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Today I went to the Mosque!


OkToBeTakei

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A bit of back history. My Countries Heritage council along with individual regional councils run an open access programme every year to make available and free, visits to buildings/areas not normally available to the general public. My friend and I meet for lunch about 4 times per year and try to do something interesting following this. A small example of the past 10 yrs would be speed dating (I actually got asked the legendary question 'Twister or Monopoly') We have attended a 2hr flower arranging class, he is a 6ft 4 rugby player, I am not the flower arranging type.

We have chanted. Went to some very strange confidence building class which involved very long coloured ribbons??? So you get the picture. We do sometimes just go to the cinema or theatre. But it's good to try different stuff. This open access is good. Last year we went to the City Morgue. It is normally in September but the Mosque was heavily subscribed so they added dates.

So there we were. It is the Central Mosque, largest in the country. It is a guided tour. We were met by a young man and welcomed warmly and told to ask anything at any point. We were taken to the ?lobby area, there was a sign saying welcome, this is our place of worship and we welcome you, we would ask out of respect that modest dress be worn and we would be happy to provide this if required. It is November in Scotland, not really an issue.

Next was an information type display. Myths of Islam, facts etc. It covered Ramadan, Mecca. Kind of a 'why we do' 'why we do not,' type of thing. It was very passive informative. Not in any way JOIN US. I did not expect it to be, but really felt it was executed well. Although bearing in mind they welcome School parties also, pitched mid-way.

We then were seated informally for Tea and sandwiches and a chat. We were served by men, there was no women. Now you may be aware although not ignorant of other religions I am far from informed. It was not my purpose to go there to their place of worship and be rude by asking half informed questions based on my lack of knowledge and probable anecdotal prejudice. Not so this guy at our table.

The milk was barely in the tea when he let rip. Where in the Koran does it say women must be covered from head to toe. It only says modest? Why if the basis of your religion is to fit into the culture of where you live do you want Islamic school for your children? Our chap was very polite and very non-commital in his answers. It was extremely uncomfortable. Or should I say I found it uncomfortable. An older gentleman came over to the table and engaged the chap, whilst the young with considerable aplomb turned the conversation to the rest of us. Some good questions and discussions ensued.

My friend and I were most interested in the cultural diversity in the Mosque. He said the common factor was prayer which is always in Arabic, but as is common in any demographic the cultures tend to form small communities of their own within the Mosque. He said this is encouraged rather than discouraged. Whilst Arabic may be used for prayer, it is not always familiar out with this to a native Punjabi or Urdu speaker. The diversity in the Mosque was quite amazing he listed at least 8 to 10 different cultures (it is Central Mosque.) Our city has huge ethnic diversity so this was of great interest to myself and my friend in our work in the past, also having grown up and lived there.

We then moved to the prayer room. Women are not permitted there in their religion. But in we go. I did ask at this point why women were not allowed to pray with the men. He replied that it is a holy time and not a time for distraction (OOOoooKay) But they had a balcony above which they really preferred. I was in the spirit of being a member here about to walk out of my mannerly comfort zone to ask if I could meet a female to ask this...when. A women about 20ft away fainted. Considering she was dressed for the North Pole and did that dainty slow paced, rubber non-hurting fall, rather than a pole-axed just died corpse fall, not too much concern from myself or friend.

The poor guy went mental, you could just see the panic, OMG WOMAN. CANNOT TOUCH. HOLY PLACE. He did actually say 'Can't touch' a few times. He kind of panically asked if there was a Doctor there. My friend at this point says to me 'You're a Nurse, go help her.' To which I replied 'I'm a bloody Psych Nurse, you feckin' help her.' He is an Addiction specialist, so unless she was looking for an emergency Methadone script, or some Narcan. Probably not.

In runs one of the older men, he obviously had no issues with the touching thing, because I kid you not, over he goes and grabs her ankles and straight up in the air goes her legs. At which point I'd like to say when wearing a skirt and black tights, white knickers is just never a good idea. Because you know add fainting in a Mosque to the reasons never to have an underwear malfunction, being run over by a bus was the worst you thought could happen? Some other genius is trying to move this poor white knickered woman into the recovery position the same time her legs are doing the Mexican wave, spinal injury?

To my eternal shame I must confess I was dying inside with that horrible feeling of trying not to laugh. We had to leave. I mean really had to leave.

