Mosques should open doors: Islamic leader

02/09/2019 Posted by admin

Mosques around Australia have thrown open their doors to the public in the hope of reducing misunderstandings about Islam.

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National Mosque Open Day, which saw 14 places of Islamic worship around the country invite locals inside, is the perfect time to “break down barriers of misconception”, Lebanese Muslim Association president Samier Dandan said.

Mr Dandan believes terrorist organisations such as Islamic State have tarnished the religion’s reputation and more needs to be done to dispel “the ignorance”.

“There’s never been a time more so than now that … any particular Islamic organisation needs to open up its doors to embrace all the different concerns and issues that currently do exist,” Mr Dandan said outside Lakemba mosque on Saturday.

“The only way to try and break down those misconceptions or that level of ignorance is through a dialogue.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison who, along with Labor leader Bill Shorten, visited the mosque in Sydney’s west on Saturday, commended Islamic leaders who were taking part in the event.

Mr Morrison admitted the recent terrorist attack on NSW police employee Curtis Chang by a radicalised teenager may have encouraged anti-Muslim sentiment.

“There’s no comfort in this place or any of the mosques I’ve visited for that sort of murder and violence and terrorism,” he said.

“I think today is a good opportunity for people to see firsthand why that is true for themselves.”

Catholic woman Helen Domench was one of dozens of non-Muslims who took a rare look inside the Lakemba mosque.

“I came here because I hear so much about Muslim people and the negative things … but I have met the most wonderful people,” Ms Domench told AAP.

Ms Domench said she hoped the event would take place every year.

“I think it does dispel myths… and we’ve got to be tolerant, and people aren’t tolerant enough,” she said.

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