Bishop and church members welcomed to East Lancs mosque

A mosque in Blackburn threw open its doors at the weekend and welcomed the local community, including the Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev. Philip North; Rev. Sheelagh Aston from St Silas Church and members of the congregations of St Silas and Sacred Heart Churches.
The event, at Masjid e Anwaar Mosque, was part of the national #VisitMyMosque campaign to encourage greater engagement and dialogue within local communities.
Also in attendance at the open day was Councillor Mohammed Khan, the Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
The Bishop’s host for the visit was Imam Fazal Hassan, the Muslim Chaplain for Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Speaking to a large crowd gathered at the mosque for the visit, Bishop Philip said: “We need to be much bolder about being open about who we are. Fazal and I speak to each other about our respective faiths. Everybody benefits from this kind of honest dialogue; so let’s be confident people of faith and have a shared vision for the sort of town and the sort of communities we want to be.”
Discussing his visit afterwards Bishop Philip said: “I have said before that Blackburn has numerous faith leaders, community leaders, councillors, teachers and activists who are passionate about cohesion and who are building bridges between communities.
“This event was an excellent example of this work and I was delighted to take part and to meet today with the members of the mosque community of all ages. We were made very welcome.”
Imam Fazal Hassan added: “Many of the 80 or so church parishioners attending on the day had actually never visited a mosque before. I believe this event helped break down barriers, dispel myths and build better relationships.
“I particularly want to thank Bishop Philip for accepting my invitation. It meant a lot to me and the Muslim organisers and his presence gave a strong message and meaning to everyone about the importance of interfaith work.”



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