My last visit of 2013 was to the Central Mosque in Glasgow. I met up with Nasir Raza who is part of the admin. team there. Although I had been to the Mosque before (Doors open Day) it was quite busy ,so it was good of Nazir to give me a one to one tour. He explain many of the customs and traditions of Islam as well as what happens within the Mosque and why . Looking at their notice board in the reception hall it was very like our own, they have various initiatives such as a befriending service with particular focus on elderly care, involvement in anti-poverty projects within their community as well as a notice from the Strathclyde Police Muslim Association. Nazir told me that he was involved with visiting Muslim prisoners in Barlinnie Prison , in an attempt to reduce re-offending and to offer support.
We discussed some of the more topical issues of the day and agreed whole- heartedly that the media image of Islam was often one of stereotypes and negative. Friends, ignore the sensationalist headlines found in some newspapers! It was a pleasure to spend the best part of 2 hours in the company of a man of faith (not my faith), but faith none the less, someone committed to doing good within his community and by meeting with myself , happy to extend that to visitors.
Before I left I was given an english translation of The Qu`ran and a booklet giving further information on Islam, I accepted this gift in the spirit it was given, which was in a spirit of friendship. I even had a chat with their car-park attendant, we exchanged hand-shakes and wished each other a `good day`. If anyone has any suggestions for anywhere I could visit next year please let me know, or if you would like to have a look at the Qu`ran (english translation) or the guide to Islam, just ask.
Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year,