So yesterday my local mosque had an open day for the wider community and I briefly dropped inside to check it out. I was originally planning on attending with a politician friend of mine, but she had to change her plans to do a media interview, so I didn’t end up attending for the entire day like I was hoping to. It would have been nice to spend longer mingling with people and discussing current issues of relevance. But what I briefly saw was still interesting.
The mosque itself was small and modest. We listened to a talk about the daily prayers and what they do in the mosque on Fridays. I thought it was kinda neat that they had special clocks on the wall which display the exact times of the five daily prayers. Here’s a pic, sorry for the shitty quality:
There was a shed behind the main building which said “for women only” on it and I didn’t have time to ask anyone about that unfortunately. I suspect it might be where the women go to pray separately? (The mosque itself isn’t really big enough to divide up with a curtain like you would normally expect to see). I got to try some traditional Middle Eastern & Malaysian deserts and talk to some women about their headscarves. Interestingly there were no niqabs in sight… I wonder if that was deliberate? We have lots of international students here from places like Saudi Arabia so it’s not uncommon to see niqabis in that part of town.
The point of the open day was to start a dialogue between the Muslim and non-Muslim community in response to the recent wave of anti-Muslim hysteria in Australia. With the Abbott government fearmongering about national security and ISIS being in the media constantly there have been an increased number of xenophobic attacks here (especially attacks on Muslim women) and discussions about banning the burqa. It was nice to see a good turnout from the wider community who came to show their support to send a message that not all Australians are racist/Islamophobic dickheads. And I thought it was cute that they had some stereotypical Aussie food there for people to bond over, like the BBQ and lambingtons.
It was a good day :)