Numbering 2.7 million in a 64 million strong population, Muslims make up around five percent of Britain's population, but tensions have been on the rise across the UK and Europe after attacks by religious extremists in the past few months. Now the British Muslim community have come up with a new campaign to ease the tension.
The Muslim Council Of Britain (MCB), has announced the "visit my mosque day" across the country, in an effort to counter the negative stereotypes associated with Muslims, that have beena major reason for an increasing Islamophobic sentiment.
As the event is scheduled for Sunday the 7th of February, 80 mosques across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have invited the public to spend time in their premises and understand Islam and the Muslim community better by rectifying misunderstandings.
The MCB said, "it's an opportunity for Muslims in the UK to put themselves out there and reach out to their local neighbours. The day will allow for people to meet face-to-face, get to know each other and tackle misconceptions."
While people from all faiths can visit mosques to ask questions, and discuss issues concerning society, they will also get a guided tour and will be served tea and snacks by the mosque administration and volunteers, Guardian reported.
The chairman of the Camberley Mosque from Surrey told Al Jazeera that, "We live in a small town, so we don't have many problems in this area. But there has been some misunderstanding in the media about Muslims, and this is the whole reason we are doing this day - to foster understanding."
The emergence of the Islamic State in Syria and it's attacks in France and other parts of the world have triggered a backlash against Muslims, as authorities recorded 158 hate crimes against known or perceived Muslims in December 2015, thrice the number of such attacks in December 2014.
Although terrorism remains a major concern, governments and communities in Europe have been trying to tackle rising Islamophobia, as mosques in France participated in a similar initiative in January.
All images sourced from: Reuters