This interterm I took a social work class called “Social Development and Social Justice.” We had a great time in class and out of class; for out of class we took five field trips to Wichita. Throughout this class we were challenged to go and experience something that we were not familiar with. A small group of us decided to go to The Muslim Community Center and Masjid (mosque). I am a Mennonite and this was a very different and enlightening trip for me. Here is an except from the journal I wrote for class:
“We did not go in the right door of the mosque, but luckily there was a nice man who showed us to the main office. We were then picked up there by a different man. He was extremely warm and welcoming. He sent the guys over to their part and then took us girls to a stairway. It was kind of confusing, because he could not actually take us up to the women’s area of worship. He found a female student to take us up. We all took off our shoes and then walked up stairs. We did not really know where to go then, so we sat in some chairs on the side of the room. I was surprised by how much I liked the space. I thought I would dislike being away from the main worship area. But, this room was very peaceful to me. The openness of it and all of the space were oddly comforting. The sunlight was shining through the windows and it made me feel very relaxed. A few young girls came over and asked us if we had any questions they could answer. They were very sweet. I asked them the best way to tie our scarves, but they said theirs had two different parts, unlike our scarves.
It was very different to just hear the speaker and see him through a TV screen. They even had sheets over the railing so the women could not see the men at all and vice versa. The atmosphere on our upper level was very interesting. It was very casual; people came in and left whenever they wanted to. Many of the women checked their cell phones, and some texted. A young boy was running around the whole service. I think it is harder for the women to get into the service because they are more physically removed from it.
Their prayers were very interesting. I liked how they were all together, like they were praying as one. Later they told us that they don’t like any space to get in between them and they are very physically close during this time”