PAUDA College students and teachers visited the Ahmadiyya mosque and community centre ‘Bait-ul-Salam’ (House of Peace) in Langwarrin.
The 280 students were given a brief presentation on the history and teachings of Islam by Imam Janud, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Victoria.
Over two days, six groups of students visited the mosque and learned the basics of Islam and how Muslims worship there. The tour was arranged by Frankston Interfaith network after a request by Padua College.
The students were shown banners on the Holy Quran and heard about its teachings of harmony, peace, love, science, cosmology and brotherhood. They were shown the women’s prayer hall and the main presentation area.
Imam Janud explained six articles of Islamic faith and their implementation in a Muslim’s daily life. He shed light on Islamic daily prayers, fasting, Eid celebrations, the Islamic concept charity and pilgrimage to Mecca.
He said Islam was a religion that teaches peace, tolerance and harmony and that “anyone who commits extremism and terrorism in the name of Islam has nothing to do with its true teachings”.
He said that Prophet Muhammad championed religious freedom and women’s rights and worked tirelessly to establish peace and tolerance in his society. “It is sad that, in this day and age, a small minority of extremists have highjacked His peaceful religion and now vast majority of the world associates Islam with terrorism and extremism.
“The enthusiastic students and their teachers asked questions about Islamic prayers, dress for women, separation of genders in mosque, Jihad, extremism and terrorism, the future of political Islam, Islamic leadership and different Islamic sects,” the imam said.
And their impressions? “The kids absolutely loved it, said mosque official Aziz Bhatti, who asked for feedback. “One student said, “I have been given an assignment on Islam and this tour and presentation will help me a lot”. Another girl said: “I always wanted to see a mosque from the inside but was afraid of entering. I’m so happy that I saw inside and now I know what Muslims do there.”