as part of our female hijab presentations.
“We’re inviting anybody and everybody to find a Mosque near them and come in for a friendly chat.”