As I arrived in Masjid Abou Bakr Alsiddiq, The Mezquita de Bogotá, the Friday Qhutbah has already begun…
It is Good Friday, a National Holiday in Colombia, a Catholic Country. Consequently, Muslims also get the day off. It seemed to me that the Qhutbah was unrushed, being perhaps longer than usual, as no one really had to rush back to their jobs or other duties.
I hung around until about 3 p.m. and prayed Asr Prayers by myself before returning to where I was staying.
While waiting for Asr, I met a Muslim Brother who has been Muslim for just a bit longer than I have been Alive!
His name is Leonardo.
In 1969, being a young Bogotán, he had made friends with the few young Arabs who comprised the nascent Muslim Community.
As Ramadan arrived, he was impressed that they were fasting from Dawn until Sunset every day. He decided to give Fasting a try along with his Muslim friends.
At some point during that first Ramadan, Leonardo decided Islam was for him. He embraced the faith 45 years ago.
Apparently, he was the First Colombian to accept Islam in this Muslim Community that today numbers 8,000 within this Latin American City of 8 Million.
Leonardo’s almost ancient, yet joyful face, would have made a wonderful portrait. Alas, I no longer had a camera with me due to what happened the day before. It is one regret and one more reason to return to Bogotá to photograph this Muslim Brother; This Muslim Elder.
Without a camera, I was only able to record the audio portion of today’s Friday Qhutbah, delivered in Spanish and Arabic. The photo above was captured upon arriving at the Masjid back on Monday April 14, 2014.