Melbourne News

Would you visit a mosque this Sunday?

Friday 13 April 2018

Martin West, Baptist Union of Victoria 
 
Around two thousand years ago the Apostle Peter got an invitation he couldn’t refuse.
 
After all, if you have had a vision and the Holy Spirit is giving you step-by-step instructions on where to go and what to do, it is hard to say ‘No’. But No is exactly what St Peter wanted to say.
 
When St Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house he starts by announcing that as a Jew it is unlawful for him to associate with Gentiles. Even after staying with Jesus in a Samaritan village for a two days (Jn 4:40), St Peter struggles to accept the Holy Spirit might be at work outside his religion – or that he might have to go outside his comfort zone to follow the Holy Spirit there.
 
Finally St Peter declares that ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.’ (Acts10:34)
 
Now it is our turn.
 
Like St Peter, you are getting an invitation you might want to say No to an invitation to follow the Holy Spirit outside your comfort zone.

On Sunday 15 April, Muslims around Victoria are inviting you to visit their mosques for the Victorian Mosque Open Day. If you are free, Go. Encourage other people from your church to go with you.

As Christians, Jesus calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves, and this includes loving our Muslim neighbours.
 
This means making friends with our Muslim neighbours and meeting them where they are – which means going down to your local mosque.
As well as a guided tour of the mosque and questions and answers about Islam you might be offered henna tattooing, a turn on the jumping castle, or a sausage sizzle.
 
Don’t be an anonymous Christian. The guided tour of the mosque is a good time to introduce yourself, explain that you are there as a friendly Christian, and give the name of the church you represent. Make no mistake – just turning up and being friendly will be a simple but powerful act of Christian witness.
 
When you go, show the same respect for your Muslim hosts you would like them to show if they visited your church.
 
Dress appropriately. This means long sleeves and long pants, or a long dress or skirt for females. Most mosques won’t require female visitors to wear a headscarf in the mosque, but if they do, head scarves will be provided.
 
Here is a challenge: see if you can start a relationship that will continue past May 7. Ramadan will start in May, and many mosques will hold community Ramadan dinners. Ask if there are events you can attend.
 
Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II before him set an incredible example by visiting mosques and building relationships with Muslims. But their example is exactly that: an example for us to follow. Pope Francis cannot visit every mosque in Victoria, and it is up to us.

Participating Mosques' Address and Open Time:

Werribee Islamic Centre (Virgin Mary Mosque)
143 Hogans Road, Hoppers Crossing
10am to 4pm

Australian Islamic Centre (Newport Mosque)
23-27 Blenheim Road, Newport
11am to 3pm

Benevolence Australia
125 George St, Doncaster East , VIC
11am to 3pm

Afghan Islamic Centre & Omar Farooq Mosque
14 Photinia Street, Doveton
12 to 4pm

Doncaster Mosque (UMMA Centre)
72 George St, Doncaster
10am to 4pm

Geelong Mosque (Islamic Society of Geelong)
47 Bostock Ave, Geelong
10am to 4pm

Elsedeaq Heidelberg Mosque
Cnr of Elliot and Llyod st, Heidelberg Heights
10am to 4pm

Albaninan Australian Islamic Society (AAIS)
765 Drummond St, Carlton
10am to 4pm

Light of Hidayah (Morwell Mosque)
6 Victor St, Morwell
10am to 4pm

Islamic Association of Monash Mosque
16 Beddoe Avenue, Clayton
11am to 3pm

Islamic Society of Victoria (Preston Mosque)
90 Cramer St, Preston
11am to 4pm

Islamic Council of Victoria
66-68 Jeffcott St, West Melbourne
10am to 4pm

Islamic Museum of Australia
15 Anderson Rd, Thornbury
10am to 4pm
 
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