A land of contrasts

20/08/2014

camii

This isn’t the first time I’ve posted about Tokyo Camii & Turkish Cultural Center and it probably won’t be my last but I wanted to share this photo with you. If you type Tokyo Camii into Google, you can find many photos like this and I think it continues a recurring theme in modern Japan. Old and new mix very well here. If you walk around Tokyo, you can see that clearly. You might see skyscrapers towering over a tiny old Japanese shrine or temple. This photo is rather quaint in that respect and I think it beautifully depicts Islam’s special place here. Although of course, no place is immune to the islamophobia we find in much of the western media, but there is a certain exotic pull to Islam that people feel here that is difficult to explain. You only have to attend the free iftars that Tokyo Camii put on during Ramadan to see the exuberance that the locals attend with.

It could be the discipline of fasting or praying five times a day or the sense of family of breaking fast as a community that appeals to the Japanese. Who knows?  But there is indeed an underlying fascination with Islam that is waiting to show itself. The current Halal boom is just another factor in this story.

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