Given its liberal and open view on societies and religion, Dubai is one of the best places to visit a Mosque and get an interesting explanation. Probably the best place to do this in Dubai is the ‘Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding’. This place operates under the slogan “Open doors, Open minds” and is designed to give outsiders a view on Islam as a religion and how it is being practiced in the United Arabic Emirates. They themselves describe it even more broader as “an organisation established to increase awareness and understanding between the various cultures that live in Dubai.”
We first had a little tour around the Mosque and eventually inside. As is required we were asked to take of our shoes when entering the mosque. Inside the mosque we got a basic explanation about Islam and how an average Emirati practices his religion. The thing that surprised me the most was the scientific backup of their explanation. The person explaining had a surprisingly good view on how old the universe was, how many stars there are in the galaxy, how life exists and so on. Of course there is an ‘Islam-explanation’ but it was very interesting to hear how they combine the Koran with scientific findings.
Afterwards we had a typical Arab dinner while having a discussion about cultures. Although I did not agree on all the topics discussed, I really appreciated the discussion in general. Also got a better view on how local Emirati live their lives.