Peeps, this is my second shot at this – did a lovely quotable one last week and lost it in the world of cyberspace drafts. So here goes, in a perhaps less viscerally visual try.
There are six organised places of worship here. Two expressly articulate that there are facilities for women. But for the past many many many years, there has been only one place that facilitated us (oops, I forgot, there was another brief interlude that ended after about seven years). Has that been a pet peeve of mine? Of course! Appreciate that one of the ‘other’ places of worship is less than five minutes drive away from my workplace. [I can hear the sharp intakes of breath there – some who are outraged that I formally work and that I want to attend the jummah salaah, and others who are outraged that a female should be prevented from formally working and/or attending congregational prayers]. Nevertheless I try to make the 25 minute drive without griping too much. Like every coin, there are two sides of the perennial argument (and you guys can search out the arguments on the web).
Over the past Ramadan there was a concerted effort to offer a place of worship that facilitated the attendance of both genders, and that venture continues. The Muslim community here reflects a diversity of cultures and ethnicities. The most prevalent has been that of the Gujrati and school of Deobandi thought, and that influence is widely visible. Hidden, and partially hidden, have been the other regional and extra-regional influences. With the resulting potpourri of expressions.
The Al Falah institution blogged about earlier, offers post-schooltime jummah facilities for the ‘mature’ boys who cannot attend jummah salaah at the masjids during schooltime.