In a first-of-its-kind initiative, a mosque in Bihar today opened its door for non-Muslims to visit the mosque premises, watch the live prayer sessions and get familiar with various Islamic activities. The main objective of the initiative is to bridge the gap between the rival communities and promote communal harmony. The development comes amid the ugly incidents of clashes between the groups opposing and supporting the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Dozens of non-Muslims today made a beeline to make a tour of the historic Bhainsasur Badi Masjid in Biharsharif under Nalanda district, a seat of multiple religions and faiths and had a close look over the mosque activities. They were taken to each and every corner of the Masjid by the organisers, made to watch live prayer sessions, informed about various Islamic activities and were also told the meaning of various words Muslims use during prayers, such as Allahu Akbar, Hai Ya Alal Falah, and La Ilaha Illallah.

The visitors, who included both men and women and from various faiths, were given warm welcome at the mosque which remained open from 10 am to 4 pm today. “There has been a lot of confusion about Islam and mosques. The non-Muslims are curious to know what we do inside the mosque. So we decided to open the door of our mosque for non-Muslims to understand our religion and Islamic activities,” Bhainsasur Badi Masjid committee president Ishtiyaq Ahmed told The Statesman over the phone today.

He said of late the differences between the people from two communities had been slowly increasing. “This is very shocking. When we speak the same language, have the same thinking, love our country so much and together participated in the freedom movement, then why this distance? So we decided to launch this programme to clear any confusion between them and bridge the gap between the two communities,” Ahmad explained.

Tabrez Azim, a masjid committee member and Jamaat-e-Islam Hind leader said such initiative was mandatory to promote communal brotherhood in the society. “In the current situation, the gap between the Hindus and the Muslims is slowly increasing and nothing could have been better than this idea which is sure to bring them together,” said Azim. He said Masjid is the abode of Allah (God) and the people from every faith are welcome to visit there.

The rare initiative launched by the Masjid committee in association with the Jamaat-e-Islam Hind, socio-cultural organisation, assumes much political significance in the light of the continuing anti-CAA-NRC protests across the country. In Bihar, the citizenship protests have spread to some 30 districts out of state’s total 38. But what is alarming is there have been reports of open clashes between pro and anti-CAA supporters at several places in the state. During the recent Bharat Bandh called by multiple organisations on Wednesday, the pro-CAA supporters clashed with the protesters at several places in the state.

These clashes are not confined to Bihar only. In the past few days, miscreants have been caught opening fire at the anti-CAA protesters in Delhi, indicating the growing level of animosity between the two communities caused by hate speeches being made by BJP leaders such as UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, union minister Anurag Thakur, and Pravesh Verma, MP.