Morden Mosque, which is the largest Mosque in Western Europe. Completed in 2003 at a cost of £15 million, entirely from donations of British Ahmadi Muslims,. The full complex accommodates 13,000 people. Faith day is where Year 12 students (at Ursuline High School) visit places of worship of other religions. And we were fortunate to make a visit there. When at the Mosque, out tour guide told us how important is was for Muslims to donate money towards building structures. For example after Storm Katrina in America, many Muslims went out to America to offer help and send donations because a lot of Mosques were destroyed. The sense of charity is one of their five pillars, which are the five most important things in Islam. It was a very important and essential trip, seeing as, as a Catholic school we have never really been exposed to another faith on this level. To be able to go to their place of worship was truly an amazing experience, as the Mosque itself is so beautiful and learning about their religion was very interesting.
On our visit we first went into a room which is used by the community for weddings, sports events and local events. Then we went into the room where they have their services. The room was plain with simple writing around it. This is because, in Islam the only one sin that God will not forgive, is putting another person/item on his level. Therefore it is very important that they do not have statues or images to distract them whilst they are praying.
This Mosque has been voted one of the top 50 buildings to visit in the UK and is the only Mosque that allows visitors inside. The design of the Mosque reflects the beliefs of Islam itself. For example, the stripes on the ground help when people come to worship, because they sit in rows- so having stripes on the floor is helpful for them. Additionally, the simple design means that when they are praying it is simply to and for God. The tor guide, who was a volunteer, explained the importance of the Quran. She explained that whilst the words in the Quran have not changed, the way it should be interpreted has been. This is how the religion is still able to be relevant to almost 50 million people worldwide. She also spoke about a very important issue about the treatment of Muslims today during Brexit. She said that she does feel like today being a Muslim is worse than being a Muslim in the 70’s, when she was growing up. This was a very important issue to raise, especially because as Catholics, the majority of us there have never faced issues of discrimination. Whilst our sixth form is very diverse it is still very important for many of us on-Muslims to hear about the issues they face daily. Our teacher, Mr Satterthwaite, said “I feel it is very important for a group of Catholics to be exposed to other religions, especially in their place of worship, to truly understand their religion. It’s a life experience which is very important for everyone, not just religious people”.
Overall, the day was an extreme success. We were able to learn more about another religion which is so prominent in the UK today, and being in the Mosque was a really positive and interesting experience, seeing how their religion differs to ours and their place of worship. If you get a chance, visit a place of different faith to you and explore. You might be surprised what you learn. About your local community.