— Pope Francis
I recently read this blog post by a young Christian woman who moved to a new town, and went through the process of finding a new Church for herself. Here’s one thing she said, about a particular church, that struck me:
In addition to plentiful food and conversation at the social, each time I’ve gone to church on Sunday, at least one person has spoken to me. This doesn’t sound like much to write home about, but you may or may not be surprised to hear that I’ve been to plenty a church where not a single soul went out of their way to greet me.
I have been to a lot of Masajid. In all my years attending masajid, I have never been greeted or made to feel welcome the way the woman above described. At 99% of the masajid I’ve visited, no one ever spoke to me, or introduced themselves, or asked me if I was new. Even at the Masjid where I was raised, when I go back and visit, only the people who recognize me talk to me.
I suggested to a friend, who had moved to a new town and was trying to meet other Muslims, if she had visited the mosque, she said: “Why? what would the mosque have for me?” I had no response for her because the truth is, the mosque has nothing for her. If anything, attending the local mosque could have driven her further away from Islam.
I have family members now who don’t like to attend mosques anymore because almost every visit, someone yells at them, talks down to them, or lectures them. At best, no one makes them feel like they want to come back.
If masajid want to attract the younger generation, they should start out by being welcoming. Why aren’t volunteers or staff recruited and trained to act as greeters and welcomers? why aren’t community members taught to welcome and talk to people they don’t recognize at the Jummah or Halaqa?
Here’s what really hit me in the above mentioned blog post:
not only are we all welcome to worship, the church is actually willing to meet the diverse needs of those who desire to strengthen their relationship with God
Not a day goes by that I don’t yearn and dream for such a Masjid to attend. That’s the whole point isn’t it? strengthening our relationship with the Almighty. How many times have our visits to masajid resulted in us feeling less spiritual or connected to God? I’ve lost count.
Richmond City’s only Muslim private school is holding an open house this May 11, 2013 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
Tawheed Prep School PRESENTS: STANDING AT THE CROSSROAD
A parents seminar & open house featuring guest speaker DR. Zaki Elsarrag.
Tawheed Prep School
1202 Oak St Richmond, Va 23220
Lunch will be served at 12:00 noon. Speaker after lunch.
About Tawheed Prep:
“Tawheed Prep School is Richmond Virginia’s only secondary Islamic educational institution for youngsters in grades six through twelve. It has grown over the past six years from nine students to a maximum enrollment of thirty-eight.”
— Peter Maurin