(I have to add in my friend's and my defence, this did happen very quickly, it was obviously a faint and the woman was conscious at all times, saying I'm fine, I'm fine in that way you do when you need air, water and not 10 people around you.)

Despite the end. I found the visit really interesting. Everybody we met was kind, polite and keen to to not only impart their views but appeared more interested in ours. I would love to learn more. I learned a lot but probably have a thousand more questions now.

Sorry to bore you with this. Also the rambling length and crap grammar. No idea if anybody would be interested, just thought I'd share. :)

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Interesting. I've always wanted to go to a mosque. However, I hope no one would faint.

I would love to go back. I think I went unprepared (well that is obvious.) I really hope to get another opportunity.

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In runs one of the older men, he obviously had no issues with the touching thing, because I kid you not, over he goes and grabs her ankles and straight up in the air goes her legs. At which point I'd like to say when wearing a skirt and black tights, white knickers is just never a good idea. Because you know add fainting in a Mosque to the reasons never to have an underwear malfunction, being run over by a bus was the worst you thought could happen? Some other genius is trying to move this poor white knickered woman into the recovery position the same time her legs are doing the Mexican wave, spinal injury?

I'm sorry for the poor woman, but I just about peed myself laughing at the mental image! :lol:

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We then moved to the prayer room. Women are not permitted there in their religion. But in we go. I did ask at this point why women were not allowed to pray with the men. He replied that it is a holy time and not a time for distraction (OOOoooKay) But they had a balcony above which they really preferred. I was in the spirit of being a member here about to walk out of my mannerly comfort zone to ask if I could meet a female to ask this...when. A women about 20ft away fainted. Considering she was dressed for the North Pole and did that dainty slow paced, rubber non-hurting fall, rather than a pole-axed just died corpse fall, not too much concern from myself or friend.

But women like being treated as second class citizens! I'm with you on your OOOoooKay. If you (or anyone else) is interested in this issue I highly recommend checking out the documentary "Me and the Mosque". It can be watched in full here: http://www.nfb.ca/film/me_and_mosque

Anyway, it is always good to go learn about things like this and it is nice that put a little bit of a tour on so you could ask questions.

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I visited a mosque and a synagogue in 6th grade for Vacation Bible School (VBS is like a summer day camp, but obviously religion-themed... lot less intense than Jesus Camp though! I was Catholic, but the Lutheran and Methodist churches in my area held them too, sometimes together with us. The purpose of this tour was to highlight the similarities and differences between the Abrahamic religions and point out that we should work together). It was really interesting, the mosque especially because I did not know a lot about Islam. I've always enjoyed learning about different cultures and religions which is why I am interested in the fundies, as they are the extreme.

Anyway... I agree with you on the male/female celebration separation. The fact that he couldn't touch a woman who fainted also confused me. I know some of our Jewish members have said there is a rule/law that if it is an emergency, you can break small rules to achieve a greater good so I guess I would just think Islam would have a similar rule? I would be put off by him going on about how he can't touch her when she is obviously not doing well, at least as the group leader try to ask for someone to help instead of flailing verbally. LOL I'm glad she was ok though.

eta riffle/autocorrect, which I thought was funny, so I crossed it out...

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A couple of mosques in Berlin do open houses once a year, I've been to the biggest one a couple of times. It's near me and they're constantly building, so I'm curious to see the changes. It's a really beautiful place and the people there are always lovely and I've never, ever had the feeling that anyone was trying to convince me to become Muslim, either, that's a nice change to other religions.

The seperation of men and women... Yeah. Not a fan. Not in a mosque, not in an orthodox synagogue. But then I'm still a member of a church where women can't be ordained. Maybe our seperation is just slightly more subtle.

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The man who was saying "Don't Touch" was WRONG.

It's perfectly acceptable to touch a member of the opposite sex to save a life, or in a medical emergency.

Source: A good friend is a Muslim ER nurse. Who hates the segregated Mosque. And wears hijab as a choice. Her parents actually hate she wears it.

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Your story reminds me of something that happened a few months ago in NYC and had most of the tri state roaring with laughter for days. A Hassidic Jewish woman went into labor, and she and her husband were trying to get to the hospital. Don't remember the exact circumstance of why they were stopped, but the baby wound up crowning and the husband actually flagged down a taxi driver to deliver his kid. :roll: In Orthodox Judaism it seems, a man does not touch his wife when she is giving birth. The putz panicked and actually had his child delivered by a taxi driver stopping as a good samaritan because he went into full on panic and all he could think is "must not touch, must NOT touch!"

