4 Sep 2022

The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre saw the return of ‘Visit My Mosque’ (VMM) day after a two-year break due to the global pandemic. During the pandemic, the Mosque, London’s oldest, had to close its doors for daily prayers and visitors for the first time in its history.

Visit My Mosque is now in its seventh year and is organised by the Muslim Council of Britain, the largest umbrella body representing Britain’s Muslim communities. Over 200 Mosques and Islamic Centres participated in this year’s open day.

This year’s VMM theme has been to ‘Welcome Back’ and ‘Welcome In’ visitors from all walks of society. Tour groups were shown around the Mosque and Centre, with the opportunity to ask any questions whilst also enjoying tea and cakes. Visitors could observe the midday prayer from the Baraka Khan Visitor Gallery, which overlooks the main prayer hall.

Dilowar Khan, Director of Engagement for the East London Mosque, said:

“We are pleased to welcome visitors back to the Mosque as part of the national Visit My Mosque Day, an initiative of the Muslim Council of Britain.

“Mosques and Islamic centres across the country play an important role in a healthy, cohesive society. For example, we continue to host a Covid vaccination clinic, which is open to all, and we also run a food bank to help the neediest in our communities, especially in these challenging times.

“For Visit My Mosque Day, our staff and volunteers look forward to showing visitors what it’s like inside our Mosque, and answering their questions. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to understand Muslims and the Islamic faith better – often, the representation of Muslims in the media has been inaccurate and misleading. We hope that opening our doors will also open hearts and minds.”

Qur’an Exhibition

A special Qur’an exhibition was curated and displayed for visitors to see. Among the collection generously donated to the Mosque’s Archive, there are copies of the Qur’an from the 12th to the 19th century, spanning regions such as Morocco, Syria, Turkey, India and Spain.

The early history of the East London Mosque saw involvement from some notable translators of the Qur’an, including Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickthall, AJ Arberry, Mohammed Asad, and Dr Hamidullah.

We were honoured to host Professor Muhammad A S Abdel Haleem OBE, a notable academic at SOAS (University of London) and translator of the Qur'an (Oxford classic edition), who spoke at our 'faith talks' event.

Sufia Alam, Head of Programmes and Maryam Centre, said:

“After two years of holding VMM online, we are glad to welcome back visitors to the Mosque. It’s great to meet people in person, and this year we get to showcase our special exhibition on the Qur’an, including some of the translators of the Qur’an that have been involved in the East London Mosque.

“Now it is as important as ever for our communities to come together to understand each other better.”