Model mosque!

    Model mosque!

    November 25, 2007

    Madni Jamia Masjid, Brad ford, UK is declared win ner of the Model Mosque Competition!

    A religion-based TV channel in the UK, Islam Channel, researched over 1,000 mosques to shortlist eight mosques which then entered a competition to select the best mosque in the UK using "best practice" criteria. Viewers had the opportunity to cast a vote and help decide which would go through to round two and finally become Model Mosque 2007.

    In the initial round every week, each mosque competed against another mosque. Representatives from each of the eight mosques were then called into the studio on October 27 to appear live on Channel 813 and answer questions from an esteemed panel of judges and the audience. Madni Jamia Masjid finally emerged as the winner of the model mosque competition.

    The entire model mosque programme received international recognition and coverage from all media outlets, print and electronic.

    The website of the Islamic Cultural and Educational Association (ICEA), the body that runs the Madni mosque, proudly announces that the secret of its success lies in its "inclusive" policy: "We have been particularly recognised for our plans to transform the Madni Jamia Masjid into a specialised centre for learning and hub for social development with activities designed to make the masjid more youth, family and community friendly. As well as our leading work engaging and delivering projects with young people and women" (

    The Madni mosque was selected as the model mosque for:

    • Being a mosque at the heart of community
    • Community cohesion and fostering relations with the wider community
    • Good progressive leadership
    • Developing shared values that encourage and support innovation, learning and achievement of the aspirations of the community
    • Real partnership building from the public, private and voluntary sectors

    That the Madni mosque is a mosque with a difference is evident from the way the ICEA conceived and executed a two-day "Connecting Cultures" programme on October 18 and 19, 2007. A leaflet on the programme, among other things, invited all residents of Bradford to a "Tour of the Mosque or Just Drop In".

    ICEA’s inclusive approach is apparent from the fact that its "partners for the programme" included Bradford University, Bradford College, NHS, Education Bradford, ATL Kickstart, Jobs@, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire Brigade, Environmental Project, BD3 4ALL and Bradford Vision.

    For a feel of how the programme was received, here’s a report published by a prominent UK daily, The Telegraph, on October 18, under the heading,

    ‘Mosque opens its doors to educate’

    One of the district’s largest mosques threw open its doors to school children from all cultures during a special event. The "Connecting Cultures" open day at the Madni Jamia Masjid on Thornbury Road, Bradford, was designed to create a greater understanding of Islam in the community.

    Children at schools across the district were given a guided tour, including a prayer demonstration. A number of prominent Muslim artists created a series of dynamic displays about Islam. Some of the children were given henna tattoos while others took part in face painting. There were also demonstrations of Arabic calligraphy followed by a colourful video presentation on Islam.

    Sofia Maskin, who was one of the tour guides, said: "I feel it was a valuable experience for the children. A lot of children who came to the event had never been in a mosque before and they have found it fascinating and they asked some interesting questions.

    "The day was an open day for the community and also for schools to come and look at what the function of a mosque is. Often, people don’t have the chance to come and see a mosque from inside and also to look at some Islamic artwork and to learn facts about Islam and Muslims all across the world."

    Lucy Williamson, a pupil at Ben Rydding Primary School, said: "I have learned that they pray at different times of day and that they read Arabic."

    Classmate Charles O’Hara said: "It has been very interesting and I have learnt that their books are quite precious to them and they pray quite a lot of times a day."

    Event coordinator Abida Rafiq said: "The main reason we did this was that it’s something that has been long overdue: to officially open the mosque and to open the doors to the wider community and non-Muslims.

    "People are more than welcome to visit the mosque and to come and ask questions. If people have negative experiences of Islam, this kind of event replaces those experiences with good ones. It has been absolutely wonderful and the kids have really enjoyed it."

    If you haven’t heard of a "Model Mosque" competition before, neither have we! CC’s heartiest congratulations to all those responsible for introducing "best practices" at the Madni mosque! May there be more such competitions and may many more such examples of moderate Islam be born.