The report gave me a chance to be brave and explore a different religion than my own. The one that caught my eye was the Islamic religion. The people who practice this religion has been discriminated many times in America due to the tragic attack on the World Trade Center on September eleventh in 2001. Another example is Donald Trump’s travel ban on majority of middle eastern countries. A person coming from a religion part of Christianity can see similar characteristics when practicing Islamic religions.
I went to two mosques in the Miami area for my site visit. The first Masjid was the Islamic School of Miami: Masjid Al-Noor. The second one was Masjid Al-Ansar. The Islamic School of Miami only has two Ju’mahs on Friday. The first one is spoken in the native language of the religion which is Arabic. The second service at the Islamic School of Miami is in English. Masjid Al- Ansar has two on Friday. After the 1:30 Ju’mah , Masjid Al- Ansar have a second one right after for people who could not make the first one. They also had a live ju’mah service online. Before arriving, I had called the islamic school of Miami before arriving. The person on the phone was a woman. She told me a girl needs to be fully covered from head to toe. Only thing showing should be your face, hands, and ankles. They had a sister wait for me with a scarf for Ju’mah. The person on the phone had asked me to make sure I was clean before entering mosque because this was a sacred place for their people. The traffic of Miami never fails to make a person late. Once I got to Islamic School of Miami, everyone was leaving. One thing I did notice before leaving about the house of prayer for Muslims was the women and men had two separate areas to enter. They also had a shelf where people would put their shoes on before entering building for Ju’mah. I missed the English service so I left. The following week, I went to Masjid Al- Ansar. I called ahead of time before coming but no one had answered the phone. This caused me to feel very anxious because I had no clue what to do or where to go once I got there. Once I arrived to Masjid Al- Ansar a nice brother of the Masjid gave me directions to where women enter and where to find a sister for a head scarf. In Masjid, the women and men are seperated during service. Men are in the front because they are the protectors. The women and children were in the back of the prayer service. The attire from women were diverse from the attire I seen at Islamic School of Miami. Masjid Al -Ansar had women dressed in regular everyday modest clothing attire with hijab and some women dressed in traditional attire. Islamic School of Miami I only had seen women with traditional attire which is hijab, long loose skirt and long loose blouses or dress. The sisters were very kind and actually welcomed me to sit with them for Ju’mah. Masjid Al- Ansar’s Imam talked about Allah being in your heart and Allah being with you at all times. After service, the bookstore woman gave me a free Qua’ran and introduced me to the Imam. The Imam had an interview meeting after the service with some of the oldest members of Masjid. He invited me to join so I can have more incite of the history of their Sunni and more incite of the basic of their religion for my report. They interviewed one sister and one brother of their Masjid. One cool fact about the Masjid was Muhammad Ali, famous boxer, had donated money to help the mosque when it first opened and brought more members in the African American community.
After the two interviews of the members, I had a chance to ask them questions. The staff members were open to answer any questions. I asked what do they do within south florida community. One member had answered, they have organizations spreading love and peace with jews, christians and other muslims by having picnics, building projects and more. When it comes to gender roles, the women dress covered from head to toe because it says in the Qua’ran to dress modest. I asked them how do they feel about “islamophobia”. One staff member said ” we, as Muslims, do not believe in islamophobia. Islam means peace in Arabic , phobia means fear. Together these two words means fear of peace.People who have fear and have assumptions of us. We can not do anything but show them love and pray to Allah for them.” Then later, the Imam taught me how to speak in Arabic by teaching me a simple greeting. He told me to come visit soon especially Sunday for learning and more questions. The sister before leaving gave me some wise advice and gave me a quick tour of the rest of the Masjid.
I learned so much coming to Masjid Al – Ansar. The people were welcoming and wanted me to gain more knowledge about their religion. This project has pulled me out of my comfort zone because of my social awkwardness. The women I met that practice this religion were beautiful inside and out. They made me feel so comfortable. I sort of felt like I was a part of a family there. The challenges I suffered to trying to get to the Masjid from public transportation. I got to listen to amazing stories of the people within the Masjid. The experience I had and coming from a christian home, I definitely see similarities of this religion and my own.