Monday, August 20, 2007

Moslem Culture in Qatar

The community mosques, as distinct from the large buildings in the middle of the cities, are just that, focused on their communities. They are places of worship but are open centres of community life as well. OK, at least for the men. I remember talking with some men exiting a mosque in the markets of Dubai. They had been there for prayers but had stayed on to drink coffee and to chat, and to take some business lessons. Business lessons?! Someone in the congregation was touting his business acumen for free and attempting to help the less fortunate with whom he rubbed shoulders.

There are some wonderful mosques in Qatar but as with other places in the Middle East it seems that the smaller ones are the more interesting ones. The ones with most community interaction. That located in the middle of Doha had all sorts of activities happening in the evening, helped I suspect by being located just across the road from the markets. But by the time I walked past it on the last night of my visit it was quiet and the doors closed. Like most mosques they take on another air at night and many are lit to show off their lines and colour. With a full moon out, the mosque and its towers were nicely showcased. In the heat of the night I stopped for quite a while and watched the moon shift its way around the towers. To go back to the hotel room seemed sacrilegious and I was in no hurry to go back there.

April 2005

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