MOSQUES opened their doors to the community this weekend to dispel ‘misconceptions’ about Islam.

Bilal Toorawa, imam of Masjid e Anwaar in Granville Road, Blackburn, said ‘Visit My Mosque day’, was about ‘promoting community cohesion’ and ‘building bridges.’

Striving for a more enlightened appreciation of Islam and Muslims in society, the event on Sunday saw mosques open in areas including Accrington, Burnley and Pendle.

Mr Toorawa, whose mosque took part in the day said: “This event is about opening doors and opening mosques.

“It also aims to promote community cohesion and dispel misconceptions about the Muslim community.

“The event also wanted to build bridges and relationships and bring the community together to understand each other.”

Bishop Phillip North, bishop of Burnley, said there had been a lot of ‘negative misconceptions’ of Blackburn in the news.

He said: “Today is a totally different story to the one portrayed with white people, Asian people and Asians and Christians mixing and becoming friends.

“This is an example of the integrated and harmonious town Blackburn is, not the segregated one it has been made out to be.”

The event comes weeks after thousand of people tuned into watch a controversial BBC Panorama programme.

It had claimed the town had become geographically segregated with white families typically living in Mill Hill and Asian families typically living in Whalley Range.

But the day saw hundreds of people of all faiths and ages come together in Blackburn to challenge these arguments.

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Mosques opening their doors in Blackburn included Lammack Prayer Room, Masjid e Sajedeen, Masjid al-Hidayah and Masjid e Anwaar.

People were invited to go along for a brew and to learn more about the Muslim faith.

Over 200 mosques across the UK held open days, with thousands attending.

Coordinator for North of England Visit My Mosque, Faz Patel, said: “This is a day where people from all works of life, faith or no faith, come together to have a brew and find out what Islam is all about.

“The recent documentary about Blackburn was complete and utter rubbish and it’s important we come together to challenge these myths.”