Tasmania’s only mosque will open its doors this Saturday, October 31 in a bid to welcome all Hobart residents and promote social cohesion.
As part of National Mosque Open Day, 14 sacred Islamic places of worship across Australia have invited locals to experience cultural and religious diversity.
Hobart Muslim community leader Imam Sabri Samson said the open day was a prime opportunity to share the space with the public, and offer an insight to the Muslim faith.
For some people it could be the first time they have stepped in to a mosque, much different to a church.
“There are no pictures, no sculpture, no chairs, just carpet,” Imam Samson told Jo Spargo on 936 ABC Hobart’s Breakfast program.
“It is a different experience [for] most people who have never been to a mosque.”
The purpose-built Hobart Mosque was established in Warwick Street, Hobart in 1985.
Respect for all during sacred months
The open day also takes place during the month of Muharram (October) — one of the four sacred months of the year on the Islamic calendar.
During the beginning of the Islamic New Year, a small percentage of Muslims will fast for the first 10 days.
“It is a month of mourning, but we Sunni Muslims, we don’t do that,” Imam Samson said.
“The majority of the Muslims in world are Sunni’s — 90 per cent.
“We just treat the month as a new year, as a beginning of 1437 now a couple of weeks ago, so we don’t do anything special.
“We might fast for a couple of days; like the ninth or 10th day of Muharram but from there we just do our work normally.”
Questions of faith can break down barriers
Imam Samson said the public could ask questions on the open day if they were curious to know more about the Muslim religion.
A former teacher, Imam Samson works to dispel myths and distractions of Islamic State being associated with the Islamic faith.
“It is just not part of Islam… Islam doesn’t promote killing, murdering, raping women and these other people who got killed are Muslims and that is a strange part,” he said.
“It is sad, but hopefully [because] Tasmania is a peaceful place we don’t have that.”
Imam Sampson said in respect of the mosque, guests should wear a scarf to cover up and remove their shoes when entering the sacred rooms.
National Mosque Open Day is being held from 11am this Saturday October 31 at Hobart Mosque, Warwick Street.