x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Jumeirah Mosque builds bridges

Mosque is a popular stop on the Dubai Big Bus tour.

Interior of the dome and main chandelier of the Jumeirah Mosque located on Beach road. Antonie Robertson / The National
Interior of the dome and main chandelier of the Jumeirah Mosque located on Beach road. Antonie Robertson / The National

DUBAI // It is one of the oldest and most revered mosques in Dubai. It is also a key stop on any Big Bus tour.

Jumeirah Mosque, built in traditional Fatimid style, is open to the public for guided tours, where visitors learn about both the mosque and the five pillars of Islam.

The tour guide Latifa Flook, a British Muslim who has been living in the Emirates for 20 years, said the tours encouraged greater cultural awareness. "A lot of people don't know anything about Ramadan and this gives them a chance to ask questions," she said. "It's about us building bridges between nationalities."

The tours are organised by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.

Ms Flook is an ideal host. She recounts cases of women wearing pyjamas underneath their abayas and tells guests that the biggest female prayer rooms are often found in malls. Many of the guests left feeling that they learnt a lot more than they thought they would.

"I know a little bit about the religion but there were a lot of things which they mentioned that I didn't know," said Brian Swords, an American tourist, who was wearing a kaffiyeh. "It's useful to have this kind of presentation as it dispels some of the ideas some people have."

Work began on the mosque in 1976 and it opened three years later. It was paid for by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the father of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The mosque can hold up to 1,300 people but on Fridays worshippers spill out on to a green carpet outside.

Tours take place on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10am.

 

mcroucher@thenational.ae