Members of the Muslim community in Worthing were delighted with the turnout for their open day, part of the nationwide Visit My Mosque Day initiative.
Imam Idris Nawab said the open day at Worthing Mosque would now be an annual event and he hoped to see even more people visit next year.
He said: “We had around a 100 attendees, who trickled in throughout the day on Sunday, so it was well attended. We were delighted with the numbers and considered the event to be a major success.
“There were lots of discussions and questions about the role of faith and Islam in modern Britain.
“This was a chance for us to inform people about the voluntary work we do in the community.”
In his address, Imam Idris said the Muslim community of Worthing welcomed everyone to their special place of worship.
He added: “Personally I absolutely love mosque open days. They offer a wonderful opportunity to learn from the Muslim community about the Muslim community.
“It is an opportunity to observe how we worship, to see the architecture of a mosque, to ask any questions you might have about Islam but most important of all it is an opportunity to get to know Muslims who live in your communities. We are your friends and we wish nothing but good for you. We wish nothing but good for everyone in our town, in fact we wish nothing but good for all of humanity.”
Visitors were given the opportunity to hear the call to prayer and the how the five daily prayers are performed.
Ali Abdul Rahman, chairman of Worthing Mosque, said: “We had no idea we would have such a great response to this event.
“Sometimes as Muslims in Britain today it can be easy to feel negative about the way people of other faiths might view our community. However, the positivity and friendship on show at this event has given us a real lift and reminded us all of what a positive experience it can be to simply come together, talk and try to understand each other better.”
Worthing West MP Peter Bottomley and his wife Virginia, deputy Worthing mayor and mayoress Paul and Sandra Baker and councillors were among the guests.
Mr Bottomley said: “As local MPs, Tim Loughton and I thank the Islamic Society, the committee and the Imam for their important contributions to the shared community life in and around Worthing.
“We congratulate them for the successful open day on Sunday.”
Imam Idris, who has lived in Worthing for 11 years, said there were also families visiting with their children and toddlers.
He added: “We hope it will be an ever greater success and better attended next year. This will now be an annual event.”
Schools and groups are invited to arrange a visit to the mosque. See the website worthingmasjid.co.uk to view the visitors guide or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.