Posted by Tom French |

Beards and Pink Toilets

I think maybe I now might have the chance to talk about all the things that I want to talk about. There's a lot to cover. Well I feel like there is, but perhaps there isn't. Whatever happens, it'll probably only be interesting for me.

On Monday night I got a phone call from Waleed, one of the Muslim guys who came to visit our Bible study a few weeks ago. Waleed invited me to go and watch The Passion with a bunch of Muslims ane hear a talk about it. I thought that was a good idea, but I told him I might have stuff on, can could I talk to him the next day and let him know.

So on Tuesday I rearranged my life and called Waleed from Loftus station to tell him I could come. He told me I could bring people with me, male or female, so that made me feel a bit better. So that night Kaye, Rach and I went to Lakemba to see what would happen.

We arrived at the Mosque, where Waleed was meeting us, half an hour late, and Kaye and Rach were the only women around. That was a little strange. I was wondering if I had committed a terrble crime bringing them along. But soon Waleed came out and met us and he didn't seem worried. He brought out his friend Ali who we had also met at Bible study and we headed off to get some dinner.

They took us to this fantastically nice Lebanese restaurant. They paid for us and we talked about life and religion. We were all more talkative when it came to religion. Did I say that the food was great?

After dinner it was time to go to the film. We were taken to this old Bowling club that had been converted into a Muslim youth centre. Rach and Kaye were sent to one door with the women, I was allowed to go in the with men. That was a little strange. It's the first meeting I've ever been too when the guys and girls have been split up, just because that's what you do.

My room was full of Muslim men. I've never seen so many beards in one room. I was feeling particularly clean shaven and white. Waleed took me to my special seat in the front row. Yikes! If anyone was looking for the Christian in the room I wouldn't have been hard to spot.

Even though we had arrived an hour late, the event hadn't started yet. They were trying to organise it so the girls could get the same stuff on their screen that we had on ours. In the end they gave up and started the show.

This black American man (who I was told lives in England) got up to talk to us. He sounded just like a black American evangelist. He was a little intimidating, especially in the front row where he kept making eye contact with me.

He talked to us about the need to be smart Muslims in the way we watch films and TV. And as Muslims we need to telling people the truth about the Prophet Jesus. It didn't really ring true to me, but I guess you had to be a Muslim. He went on to tell us what was wrong with the portrayal of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. It was very interesting to hear what Islam says about Jesus. I didn't agree, but I has happy that I could hear.

After the man talked for about an hour they showed us the last 10 minutes of the film, leaving off the resurrection. I'm not sure if that's because they didn't want to show it or they forgot that it was there.

After the film I went to the toilet which was for men, but used to be the ladies. It was all pink and had a sign on the door which said "Lady Bowlers". There were signs on the wall from the Koran about keeping urine off your hands.

Waleed and Ali then took the three of us to go see the mosque. That was cool. They took us up some back stairs and into the large, mostly empty carpeted room. There were lines drawn on the carpet so that people would know which way to face when praying. I was most impressed.

Waleed and Ali were very cool. I really liked hanging out with them. They were very polite and keen to answer our questions. I want to do more stuff with them. I really like finding out about other religions too. Fascinating.

But still, I am happy, very happy, to be a Christian. Seeing Islam makes me appreciate how much I have been given by God, and how good Jesus is. I'm happy to be saved by grace.

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