National Mosque Open Day (NMOD) is an annual Australia-wide event that features a number of mosques across the nation simultaneously opening their doors to the public and inviting them to come in and explore their local mosque.
It endeavours to break down common misconceptions and stereotypes and counter all types of prejudice. As part of an independent evaluation of the project, the University of New South Wales concluded that National Mosque Open Day was “globally ground-breaking” and the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
While mosques are open all year round, many non-Muslim Australians are unaware of this fact and do not take the opportunity to meet local Muslims and find answers to their questions about Islam.
Each NMOD, participating mosques will present a unique experience and flavour, representing the particular multicultural make-up of its congregation. Some mosques will have BBQs, sweets and food, others activities for children and others again will host special exhibitions. Many mosques will combine all of these elements. Common to all mosques, however, will be an open and welcoming attitude and the opportunity to ask questions of religious elders and seek answers to questions.
Since its inception, an estimated 30,000 people have participated, with a combined total of over 154 media mentions, including media coverage in the US, UK, Turkey, China, Egypt, Iran and also mentioned in the Australian Federal Parliament.
In a joint initiative of the LMA and Welcome to Australia, National Day of Unity incorporates the National Mosque Open Day and Walk Together events to celebrate diversity, encourage mutual respect and foster positive relationships between people of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds.
In 2015, the project was endorsed and launched at Parliament House by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens Leader Dr. Richard Di Natale. This was a very significant and historic moment for the Australian Muslim community, as the last time all leaders of the three major political parties have come together to collectively endorse a proposal was in 2008 during the Apology to First Nations People of this country for the Stolen Generations.
Over 20 media platforms covered the story, including SBS, ABC, 7 News, 9 News, Huffington Post, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Brisbane Times.
In 2016 the event has grown into National Unity Week. Over 30 events by Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Bahai and Secular groups and organisations were held during the timeframe to help celebrate unity.