My unexpected visit to the local Mosque

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My unexpected visit to the local Mosque

[cap­tion id=“attachment_17953” align=“alignright” width=“300” caption=“the Mosque on Main Street”][/caption]I was in town to cover the Planned Par­ent­hood protests, got there early before the peo­ple did when I noticed an older fel­low head­ing toward the Mosque. (Which was a bak­ery years ago). I never had actu­ally been inside and asked the per­son (who it turns out was 89 year old Grammy win­ner Jazz leg­end Yusef Lateef of all peo­ple) if I could speak to the Iman, I wanted his take on Planned Par­ent­hood open­ing across the street. I was told the gen­tle­man would be there in 15 min­utes and I was wel­come to wait.

I hung around wait­ing with the gen­tle­man while peo­ple con­tin­ued com­ing in, men and boys to the front sec­tion and women to the rear behind a cur­tain. The con­gre­ga­tion was pri­mar­ily Indian rather than Ara­bic in appear­ance. When the Imam, Bashir Uddin Mehmud arrived it turned out he was about to start his Fri­day Ser­vice, he invited me to stay and I observed the ser­vice which lasted about 35 minutes.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_17952” align=“alignleft” width=“300” caption=“Iman Bashir Uddin Mehmud”][/​caption]
His ser­mon was a no non­sense one about the start of Ramadan next Wednes­day and the need for spir­i­tual renewal, the rewards of fast­ing and the need to avoid sin and temp­ta­tion. The basic thrust of the ser­mon could have been given in any Catholic Church in prepa­ra­tion for Lent. He also asked the con­gre­ga­tion to pray for the mem­bers of their com­mu­nity that were killed in the May 28th Mosque Attacks. (Their Branch of Islam the Ahmadiyya Mus­lim Com­mu­nity are rejected by many main­stream Mus­lim groups). His ser­mon also touched on a denounce­ment of vio­lence. Not sur­pris­ing as his sect has been the tar­get of rad­i­cal Islam

We spoke for 45 min­utes after the ser­vice. He has lived in Fitch­burg for almost 30 years and has seen the change in the town. His opin­ions on the direc­tion of the city and the cul­tural decay of the coun­try could have been said by my mother.
[cap­tion id=“attachment_17954” align=“alignright” width=“300” caption=“The first thing you see when you walk in”][/​caption]
This is the same group BTW that you might remem­ber from the 4th of July parade , where you had Chris­tians, fol­lowed by the Jews, fol­lowed by this Mus­lim com­mu­nity back to back.

He seems a very fine fel­low and every­one was very socia­ble con­sid­er­ing I was a stranger sud­denly thrust upon them. From what I saw this is exactly the type of Islam we need to see more of.

As for Planned Par­ent­hood speak­ing for him­self he said it was a symp­tom of a larger cul­tural decay he men­tioned before.

Update: Just heard from the Imam who kindly invited me back any­time. Who would have thought I’d be exchang­ing friendly e-​mails with a local Imam two weeks ago?

the Mosque on Main Street
I was in town to cover the Planned Parenthood protests, got there early before the people did when I noticed an older fellow heading toward the Mosque. (Which was a bakery years ago). I never had actually been inside and asked the person (who it turns out was 89 year old Grammy winner Jazz legend Yusef Lateef of all people) if I could speak to the Iman, I wanted his take on Planned Parenthood opening across the street. I was told the gentleman would be there in 15 minutes and I was welcome to wait.

I hung around waiting with the gentleman while people continued coming in, men and boys to the front section and women to the rear behind a curtain. The congregation was primarily Indian rather than Arabic in appearance. When the Imam, Bashir Uddin Mehmud arrived it turned out he was about to start his Friday Service, he invited me to stay and I observed the service which lasted about 35 minutes.

Iman Bashir Uddin Mehmud

His sermon was a no nonsense one about the start of Ramadan next Wednesday and the need for spiritual renewal, the rewards of fasting and the need to avoid sin and temptation. The basic thrust of the sermon could have been given in any Catholic Church in preparation for Lent. He also asked the congregation to pray for the members of their community that were killed in the May 28th Mosque Attacks. (Their Branch of Islam the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are rejected by many mainstream Muslim groups). His sermon also touched on a denouncement of violence. Not surprising as his sect has been the target of radical Islam

We spoke for 45 minutes after the service. He has lived in Fitchburg for almost 30 years and has seen the change in the town. His opinions on the direction of the city and the cultural decay of the country could have been said by my mother.

The first thing you see when you walk in

This is the same group BTW that you might remember from the 4th of July parade , where you had Christians, followed by the Jews, followed by this Muslim community back to back.

He seems a very fine fellow and everyone was very sociable considering I was a stranger suddenly thrust upon them. From what I saw this is exactly the type of Islam we need to see more of.

As for Planned Parenthood speaking for himself he said it was a symptom of a larger cultural decay he mentioned before.

Update: Just heard from the Imam who kindly invited me back anytime. Who would have thought I’d be exchanging friendly e-mails with a local Imam two weeks ago?