People of Amsterdam enjoyed a very special night at the mosque of Amsterdam when the mosque opened its doors to 1000 non-Muslim visitors as part of the annual Night of Museums.
“The Dutch are very curious about the religion of Islam and the internal structure of our mosque,” Kemal Gözütok of the Fatih Mosque told Anadolu Agency (AA).
“They want to learn everything from the shoe cabinet to the minbar, from the mihrab to the tiles,” he added.
The Night of Museums, or the Long Night of Museum, is a cultural event across Europe since 2005. During the event, museums and cultural institutions stay open late to introduce themselves to new potential patrons.
The first event, Lange Nacht der Museen in German, took place in Berlin in 1997. In 2005, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, and the International Council of Museums joined to promote this event.
First Time as a Mosque
Visitors to the mosque received information about Islam, mosques, and Islamic arts.
A visitor who gave his name as Charn from the US, said it is the first time for him to visit the mosque, though he lives very close to it.
“I liked the interior of the mosque very much. The voices of the imams were great,” he said.
Another visitor, Jaap Kapteyn, cited the importance of participating in the Night of Museums as a mosque and promoting Islam with art activities and works.
“This affects the perspective of the Dutch – who value art very much – about Islam.”
“It is a very good way to combat Islamophobia in the Netherlands,” he added.
Islam is the second-largest religion in the Netherlands as 4% of the population follow the faith according to 2010–11 estimates.
Most reside in the nation’s four major cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht.