Building on years of mutual trust with the community, a Newcastle mosque received more than 400 visitors in its open day event on Sunday, October 19, offering guests food and a chance to view Islam in a clearer way.
“We were very grateful to them for coming out and getting to know us and allowing us to get to know them,” Diana Rah, spokesperson of Newcastle Muslim Association, told The Herald.
The Newcastle mosque in Wallsend has opened its doors on Sunday, using conversation and clarity to fight misconceptions about Islam. The event attracted more than 400 visitors who listened to Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed and attended an exhibition about Islam.
Moreover, attendants were offered a chance to try traditional Islamic dress, have a mosque tour and attend a question and answer session. Visitors were also invited to enjoy a barbecue, traditional homemade sweets and Saudi chai tea.
“Our mosque has always had relationships with church and community groups, but we have noticed in recent times some negative reporting about Muslims and an escalation of verbal attacks on Islamic women, of eggs, coffees and milkshakes being thrown at them from car windows,” Rah said.
“It’s a very minuscule section of the community – on a whole Novocastrians can be proud of who they are. But we wanted to strengthen the existing relationships we have with the community and form new relationships – for everyone to get to know each other and for community harmony,” she added.
Last week, the mosque offered thanks certificates to skaters who rushed to help a Muslim mother and her daughter after being attacked in the streets.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population. In post 9/11-era, Australian Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
The anti-Muslim sentiments further increased following last month’s anti-terror raids, deemed the biggest in Australian history, in which 15 people were arrested from north-western Sydney.
The raids were followed by a huge number of anti-Muslim attacks, including a mosque being defaced in Queensland and direct threats issued against the Grand Mufti of Australia.