This week I had the opportunity to accompany my brother-in-law's class of year 6s to the Islamic Centre at the University of East Anglia. I know UEA pretty well and know that the Centre was opened fairly recently, but to my shame I know little more than how to find it on a campus map.
It's just a short walk from the school to the University, which let the kids let off some steam which might have contributed to absolute hush when we went into the Centre itself. There is a real pause for ceremony as you go in, as the girls donned headscarfs and we all left our shoes at the door.
The centre leaders then gave a introduction to the muslim faith as well as a guide to mosques around the world - the portable buildings at UEA are not really representative of the fabulous architecture found elsewhere. Then there was a demonstration of the call to prayer and a standard 'unit' of prayer, both of which they translated so we could follow.
It was a fantastically interesting visit and great to get a better understanding of a faith that I have had very little contact with until now. The Centre went out of its way to make us welcome (the kids had more biscuits than they could manage!) and they were extremely generous in letting us wander into areas they may normally keep more tranquil.
This was an opportunity I was delighted to take up. Thanks to the Islamic Centre for their hospitality and to year 6 for the invite and letting me tag along!