Masjid Nagoya, Bab al-islam Masjid Gifu

Impressions from visitors in 2016

2016.12.19 Teachers & Students from Meijo University Senior High School

161219 After I heard today’s speech, I was very shy that I myself used to steel myself against someone just because he was a Muslim. I would like to remove the prejudice or misunderstanding about Islam as much as I can.

 I became to think that even those who have prejudice (against Islam) would feel that Islam way of life is more interesting than their current life.

 Honestly, I had a sort of prejudice against Islam that it (Islam) was dreadful or weird. However, my idea about Islam changed after hearing today’s speech. I was glad I could hear an actual speech from a Muslim. Thank you very much for the valuable experience.

2016.12.15 Teachers & Students from Chubu University

DSC_0285 My previous image about Islam was that it forces females to perform routine household chores in their everyday life, repeats fierce wars with other countries, and always just causes mere annoyance. Of course that was partially dueto the influence of TV and media, but already the Islam image of horror was predominating. I have understood now that people who are performing fierce wars are very small groups, while other Islam believers are leading a very ordinary life.

 I was greatly astonished by the fact that (percentage) of IS doesn’t even reach 10 % of the whole (population of Muslims). I felt angry to hear that the rest good-natured Muslims who compose over 90 % are actually labeled as “terror-causing believers” because of the fierce conducts of those Muslims who doesn’t even reach 10 %. Such cases of labeling are not restricted to the matter of IS only; when a deplorable event is caused by someone who is a student in the same university or even who has the same hobby, the rest of whole members will be labeled (with that event). Unfortunately, this is our world. I am already making efforts in order definitely not to become a society member who arbitrarily judges on human natures after seeing only one small proportion, however, these feelings were raised more after this time’s study meeting.

 I was very envious to know that a Muslim female is much appreciated. Also, since I am myself a female, and I am doing a research bout the current (situation) of females in their existence and way of work, it was very great to learn about “state of Muslim female”. I believe it is not accepted to widen the prejudice against Islam by Mass Media. For that very reason, I have realized that the most important thing is to obtain right knowledge oneself and then to go spreading that knowledge to people who has not known yet.

2016.12.9 Students from Aichi Prefectural Public High School

 Attending your kind lecture today was a part of a class work at our school called “presentation”. I attended your kind lecture after I made my own preliminary investigation; however, my new discovery was that understanding the present situation of the Islamic world or the way in which Muslims think is done by meeting and talking actually face to face. The biggest shock to me was that a lot of misunderstanding resides in the recognition or impact of the information I got from the mass media so far. I want to tell the right information I got today, how misunderstanding produces another misunderstanding, how bitterly scratching the feelings hurts, tell that to many people through a presentation.

 We are visiting the mosque this time because we need to inquire Muslims directly so that we give a presentation about Islam which was decided by a class in our school. I was able to see, hear and feel that Muslims are evaluating peace. I will do my best to let my classmates know the real Islam

2016.12.2 Students from Chukyo University

DSC_0243 I am glad that I was able to know the real state of Muslims through my visit to the mosque!
 I am glad I was able to obtain the right knowledge about Islam by hearing a lot of information this time, and also, it was a very good experience because I was able to tell this information to persons in my University. Thank you very much.

2016.11.22 Students from Aichi Toho University

161122 At first I had a frightening image but I was impressed by the appeal of appreciating the females and by the aspect of appreciating the protection of the weak. I realized there are various people living in the world and I felt I would like the discrimination and prejudice to vanish.
 I realized that IS and Islam should not be taken as same. I think that even in the education field, the teacher should sufficiently support (the feelings of) the Muslim students.

 I had a mistaken preconception about Islam, but now that I have heard the speech of a Muslim I think I have the right understanding, and I will utilize it in the practices and conclusions from now on.

2016.11.5 Students from Yokohama City University

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2016.11.4 Students from Seirei High School, And from a Prefectural High School

161104Although it was my first time to watch (Muslim’s) prayer and to listen to their speech directly, thanks to the gentle and polite correspondence I could have very pleasant time. My understanding of Islam became deeper after (the speaker) answered various questions cheerfully, and I could listen to such a fresh voice that we can not hear by reading the book only. At the same time, I felt that it was such an experience that can make me think I need to learn more. Thank you very much!!
Talking about difference in sense of values between Japanese and Muslims took only a short time, however, I could learn many new things, and some of my doubts about religion were cleared off and I felt refreshed somehow. It was really good I could listen to that speech.

2016.10.29 Students of Tokoname City Elementary School and their family members

感想Ms. Sarah’s talk was very easy to understand, and it really changed my perception of Islam so much. . . . [I] asked my 5th grade daughter what she felt too. She said “I want to tell everyone that Islam and IS is totally different!!”

I used to think Islam was a religion with so many difficult rules to be followed, but I was told today that Haraam has reasons to it, and this made me understand. I understood about the food restrictions too. She also spoke about IS on how they are a small minority, that the majority of Muslims find them troubling, that Islam prohibits the killing of a person for no reason, and that Muslims love peace. It was beneficial, as I did not know much about Islam before.

