EDINBURGH - Setting up a unique model, a Scottish mosque has opened the doors of its restaurant, planned to serve Muslim worshippers, to welcome non-Muslim visitors too after 9/11 attacks, proving a success in Edinburgh.
"It used to open every Friday after prayers where we used to sell chicken and rice for £2," Mubashar Ali, the manager of the Mosque Kitchen in Edinburgh, told The BBC on Wednesday, August 28.
Opening its doors in the 80s, the Mosque Kitchen in Edinburg used to cater just for its congregation.
Muslims Bring Hope to Scotland
After 9/11 attacks in New York, the mosque managers decided to open its doors to non-Muslims too to offer them a closer interaction with Muslims and dispel myths about their faith.
"After 9/11, an exhibition was set up in the mosque to raise awareness about Islam which attracted people from all faiths including Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, Ali, who has been working in the restaurant since its inception, said.
"It was at the same time that people became aware of the little kitchen serving food to its worshippers.
As time went on, the Mosque Kitchen proved a success among Edinburgh local citizens.
"We wanted to show people that Islam is not about terror and so we extended the restaurant and started opening every day and also began welcoming people from other faiths," Ali said.
"At first people were a bit scared and hesitant but it didn't take long for it to become a popular local curry house," he added.
Scotland is home to more than 500,000 Muslims, making up less than one percent of the population.
Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country, which has thirty mosques.
Serving Edinburgh community for more than 20 years, the Mosque Kitchen has probed a success.
"The Mosque Kitchen is a friendly, cheap place where everybody can afford a tasty meal," Ayla, who has lived in Edinburgh for more than 20 years, said
Fahad Beg also comes to the restaurant a few times a week.
He used to attend Edinburgh mosque and then go for a meal after prayers when they first set up.
He admits he has "developed a taste for it". He thinks
"It's a great idea for different people to gather under one roof".
Hamza, one of the cooks, says rice is the most popular dish among the many people who come to eat there.
"It's the closest you can get to Indian food back home in all of Edinburgh" says Maithlee, who has been studying in the city for three years.
Sahil, a vegetarian, says the "rice and lentils is just like his mum's cooking in India".
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net