Why Jamia Mosque opened its gates to the public

Muslim faithful interact with other religions during Jamia Mosque’s Open Day October 26. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Hundreds of non-Muslims flooded Jamia Mosque in Nairobi where clerics sought to demystify misconceptions associated with the religion.

The Jamia Mosque Open Day was marked with a series of activities including a guided tour of the mosque, open discussions, opportunity for non-Muslims to watch live Islamic prayers, Islamic exhibitions and Islamic literature.

Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome led a heated question and answer session, and said the purpose of the event was to clarify various misconceptions that have given Islamic faith a bad name.

He said among most common mistaken beliefs was the association of Islam with terrorism, idol worship, forced worship and disrespect of other religions.

“Islam is a religion of peace but there are individuals who kill in the name of religion. What they do is purely personal,” he said.

Attendees of the Open Day listen to teachings at the mosque. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

With references from the Quran, Lethome illustrated how the religion condemns killing.

“Quran teaches that taking one’s life is equivalent to destroying the entire world. Killing is forbidden,” he said. 

Visitors were taken through all sites of the mosque to confirm if there were idols in a bid to decipher claims of worship of other gods.

“We respect other religions and we do not bother them as long as they do not interfere with our worship. We never force anyone to convert to Islam,” explained the cleric.

Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome addresses the press at the open day in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Farah Mansur, the Jamia Mosque Administrative assistant cleared the air on allegations that women were undermined in the religion.

“Women have a place in the faith and we believe we are at equal platform with men. Our roles might be different but we are all united in God,” said Ms Mansur.

Boniface Kariuki, a Christian who was at the mosque praised the event as an eye-opener saying he had negative perception about the religion in the past.

“I have even read writings on Mosque walls that quote the bible. It is a very tolerant religion and its leaders do not speak ill of my faith,” said Kariuki as he clutched a gift bag containing English translated Quran and other literature.

“I have had my questions answered and I love their emphasis on helping the less fortunate in the society. It encourages people to help each other regardless of their religions,” said Faith Ochieng, a Christian.