Today Brian & I went to the Islamic Center in West Jordan for Friday prayers. It was really interesting.
Back home in Peterborough, we have at least two beautiful green and gold mosques. You can see their towers for miles (ok like 2 miles...) and I'd never had a chance to go inside, so I was pretty excited.
Brian is currently taking an "Islam and the Gospel" class at BYU, which is the reason for the trip. Three other girls came too from the class. We women went in a side door, while the men entered in the main entrance. We were up on the top floor, sort of like a balcony, except there was frosted glass so we couldn't see the men unless you got up really close.
First was the call to prayer. Then a sermon that was in English and Arabic, or at least there was a splattering of Arabic throughout. It was about Salat, a pillar of Islam, meaning prayers and the proper way to approach it. The last part was the most interesting. While the women around us were praying throughout, there was another sort of call I suppose you'd say and everyone went up to the front to pray together. I'm not sure if it was a memorized prayer or not. The only words I recognized were Ibrahim (Abraham) and Allah, as it was also in Arabic. The whole thing lasted about an hour and ten minutes.
Overall a very interesting experience. It was interesting noting that just like LDS people, they had varying attitudes of concentration at their meetings, some were more fashionable than others, and they seemed to be from various nationalities. I was particularly impressed with the level modesty among the women.