Mosques across Australia have opened their doors to the public in an effort to help diffuse community tensions.
The inaugural National Mosque Open Day has seen Australian Muslims welcoming non-Muslims inside their places of worship to “breakdown common misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding Islam”, says the Lebanese Muslim Association’s website.
It is part of the National Day of Unity, which also incorporates the pro-refugee Walk Together marches across the country.
Thousands of people marched in about 20 cities, calling for religious tolerance and refugee rights.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Senator Penny Wong, Annabel Digance MP and Tung Ngo MLC attended the National Mosque Open Day in Adelaide, while the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison attended Lakemba Mosque.
“The Sheikhs I think have been very personable and accessible,” Minister Morrison said.
“The way they explain the most basic and obvious things about their faith, it’s a good thing in a country that values freedom of religion.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement that the “National Day of Unity is an opportunity to acknowledge the significant contributions of all who have made Australia home.”
The day comes after raised community tensions since the emergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State and concerns of radicalised Muslim-Australians travelling to conflict areas to fight.
People in the Muslim communities have complained of being targeted with racial and religious vilification following government counter-terrorism raids.