Morgan Freeman surprised a mosque in London with a visit


Imagine going to mosque for a service and sitting down next to Morgan Freeman.

That's what happened for some lucky people this week, as the Hollywood star dropped in to the Al-Khoei Foundation mosque in London to learn more about the Ashura festival for a new documentary.

Yousif Al-Khoei and Morgan Freeman (Yousif Al-Khoei)

The organisers kept Freeman's appearance a secret until his arrival, whereupon the actor sat and listened to the speakers and spoke to those gathered for the service. Al-Khoei noted the star "seemed quite interested" in the commemoration.

After the service concluded, attendees excitedly shared the news of Freeman's presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, astounded that a star of such huge proportions could be visiting their place of worship.

Yousif Al-Khoei of the Al-Khoei Foundation Mosque in Kilburn told us the foundation was approached by researchers from National Geographic who were interested in the Ashura commemorations for a documentary.

The Ashura commemoration is mourned by the majority of Muslims, but is particularly important to the Shiite community. It marks the death of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad, at the battle of Karbala.

Al-Khoei shared his hopes that Freeman's documentary will have a larger effect on the world.

"We hope that he will champion the cause of bringing understanding about and between faith communities on the world scene," he said. "I hope this series will help to dispel things like islamophobia, anti-semitism and shiaphobia.

"We hope the documentary and his interest will be the springboard for a movement which will speak against all forms of hate and racism."

The surprise visit was all part of Freeman's new documentary, The Story Of God.

In the documentary, the man who has played the big guy upstairs in movies, seeks to understand why people across the globe worship God differently.

To find out more about Shia Islam, you can follow the Al-Khoei Foundation on Twitter. The foundation is also part of a global justice campaign, Who is Hussain.