Discussion with a muslim

This post is inspired by an incident last night (7/4/2015).

My gf and I were in central London and we passed by a masjid (mosque), the London Central Mosque Trust Ltd. and the Islamic Cultural Centre to be exact. Coming from a Christian background, she had never been in a masjid before and it sparked her curiosity. If she wanted to see inside this was a perfect chance. So we went in and watched the prayer – from the time of day it would’ve been ‘ishā.

As we neared the prayer room, standing in the part where they keep their shoes, one of the guys – an elderly guy of what I presume is Nafrican background – started telling us to separate! In a “holy place” a couple holding hands is indecent. My gf pointed out there was a ‘white’ couple almost right beside us. I think the ‘white’ guy was muslim explaining the prayers to the woman. Though they weren’t touching (as far as I could see) they were well within touching distance of each other, and the Nafrican guy didn’t even look at them. So I asked why he was telling us to separate and not them, and he carried on with his “holy place” rant. Then he tried to make me step back because I had my shoes on, even though we weren’t standing in the prayer room itself.

A security guard came and intervened, telling the guy to calm down – but agreed that our behaviour was indecent. He explained that what we were doing was private and children’s minds are pure.

Shouldn’t this be impure/ indecent/ private too? Even if they’re not gay and this is just an Arab custom, why would man-man or woman-woman contact in public be OK but woman-man contact isn’t?

He (the security guard) then asked if I’d want my children to see people snogging in the streets, totally ignoring the fact we were just holding hands. As I got exasperated I said “Listen, I used to be a muslim so I know all these conditions.” That REALLY got the ball rolling; “You used to be a muslim?” That evolved into a new discussion:

  • First he didn’t believe me, which is no surprise. It’s no exaggeration that most Muslims don’t know that ex-muslims exist!
  • He assumed I’d been ignorant of the religion and proceeded to tell me what Islam is,
  • I showed him that not only was I not ignorant but more knowledgeable than him (I told him a Qur’anic verse about abrogation that he didn’t know*) and challenged him to show me a single verse that gave believers permission to stand up to verbal abuse and bullying – which he couldn’t. Back when I was reading the whole Qur’an I never found it; the closest was just giving the oppressed the right to armed resistance against physical violence,
  • He got scared and admitted he’s not a shaykh or scholar (do you have to be to know your own faith?), then referred me to the masjid’s shaykh.
* Suwrah 2 verse 106: “What we abrogate from a sign or cause to be forgotten, we give better or similar. Don’t you know that indeed Allah has power over everything?” Abrogate = cancel out, so Google’s translation of duplication/ reproduction makes no sense

And the shaykh had just gone home.

The best the security guard could do was tell me to come back during one of their talks on Saturdays & Sundays, and bring my gf if she wanted to come too. That way I could have my questions answered – which I never asked for since most of my questions about Islam have been answered, just by using my own brain and searching for myself. We refused the offer as we were just passing through the area for the day.

Oh well, at least she got to see the inside of a masjid – a rare chance since most masajid in London don’t let women in at all.

2 thoughts on “Discussion with a muslim”

  1. I think the abrogation verse was a tactic on Muhammad’s part to deal with any self-contradictions he may have made over the years: “God said one thing about e.g. adultery and subsequently said something different? Well, He’s just giving us a better version now!” But elsewhere the Quran deals with the matter of its inner inconsistencies by denying there are any, 4:82: “Then do they not reflect upon the Quran? If it had been from any other than God, they would have found within it much contradiction.” On the matter of contradiction the Quran contradicts itself!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s