TWU students visit local mosques as part of Islamic culture class
This month, Trinity Western students went on a field trip to explore Islam in Metro Vancouver. For students in the second-year anthropology course on Islamic Culture, it was a special opportunity to get out of the classroom and view Islam in the real world.
The trip began Friday afternoon with a visit to a Sunni mosque in Richmond, where students witnessed a Friday prayer service before heading to the Ajyal Muslim Centre in downtown Vancouver in the evening.
On Saturday, students visited the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby. In addition to viewing unique architecture and artifacts, students were able to learn the history of the more liberal sect, from its humble beginnings as exiles from Uganda to its integration in contemporary Canadian society. This was followed with a visit to a Shia mosque, where students learned about the Hajj from a local Ayatollah who had visited Mecca. Saturday evening, students attended a church service in Richmond where they heard a testimony from an ex-Muslim and former Hezbollah member who had converted to Christianity.
The final destination was to an Ahmadiyya mosque in Delta on Sunday. A more modern sect of Islam, the Ahmadiyyas believe that the Messiah’s return has already occurred. There, students toured the facilities and were treated to traditional Middle Eastern cuisine.
For the students, the trip was a unique chance to ask questions and experience first hand a faith and people group outside of the depictions presented by media.
“Islam is made up of different sects who all interpret the Quran very differently,” observed Nathaniel Kara, a second-year communications major. “What this trip demonstrated to me is that it’s inaccurate and unfair to judge all Muslims by a small and extreme minority.”