Interesting visit to the Islam Center this week where I was able to meet for Islam 101 and visit the Temple. Islam 101 was one on one with the teacher and he was eager to share Islam’s beliefs and customs. Most of it seem very similar to Christian and Buddhist beliefs, except with different names.
The Center consists of the Mosque and several other buildings and trailers. There are two separate entrances to the mosque, one for women and one for men. The teacher said that is because women are not comfortable praying in front of the men. However, he did say that husband and wives pray together in their home.
When we went inside the Mosque, prayer time was about to begin and the ladies there told us that we were welcome to stay. As the prayer session started, I felt uncomfortable because we had been given chairs and was spectator-like and I remembered what the teacher had said about women not wanting to pray in front of others.
After the prayer session, one of the women came over to talk with us and she was telling us about the Quran and its teachings. One thing she said sounded contradictory to what the teacher had told us earlier but mostly, all I could hear her saying was no, no, no. This reminded me of how religion sometimes take rigid actions in an attempt to control certain behaviors. On one hand, they say, “God loves you, all of us are God’s children BUT you have to do these things.”
Since all of these religions are similar and based on some of the same teachings, it puzzles me that they go to such great lengths to be different. The differences are not just cultural, they are religious beliefs that they pin their life and future generations’ life to and hearing her say “no” so many times felt like an attack on my chosen belief.
Muslim tradition is that women do not show any part of their bodies – so I found out that my dress was a sign of disrespect. Being on the conservative side, this seem like just another “no.” No, you can’t dress like that! No, you must not drink that! No, you must not eat that! No, you must not do that! There seems to be so much emphasis on the external and I think that that is what is wrong with religion. Many people keep up appearances so when someone goes off the deep end, everyone is surprised. The following link tells of a similar situation that happened to a teacher in England. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2440816/The-devoted-teacher-quit-Muslim-school-told-THIS-outfit-indecent.html