Jamaat-e-islami, Hind, premier religious organisation of Indian Muslims, has launched a nationwide programme to invite people of other faiths to visit the the neighbourhood mosques. The campaign is aimed at fostering understanding of Islamic practices and busting myths about the religion in the minds of non-Muslims.
Under the “know your mosque – Eid Milap” campaign, recently a group of 120 non-Muslims were invited to visit the Masjid-e-Azizia in the Mehdipattanam locality of Hyderabad in Telangana on last Sunday.
They converged to take a free guided tour of the mosque. The visitors appeared to be wholly immersed in understanding Islamic practices and rituals.
Members of the Masjid management Committee and members of Jamaat-e-Islami, showed the visitors around the mosque area. The tour was of two hour duration between 11.30 am to 1.30 pm.
Mateen Ahmed, who oversees the arrangements, said that the event was meant for generating mutual understanding. "We wanted to show what we do inside the mosque as part of our religion," he said.
It was a unique experience for the visitors too. The experience was good for making people understand many faced of the “most misunderstood religion.”
"I am sure that such interconnected communities can help bridge the gap between people of different religions," he said.
Raji Lakshmi, a homemaker from Humayun Nagar, praised this initiative and said the volunteers not only took them around on a tour but also answered their queries during the tour. Heritage expert Anuradha Reddy, convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), said that she always wanted to know about the activities happening inside the mosque, now she has the opportunity to find it out.
The 56-year-old Azizia Masjid is the fourth mosque in Hyderbaad to open its doors to non-Muslims for a visit.
Mateen Ahmed said that this is not the only service that this mosque provides to non-Muslims. “We also provide interest-free gold loans, as taking interest is forbidden in Islam. The mosque also has a clinic that provides free medical consultations and subsidized treatments to all and thus, benefiting many non-Muslims as well.