The mosque. A community hub. A safe space. For all sections of the community, regardless of age, gender, race or religion. A place where education soared, charity was widespread, it was a refuge for those who needed it and so much more.
This was the Prophetic mosque in the city of Medina. The first space of worship for that community of Muslims.
Fast forward to today…
How many of our mosques in Britain are community hubs or safe spaces?
How many truly welcome all sections of society?
How many provide services beyond a place of prayer?
Since February 2017, the Muslim Council of Britain has been consulting Muslim communities across the U.K. and hearing the challenges and opportunities facing our communities.
From issues of access for women and young people, to increasing levels of Islamophobia, Muslim communities are faced with numerous opportunities and challenges.
In the last few months, we’ve spoken to countless people and have heard about the incredible things mosques are doing. From running food banks to donating blood, running outreach events and youth clubs, many mosques across the UK are #MoreThanAPrayerSpace. They are community hubs as the Prophetic mosque in Medina was.
We’ve also seen hate crime against mosques increase. We’ve heard stories of people turning away from mosques as a result of fear. We’ve heard instances where women have been turned away from praying at a mosque which only welcomes men. We’ve heard stories about the struggles of running a mosque on a volunteer basis, how some mosques struggle to make the little funding they have go further and how mosques would like to do more but struggle due to a lack of resource.
So how should we respond to the challenges?
These are Our Mosques. It is Our Future and we owe it to ourselves and our communities to be constantly developing. To keep learning, adapt and better our institutions and to provide our communities with much needed opportunities to grow. This is what the MCB is trying to support mosques in doing.
On 20 January 2018, join us to discuss how mosques can be and are #MoreThanAPrayerSpace
Topics are wide-ranging and will focus on a range of areas including anti-blackness with Tanya Muneera Williams and Kyle Gray leading a workshop on this, the need to reach out to communities beyond our own as York Mosque regularly does, helping mosques to respond to media questioning with Miqdaad Versi, creating safe spaces for women with Anita Nayyar and much more.
The first mosque in Islamic history was #MoreThanAPrayerSpace. Let’s make all of our mosques in Britain today, the same.
For tickets and more information visit: http://ourmosques.mcb.org.uk
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The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations.