Our local mosque sent out a letter of invitation to Churches in the community, for the opportunity to experience and tour their newly built mosque, and also participate in a short presentation about Islam. Judging by their delighted reaction at our presence, I don't think there was exactly a thunderous Christian stampede, beating a path to their door. A representative of our Ward contacted them, and organized a meeting mainly for the youth of our Church, along with whoever else wanted to play voyeur too. I wonder if the nearby synagogue got an invitation extended to them also? I wanted to ask during the Q&A session, but decided that might be just a tad incendiary. I grew up in a semi-Jewish household. The animosity? I get it.
If you all receive a similar opportunity, make sure you upgrade to the V.I.P package. I hear that entitles you to a sneak peek at pictures of the 72 virgins, and all you can eat falafel patties. MMMM! So, the guy who did the talking is the superintendent of Iman Schools. No, you silly people, that is NOT where you learn to be a Somalian supermodel, and strut your burqua clad self all over the catwalk. He found lots of time to admonish America for injustices against black people and to liken the L.A. riots to the "fringe radical" Muslim skirmishes happening all over the World today. Hee-Hee, whooooo, I guess he kind of forgot that the riots didn't happen to involve suicide bombers or killing and detonating innocents in the name of their religion. Whoops, maybe he just had a momentary brain freeze? Interestingly enough, when asked about the true meaning of jihad, and a Quran perspective on Christianity, the guy all but looked at his watch and sheepishly said, "Whoa, look at the time". Yeah.
We then watched as everyone prepared for the prayer at sundown. As guests, we were allowed to stay and observe. Women and men are separated by a partition due to complete prostration on the prayer mats. Sheikh ALLAWI (wonder if he's related to Iraq's new P.M.?), commenced to singing amazingly long, drawn out prayers with nary a stop for breath, and selections from the Quran, while everybody faced Mecca. My oldest daughter leaned over and whispered, "Mom, that guy is kind of scary". I said, "Yeah, but I bet he'd kick American butt in a yodeling contest". We laughed quietly. Afterwards, they presented a lovely little buffet with my favorite treats like hummus with pita chips, baklava, fresh fruit. Alas, no pork rinds. We ate daintily as making a pig out of yourself in a Halal environment would most certainly be frowned upon. We also got gift bags with our very own English Quran in it. I promise we won't pull a "Gitmo". Both of our neighbors attend services there, and we got to socialize with some of the other members. The women, in particular, proved exceedingly friendly and easy to talk to. As luck would have it, I started a conversation with the only lady there who homeschools her kids. Her fellow Muslims disapprove of that , just like so many people I know at Church. We got along very well. Social pariahs always find each other. :) One thing I noticed; not everybody speaks Arabic. That essentially means that they can't possibly understand what the Sheikh is saying and that their responses, in turn, are largely just rote. Interesting.
Even though we got to wander around a place of worship in our bare feet, and that does really appeal to me, I think that my belief and testimony of the Christian faith remains safe and sound.