VISIT TO THE EXETER MOSQUE
This 14 November event avoided the wet weather and the Christmas shopping crush by combining a visit to the Exeter Mosque with a slide-illustrated talk on the links between the West Country, including of course Exeter, and the Middle East (see "500 Years of Links..." in left column)
The leaders of the Moslem community, including their Imam gave us a very warm welcome, including refreshments and a guided tour of the magnificent and relatively recently-built Exeter Mosque. They explained how a growing community of Moslems from Europe, as well as other parts of Britain, has expanded here in Exeter over a number of years and progressed from worshipping in two converted domestic buildings to the development of the new Mosque. This was opened only a few years ago, having been built on the site of some of the adjacent school’s original buildings, swimming pool and grounds.
We were shown the multiple shoe-racks and hand and feet washing facilities, separate ones for men and women, which are part of the Moslem ritual before attending prayers in the main hall. Modern Moslem women have their own stairs to an elevated balcony with discreet viewing screens overlooking the main Mosque Prayer Hall, which faces Mecca, where the men pray, alternately standing and kneeling prostrate on the carpeted floor and led by their “Imam” through ritual prayers.
The Imam gave us a most interesting talk and answered questions. This proved to be an excellent opportunity to explain to our members many important – and frequently misunderstood – aspects of the Muslim faith.
After refreshments, we sat down to hear a talk with slides prepared by Frances. A number of members of the Moslem community joined us and subsequently expressed great interest in the talk and our Society, even to the extent of asking for membership details.
Later, Malcolm had a discussion with the Imam on the subject of “ISIS”. He and his believers are deeply distressed by and concerned about them and their activities which are not “Moslem” at all!! A number of the Exeter Moslems, led by the Imam, joined the recent “March of Peace” from Exeter Cathedral.