2016.8.26 a Student from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies

I listened to a kind speech about receiving Muslims in Japan. My way of thinking (regarding that receiving) had some hinging on what is called Halal certification, but today’s speech kindly made me notice that I mistook approaching (matter of) hospitality towards Muslims. I also believe that it would be good if thoughts of people concerned in Muslims’ receiving, including Madam Sara who kindly gave me the speech, spread, and then we can wipe out, even a little, the negative image of “strictness” and “difficulty” which Japanese people easily tend to embrace about Muslims’ receiving. Thank you very much for your kind careful correspondence with me today.

2016.8.12 a Student from Yokohama National University

I thought I knew somewhat about Islam, but after hearing today’s speech I realized again my own ignorance. My interest in Islam got further deepened, therefore, I intend from now on to come again, and continue making investigations even in Yokohama. I am very grateful for the extremely precious experience you granted me.

16.07.29 An Associate professor and Students From Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

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I am so grateful (to you) that I was able to convey to the students the fact that diverse cultures exist nearby. Just like every year, a terror accident in France takes place and the students head to the mosque with face expressions that show their complex feelings, however, they go back every time with bright faces.

My parents were worried when I told them I was going to a mosque today, but the mosque was actually an attractively calm place. Also, I understood from Madam Sarah’s explanation that Muslims love peace.

Now that I have actually gone to a mosque and received an explanation, I am able to understand very well. I have realized how far our thoughts are influenced by the media.

I wanted to come to listen to the explanation again. I don’t believe that Islam is a dangerous religion any more.

It was good that I was able to receive an explanation about Islam in a mosque in Japan before I go to study abroad in France. I intend not to look at Muslims in France with a prejudiced eye.

2016.7.23 A Teacher and Students from Aichi Prefecture public high school

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Thank you for the very easy-to-understand speech about Islam. The interchange with (Muslim) students of our generation was specially very enjoyable. I was very tensioned in the beginning, but my tension was relieved little by little. Everyone! Thank you.

For me, I have learnt just a little about Islam in junior high school. I actually have felt that even if somebody is a Muslim he is not unique, and that there nothing different from us. It is just that the actions of minority group such as IS and alike are wrongly combined in our perception. The biased coverage of the media is one factor. I believe it is necessary to strengthen the right understanding through visiting the mosque.

2016.7.4 A Teacher and Students From MEIJO University Senior High School

DSC_0413Assalam Alaikum! Thank you for everything you offered me the other day like the lecture about the Islam, the guidance through the mosque, the food, and the warm reception in spite of your busy time. I personally experienced that Muslims are all kind and not so different from us.

 I was astonished by various things when I visited the mosque this time. The most astonishing thing was that there were many and very cheerful persons among Muslims. From their prayer and media, I arbitrarily had the image that Muslims were quiet, but I was astonished to find them cheerful and lively.

 Since ISIS is causing troubles to the whole world I had a negative image about Islam as I did not know anything about it. However, after I received the lecture (in mosque) this time, and as I learned in the ethics school lessons, I realized more strongly that it was wrong to disown Islam and Muslims. I felt the great kindness of the persons who actually came to the mosque and welcomed us cheerfully. I thought that it was very regrettable to arbitrarily decide that Islam was a radical religion just because we do not know anything about it.

 I have not (actually) seen the prayer before, but I was astonished that even children were properly performing prayer together with adults. The food that we received in the mosque was very tasty. I was worried whether I would be able to eat, since I have many likes and dislikes, but I was delighted that everything was easy to eat. Especially the curry was all easy to eat and very tasty.

 I felt that Islam is something close to us after this visit. Also my point of view has changed. I believe that my range of thinking has become wider. Really thank you very much.

2016, 7, 1 Students from Nagoya City University

Thank you for your warm reception today although it is the middle of Ramadan. While I am myself making a challenge to fast this very day, I am impressed by the people who follow this doctrine again and again for long years. Also, it was a chance to think of the meaning of practice of faith, after I saw the aspects of the practicing of the doctrine with deep understanding of its meaning, not only the mere performing of the doctrine itself. Today my affinity towards Islam was flowing all at once after I received your warm reception. I will come for a visit again for sure. I really thank you for today.

2016.6.27 an associate professor and student visitors From Osaka City UniversityFrom Osaka City University

 I visited Masjid Nagoya accompanying students in their investigation. Although I have visited mosques in Osaka and Kobe, but (in this visit) I received a kind extremely easy-to-understand explanation, which started from the basic things, and was about the state of Islam in Japan; a state that I have not understood well before. Also, I believe that the advises we received (in this visit) regarding the setting of the students’ investigation were very significant. In general, I realized the characteristics of Masjid Nagoya which are not available in other cities in Japan; such as (gentle dealing with Japanese Muslims and Muslima, the wide heart with which visitors from any country are received). I intend to revisit the mosque with the students again, and Looking forward to that, thank you.

 It was really a precious experience to hear a considerably detailed speech that starts from the basics. Since I myself have been to Indonesia, I was expecting that I knew a little about Islam and Muslims. However, I noticed, after I heard the speech, that I did not know at all that there were in Japan Muslims who were facing hard facts that I do not know. If I had not come to the mosque this time, I would have continued my life without noticing the presence of minorities in Japan. In this sense, I believe it was really good to hear that speech. I hope that from now on I would like to attend tea parties and lessons please.

