London Masjid Holds Open House
February 17, 2032
An open house at the Masjid Ibrahim in London drew a large number of curious non-Muslims into its doors last Sunday. Unveiled women circulated amongst Muslim women wearing the hijab or even the niqab. Pamphlets and English language translations of the Quran were handed out in large numbers. By the end of the day several hundred Britons who had never before set foot in an Islamic house of worship walked away with a greater understanding of Islam.
The Masjid Ibrahim was established in London over thirty years ago. However, in recent years it has had to purchase adjacent properties in order to expand the size of the worship space. The expansion has come as the size of Britain’s Muslim population has climbed, fueled partially by the burgeoning convert population.
Imam Salim Rahman explained the difference he has seen in attendance over the years. “When the Masjid first started there were only a few dozen attendees and they were immigrants. Now, during Friday prayers we have thousands of brothers and sisters inside the prayer hall.”
When asked if he had noticed an increase of converts attending the Masjid the Imam was able to confirm a definite increase. “As time has passed the ratio of converts has steadily increased. Approximately one third of our members are converts. An ever increasing number of converts are coming from young people and roughly two thirds of them are women.”
The presence of women intrigued by Islam was noticeable at the open house. They were pressed around tables with displays and the veiled Muslim women were busy answering questions from visitors eager to learn more about their faith. Aisha, whose face was hidden behind a niqab, said that many of the visitors she spoke with had a genuine interest in Islam and potentially were interested in becoming Muslim themselves. When asked if her niqab was an impediment to bringing other women into the faith she indicated that the opposite was true.
“I think the niqab is actually attracting women to Islam. The hijab is increasingly present in British society. Several non-Muslim women have even started wearing it. When women find out the purpose of the niqab, to protect women from lewd comments and leering stares they actually become intrigued. A majority of the sisters I know who wear the niqab are reverts.”
The interests in the hijab was clear at a table nearby. One of the displays in the mosque allowed non-Muslim women to try wearing the hijab and saw several women try it out.
While giving a tour of the Masjid the Imam pointed out the absence of a barrier between where the men pray and where the women pray. “In the past we had a partition, but a growing number of Muslims are insisting that there not be barriers. The push for this change mostly comes from the converts. They are helping us to make the West Muslim, but they are also helping to Islam Western. Many of the sisters who have adopted the modest dress of the niqab have also been the leading voices in the removal of barriers between the genders during prayer.”
The appeal for conservative dress and Islam for modern Britons was evident by the large number of young women present at the open house. With many of them eager to experience Islam first hand the staff of the Masjid allowed them the opportunity to engage in Muslim prayer. After performing the ritual cleaning beforehand the young women walked into the prayer room on bare feet. After being shown how the prayers were performed they began bowing and prostrating themselves.
Afterwards the young women seemed quite pleased with the experience. Annabel Hughes, an eighteen year old student, shared her experience. “It was even more fulfilling than I had thought it would be. I have always been curious about Islam. My parents are both atheists so I grew up without any sort of religion at home. Maybe because of that I have always been intrigued by the way Muslims live their lives. A lot of girls I know are like that too, I see a lot of non-Muslim students at my school wearing hijab.”
Based on the number of people present and their level of interest, it would not be surprising if the Masjid Ibrahim has to undergo another expansion before long.
Copyright 2032 Azosiated Press