The thought of visiting a Chinese mosque never really crossed my mind, until recently when I signed up to go along with a field trip of Thomas' class. Thomas' current class work is all related to different belief systems and this week he is visiting a mosque, a catholic church, and a temple, covering Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism in one gigantic religious swoop.
I never quite realized how big Islam actually is in China. According to some research posted on Wikipedia, about 1-2 percent of the Chinese population is Muslim, which translates into about 20 million Chinese. And, as I learned today, the second largest Muslim area in Beijing is about 10 minutes from my house!
Here we are, pouring out of the school bus and onto the grounds of the mosque. The mosque was only built in 2011, to accommodate the residents of the brand new building complexes on the right. (When I arrived in Beijing four years ago, there was only a big field. Back then, in 2010, the old homes and villages had just been torn down.) Apparently 95 percent of the people in this little subset of the city (a couple blocks of apartment buildings like the one you see in the picture) are Muslim.
The imam welcomes us at the door.
Thomas is hard to see in his red "Washington Capitals" sweater.
We are allowed inside the main prayer room, which is very unusual. Women would normally also be on the other side of the screen that you see in the left of the picture. (The kids had lots of questions about the separation between men and women here.)
The focus is Allah.
Inside of the dome.
Some autumn gardening and construction.
Through the women's shower and hand washing area.
Blue sky! Always a treat in Beijing.
In het Nederlands: Vandaag ben ik met een schoolreisje--weliswaar een heeeel kort schoolreisje-- van Thomas meegeweest. We hebben een moskee in de buurt van school (en ons huis) bezocht en van de Imam geleerd over Islam en de verschillende gebruiken van de moslims. Het was heel interessant de moskee eens een keer van binnen te zien.