30Mosques.com | Day 24: Moving Along

By Bassam Tariq

We find ourselves outside of a large house in Newark, Delaware that will soon be known as the Glasgow Community Masjid.

According to Murat Kose, a member of the community, there are about 15,000 to 20,000 Muslims in Delaware. About a thousand of them are Turkish. Many of them own businesses in the area.

“Every diner you go to in the city, it will be owned by a Turk.” Murat exclaims.

Murat came to Delaware for business as well. His background is in chemical engineer and he was working on his PhD when he decided to create his own telecom company. He now runs the local office of Zakat, an Islamic aid organization based in Chicago.

The congregation at the mosque is mostly Turkish as well. The imam, Mahmut is 25 years old. He came to Delaware through an Imam training program in Turkey. He recently married and now lives in the mosque.

“I really think you should have visited the other mosque.” Says Murat Kose. “It’s bigger and more people go there.”

But this is where I wanted to be. Being on the road for the past 24+ days, it feels nice to finally have our feet planted. Here, I didn’t hear Aman singing to bad 80′s songs. All I heard was the wind and the call to prayer. For once, I don’t feel like moving. I want to stay in place and get to know the people. These are the kind of mosques that I like to see, the ones with large, mismatched carpets and toys laying around. Where the kids are always running around and the tea is always brewing. I understand the need for larger mosque spaces but sometimes, the coziness and intimacy gets lost. It reminds me of the small communities we have visited this year and their unpretentious manners that bind them all together.

Inside the prayer space, the way the light falls from the windows is incredible. A man prays alone by the curtains. Outside the window, you see kids playing around the swings while a mother watches over. Many spaces we have visited this year are blanketed by industrial lights and commercial carpeting. This mosque, like Imam Jamil’s and many other house mosques, embraces its form and celebrates it.

Our time in Delaware gets cut short because of a prior commitment we made in another state. So we drive off in to the distance waving goodbye to Murat and Imam Mahmut.

Still I wonder, what it would’ve been like if we spent the night at the community. The tea drinking, the bad Turkish jokes, the short taraweeh prayer and, most of all, the nice comfortable home to rest in. Being on the road for so long takes a toll, but they say that prayer is better than sleep. So we continue on our way, there is more to see and claim as home.

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