According to Jewish law, he was more than in the clear to assist his wife personally in that kind of life or death situation. Panic brings out the inner adolescent in religiously sheltered men.

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Guest Anonymous
Your story reminds me of something that happened a few months ago in NYC and had most of the tri state roaring with laughter for days. A Hassidic Jewish woman went into labor, and she and her husband were trying to get to the hospital. Don't remember the exact circumstance of why they were stopped, but the baby wound up crowning and the husband actually flagged down a taxi driver to deliver his kid. :roll: In Orthodox Judaism it seems, a man does not touch his wife when she is giving birth. The putz panicked and actually had his child delivered by a taxi driver stopping as a good samaritan because he went into full on panic and all he could think is "must not touch, must NOT touch!"

According to Jewish law, he was more than in the clear to assist his wife personally in that kind of life or death situation. Panic brings out the inner adolescent in religiously sheltered men.

Is it this one?

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11162

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But women like being treated as second class citizens! I'm with you on your OOOoooKay. If you (or anyone else) is interested in this issue I highly recommend checking out the documentary "Me and the Mosque". It can be watched in full here: http://www.nfb.ca/film/me_and_mosque

Anyway, it is always good to go learn about things like this and it is nice that put a little bit of a tour on so you could ask questions.

There's a Canadian Muslim blogger I read occasionally who has talked about her frustrations with gender segregation at the mosque, and how she's handled those frustrations, particularly in the following post:

woodturtle.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/barriers-and-mosque-participation-2/

So, at least some Muslim women do not feel like gender segregation is a sign of the mosque's love and respect for them.

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The man who was saying "Don't Touch" was WRONG.

It's perfectly acceptable to touch a member of the opposite sex to save a life, or in a medical emergency.

Source: A good friend is a Muslim ER nurse. Who hates the segregated Mosque. And wears hijab as a choice. Her parents actually hate she wears it.

He was very young, I'm not sure if it was panic, age or religion, the older guy certainly had no problem HA.

I was a bit too indisposed to make a judgement.

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A couple of mosques in Berlin do open houses once a year, I've been to the biggest one a couple of times. It's near me and they're constantly building, so I'm curious to see the changes. It's a really beautiful place and the people there are always lovely and I've never, ever had the feeling that anyone was trying to convince me to become Muslim, either, that's a nice change to other religions.

The seperation of men and women... Yeah. Not a fan. Not in a mosque, not in an orthodox synagogue. But then I'm still a member of a church where women can't be ordained. Maybe our seperation is just slightly more subtle.

This. Subtle does not make it better by dress or by participation.

I did not feel today was the right or appropriate place to discuss it. I actually as previously said came away with quite a lot of respect, but also a lot of huge questions. Specifically the gender segregation.

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There's a Canadian Muslim blogger I read occasionally who has talked about her frustrations with gender segregation at the mosque, and how she's handled those frustrations, particularly in the following post:

woodturtle.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/barriers-and-mosque-participation-2/

So, at least some Muslim women do not feel like gender segregation is a sign of the mosque's love and respect for them.

Oh yes, I agree. I should have also described the movie I linked to. It is made by Zarqa Nawaz, a muslim woman who created Little Mosque on the Prairie (a Canadian sitcom for anyone who hasn't heard of it) and she explores how dividers in mosques came to be and what people's opinions on them are. If I recall correctly, she is against them. Thanks for linking to the blog, it was very interesting and I will have to check out the rest of her blog.

To the OP: were all the people involved in giving you the tour men?

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Oh yes, I agree. I should have also described the movie I linked to. It is made by Zarqa Nawaz, a muslim woman who created Little Mosque on the Prairie (a Canadian sitcom for anyone who hasn't heard of it) and she explores how dividers in mosques came to be and what people's opinions on them are. If I recall correctly, she is against them. Thanks for linking to the blog, it was very interesting and I will have to check out the rest of her blog.

To the OP: were all the people involved in giving you the tour men?

Yes. I did not see any women. Many of the men served us our tea and sandwiches.

