Muslims in Japan reach out to local community

Muslims in Japan reach out to local community

A mosque attendees in Japan thought it is important to reach out to the community and build relationships with locals, Japan Today reported.

A mosque attendees in Japan thought it is important to build relationships with locals since a lack of interaction with them may have led to misunderstanding and conflict.

About 200,000 Muslims are estimated to reside in Japan, with around 80 established mosques, according to the Japan Halal Business Association.

But being accepted into local communities has been a common challenge for many.

Since late September, about a dozen Muslims who are regular visitors to a mosque in Chiba’s Inage Ward, east of Tokyo, began patrolling the area once or twice a month, hoping their contribution to local security would help boost mutual understanding with Japanese residents,

The Chiba Mosque, established in 2010, has been a crucial worshipping space for local Muslims, attracting about 50 to 60 people for Friday prayers. But some attendees are wary that they had been viewed with suspicion and prejudice by local residents.

Sultan Mahmud, a 49-year-old Bangladeshi who heads the mosque, said the activity is already beginning to bear fruit. “Since we started patrolling the area, the Japanese news media covered us and local university students visited the mosque to learn about our religion,” he said. “We are getting along better with our neighbors too.”

Commenting on Islamophobia, Kumiko Yagi, professor of Islamic studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, said, “Prejudicial views come from ignorance which leads to fears without any reason,” so getting to know Muslim people in person could help eradicate distorted views.

“If there are more opportunities for ordinary Japanese to meet with Muslims in person, the possibility of eradicating prejudice would be higher,” she added.

“The patrol provided us with a very good opportunity to get to know our neighbors. We understood that we could build relations with them while helping each other. We want to keep interacting with local people to further foster our friendship,” Mahmud said.

It is mentionable that Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Revolution frequently through his historic messages and speeches invited all followers of divine regions to unite under banner of monotheism.

Imam also revived spiritual values at sensitive juncture of history when the world had been plunged into social and moral decline.

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