A MOSQUE in Burnley opened its doors to non-Muslim residents yesterday as part of a national initiative to improve community cohesion and offer a better understanding of Islam in Britain.

Masjid Ibrahim, a UK Islamic Mission mosque in Clegg Street, welcomed visitors of all religions, as part of the second annual Visit My Mosque Day organised by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

Muhammad Baig, a member of the MCB and mosque committee, said that it was very important to let people in and show them what mosques really mean to the Muslim community.

He said: "This event was all about trying to create community cohesion and allow people to gain a better understanding of our religion.

"We were able to show how important mosques are in the life of Muslims and show that it is more than just a place of worship for us."

More than 80 mosques across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were involved in the day, more than triple the number that took park last year.

Participating institutions included the older mosques in the county such as the Working Mosque and the Abdullah Quilliam Mosque in Liverpool, as well as the larger mosques such as the Islamic Cultural Centre in London, the East London Mosque and the Birmingham Central Mosque.

The opening of Masjid Ibrahim involved exhibitions, a guided tour of the mosque, refreshments and a questions and answer sessions which Mr Baig found to be the most interesting.

He said: "There are a lot of misconceptions about Islam that come from the media and people had a lot of questions to ask which we were happy to answer.

"I think they left the mosque feeling more educated and changed their minds about what they thought of the religion.

"We are not trying to prove anyone right or wrong we just want to live together in peace and harmony and that's what this was all about.

"I'm happy to say that a lot of people came from across East Lancashire from places like Blackburn and Accrington and it was a really successful day."

Burnley Cllr Gordon Birtwistle, said: "These are very important because mosques are often seen as mystery places.

"I hope that everyone enjoyed the visit and any misconceptions they had about how a mosque is run went away."