The other day I was watching a French movie based on a true story called L’Apotre. The movie is about a young French Muslim guy, Akim, who is learning to become an imam just like his uncle. In the beginning of the movie Akim meets Fabien, a Christian guy, and they become friends. Fabien invites Akim for the baptism of his daughter in the church, an offer he can’t refuse as friend in his opion. It will be the first time in a church and like expected this will be a life changing moment for him. It’s a pretty predictable movie, he becomes Christian and his family and former Muslim friends don’t like that, he even got beaten up.
Although the movie is a bit predictable it has won several awards and so maybe it’s worth to watch. Reviews tell that this movie brings peace but I have read that in France this movie wasn’t in the theatres because of fear for negative reactions. How can a movie be good for peace but at the same time it has to be feared because of possible negative reactions?
Why I am telling this? Well because while I was watching this movie I had to think about my first time visiting a mosque. It wasn’t a life changing moment for me in the way it was for Akim.
A few years ago I went on vacation to Sarajevo (see picture below), the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (a country in Eastern Europe). This city is described as the meeting place between east and west, the beating heart of the Balkan. On walking distance you can find a catholic church, an orthodox church, a synagogue and a mosque. I decided to visit them all but because this mytake is about first time I just telling about my visit to the mosque.
Not far from the place where the Franz Ferdinand has been killed on June 28th of 1914 is the emperor’s mosque located (see picture above) a gift to sultan Mehmed II and build in the 15th century. I had seen mosques before, in my city there are also mosques, but they are honestly ugly in my opinion. But this one was much different, sincerely I could say I liked the way how it looked like.
I think it’s important to respect the customs of a religions and especially when you visit their holy place. When I enter a church I make the sign of the cross and make a knee bow and now I took off my shoes.
Except me there was no one, so I could look around without someone to bother me but unfortunately because of that there wasn’t anyone to give me more information. The first thing I noticed was that weren’t any benches or chairs to sit and secondly the red carpet on the floor. Don’t know if the carpet on the floor was the reason to take off shoes but at the moment I thought that was a good explanation. Don't know why but I expected to find just like in the church a place to light a candle or a place for silent prayer. Another thing that attracted my attention was …well don’t know what it is or which function it has but it made me thinks about a door and maybe it's indeed a door don't know.
Another good thing about the fact there was no one was that I were able to make as much pictures as I want without disturbing anybody. First after entering I felt a bit uncomfortable to be there as a Christian in the mosque. I realized this was also a house of prayer, a house of God. So I sat down and prayed.