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Oh yes, I agree. I should have also described the movie I linked to. It is made by Zarqa Nawaz, a muslim woman who created Little Mosque on the Prairie (a Canadian sitcom for anyone who hasn't heard of it) and she explores how dividers in mosques came to be and what people's opinions on them are. If I recall correctly, she is against them. Thanks for linking to the blog, it was very interesting and I will have to check out the rest of her blog.

To the OP: were all the people involved in giving you the tour men?

Every Mosque needs an Imam like LMOTP. Barriers? Sure! For half the room for women who want them. The other half is open.

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Oh yes, I agree. I should have also described the movie I linked to. It is made by Zarqa Nawaz, a muslim woman who created Little Mosque on the Prairie (a Canadian sitcom for anyone who hasn't heard of it) and she explores how dividers in mosques came to be and what people's opinions on them are. If I recall correctly, she is against them. Thanks for linking to the blog, it was very interesting and I will have to check out the rest of her blog.

To the OP: were all the people involved in giving you the tour men?

Glad you liked it! I'm going to check out the posted movie once I'm done with my next round of essays-- thank you for the recommendation.

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Yes. I did not see any women. Many of the men served us our tea and sandwiches.

I think it would have been interesting to get a some female perspective into that tour as well.

ETA to Alecto: seems like a good idea to me.

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Nice that you saw the mosque, but it my experience it isn't that "hidden" or that scary. I've toured a mosque without a scarf (brought one but turned out it wasn't needed; when I called ahead they told me as long as I wasn't wearing a bikini or something similar it was fine) Tour led by a woman who was not "covered" (ie, no scarf--also by the way a medical doctor) and I went into the main prayer room, which I didn't expect to, but that was me--as long as they weren't having services I was welcome to walk around. They were very open, very welcoming, and at the time were having a Sunday barbecue outside that I was invited to.

Have to say that I had to figure out pretty quick that the men who were very welcoming me did not welcome me reaching out my hand to shake it--my culture demands it, there's doesn't it, not defending not touching women, because it's not of course my idea, but they weren't rude and never made me feel unwelcome.

Don't want to debate Islamic roles but just want to point out that a "mosque" isn't necessarily scary. Call up your local one and ask if they have an outreach.

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Eh? Who else apart from you used the word "scary"? :shock:

Who mentioned scarves?

Hey call up your local 'Our Lady of Lourdes' Catholic Church for a tour. I'm sure they would be happy to see you. Accommodate you. :shock: This was a cultural city part of the community type thing. Nothing scary.

Why would anybody be scared?

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Every Mosque needs an Imam like LMOTP. Barriers? Sure! For half the room for women who want them. The other half is open.

Our little mosque in the valley has open houses a few times a year, and is often visited by the UU sunday school classes The membership itself is evolving, it's very international and lots of members are students from countries outside the US. That being said they are now considering going 'Modern' Muslim which is a concern for some folks. I hope they can come to consensus without a schism in their fellowship.

Takai, I have no idea how you controlled your laughter :lol:

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We then moved to the prayer room. Women are not permitted there in their religion. But in we go. I did ask at this point why women were not allowed to pray with the men. He replied that it is a holy time and not a time for distraction (OOOoooKay)

Not necessarily true for all Muslim paths (some would call them sects). Ismaelis (at least the ones I know) don't worship separately and women are also not required to cover their heads, although some choose to.

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Our little mosque in the valley has open houses a few times a year, and is often visited by the UU sunday school classes The membership itself is evolving, it's very international and lots of members are students from countries outside the US. That being said they are now considering going 'Modern' Muslim which is a concern for some folks. I hope they can come to consensus without a schism in their fellowship.

Takai, I have no idea how you controlled your laughter :lol:

YOU had to be there. You would have probably made me lose it I suspect.

I have to say it was such a lovely environment, come on we are talking Glasgow. The chap who was confrontational made me uncomfortable. Time? Place?

There are many things wrong in any religion, culture. It is not my place to go there on a whim to question. They know they are on the back foot. Or should I say they think they are on the back foot. I was very impressed with the way they dealt with the guy. They were respectful, interested. I am pretty sure he felt like a total tit. It is not that his questions were wrong per se..we were probably all thinking the same. I was. It was a conversation he needed to have in private.

I did manage to score a cheap source for Saffron. Food transcends all religion. Well cheap :lol:

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