Rock Out With Your Mosque Out
Note: The author of this post has requested to use a pseudonym for his story.
By Naveed Khan
M y mosque is one the largest Muslim communities in the area and its board spent over $1 million renovating the building recently. The end result was a beautiful mosque for the enjoyment of generations to come.
One of the crown jewels of the renovation was a piece of Islamic art that was hanging outside the front of the building. The mosque board was constantly talking about how beautiful the art was, so my friends and I were eager to see what it looked like once the renovations were complete. My eyes were immediately fixated on what the top of the design reminded me of.
What I saw placed my mind between a rock and a hard place (pun totally intended). On one hand, in front of my eyes was a piece of finely scripted Islamic art.
On the other hand, it’s hard to appreciate that art when it clearly looked like … a penis.
Several people, myself included, complained to the mosque board about the art. The board dismissed the complaints telling us “You guys are perverts. We’re not changing it. We already paid for it and we don’t see anything wrong with it.” The board said it was a calligraphy design frequently used by artists designing mosques in the Middle East. I’m no Islamic art expert, but I highly doubt that’s true.
Little kids would ride their bikes past the mosque frequently giggling and taking pictures of the building with their phones. Even my friend, an American convert, had to awkwardly explain to his non-Muslim mother what the design was.
We had a crisis of phallic proportions in our hands.
I contacted Muslim community leaders and the heads of other mosques urging them to help us handle this penis. They said there wasn’t much they could do because it was my mosque’s decision ultimately to put it up or take it down. Complaints to the mosque board went on for months. Until finally, one day, a board member conceded to the complaints and said the balls were in our court. He said “We’re not going to pay to get it removed. But if someone were to go up and knock it down ‘accidentally,’ we wouldn’t object to it.”
And that’s what “accidentally” happened. One of our mosque members, a construction worker, grabbed a ladder and yanked down the oppressive penis. In one quick stroke, it was all over.
January 13, 2012