2016.6.26 Nagoya Gakuin University Students-sponsored Exciting Tour

DSC_0397Thank you for granting us your precious time the other day. Now that we have heard Madam Sara’s speech this time and have seen the prayer actually, many of us say that Islam, opposite to what we used to think before, is not strict and (our) image of Islam has changed. Also, I was very interested in the idea that while fasting and after (a Muslim) passes through the trying time, he finds the heartwarming time. Thank you for all sorts of preparation you did before that day. When there is a chance I would like to go to mosque again.

16.06.24 Students from Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

Since I am a Muslim living in Japan, I used to think that food is definitely the worst difficulty I have. However, I was mistaken, it is prejudice. Now that I have heard the speech of this time, I believe my understanding of Islam has become deeper, and therefore, I would like to start doing what I can to eliminate the prejudice to even a little.

2016.6.17 A Teacher and Students From MEIJO University Senior High School

On the occasion of my graduation thesis whose theme is related to Islam; I came this time on my first visit to a mosque. I expected that I have, to some extent, knowledge about Islam after I have studied books and (data) on Internet. However, now that I have been able to actually hear the live voice of Muslims, I felt very shameful while noticing that I had many misunderstandings. I believe we should not swallow the whole information from media, rather we should have flexibility and take that information together with the word said by madam Sarah that [when there are 1.6 billion persons there are then 1.6 billion way of thinking].

2016.6.1 Nagoya Gakuin University Students

After I heard the speech of today, I felt how much we are influenced by the opinion of the media. Also, I felt how much the impression changes after one actually hears the speech even if he had already knowledge in his head.

2016.6.1 Students from Sugiyama Jogakuen University

 The most remarkable thing I felt today when I came to this mosque is the extreme kindness (of the people there) and the homely comfortableness. I had a little feelings of fearing or some prejudice before I came, but now I feel shameful that I looked at Muslims with such a discriminating eye. Now I understand that extremists are only a small part of 1.6 billion Muslims, and not all Muslims are like that, but rather most of Muslims are usual kind people. The bad things done by people are more highlighted than the good things done by them, and I felt it was queer to lump both things together.

 I used to feel a little afraid when I just hear “Islam state”, but (now) I believe there is nothing dreadful about Islam at all. I used to think that I would never like to do fasting or such alike, but I did not know that fasting is such an enjoyable thing. Moreover, I was astonished to hear that it (Ramadan) is the most weight-gaining month. Since my impression of Islam has dramatically changed, I would like to try to talk (about it) to other friends.

 I had no relation with religion before at all, and although there were some Buddhist and Christian friends round me but no Muslim was, so what I thought today after I heard various things in the speech is that (Muslims) are unexpectedly usual.

 I used to have the image that Islam is frightful before I learn (at mosque), however my thoughts have changed and I believe (now) that the extremists are only a small proportion while most Muslims are kind good people. And since I believe that facing prejudice is very disgusting and bitter, I wish that prejudice of more even one person against Muslims would vanish.

2016.5.22 Japanese Language teache

As I am a Japanese language teacher who met so far many young Muslims, I thought I knew Islam in general, but (in today’s visit) I learnt many things and there were many things which I didn’t know or I misunderstood. (Omission)/ Although it doesn’t seem to be may fate to become a Muslim at the moment, I believe that it is a very good thing to be able to acquire many good customs and points of view through Islam teachings such as Ramadan, daily prayers, appreciating the females, quitting idolatry. Because it is the human who forgets soon and flows with the bad stream…(Omission)/ I believe the human history contained various tragedies resulted from ignorance and misunderstanding, however, the influence of media that reports accidents, troubles, terror actions and violence is great in a country like this, most people of which (Japanese) do not have a any chance to contact directly with usual kind Muslims. Now that I have heard the speech this time, I really wish that Japanese media quits using [Islam state], its Katakana (ISURAMIKKU SUTEITO) or its abbreviation (IS) easily.

2016.5.20 A Teacher and Students from Al Fala High School

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2016.4.30 A Company Employee

I have learnt a lot of things about Islam and Muslims by hearing (today’s) speech which can not be heard from outside (Islam). / My heart was very touched when they kindly taught a stranger like me how to tie a scarf (Hijab) just upon hearing a few words from me about my interest in it. I will be glad to have an opportunity to talk with everybody at leisure.

2016.4.24 A Company Employee

I feel honored to be able to hear (today’s) speech which I have an extremely deep interest in its (contents) such as the difference between Kur’an and Hadith, or the original meaning of Shee’a and Sunnah. Although I came here supposing I had studied about Islam, I realized that I had mistakes in several points because of my misunderstanding or prejudice. I am heartily grateful that you granted me the opportunity to restudy the basics of Islam.

2016.4.20 Students from Nagoya University Of foreign studies

We were able to know that there are several misunderstandings about Islam and that we – Japanese- are told considerable wrong information through mass media. In this context, the most impressive thing to me was the word of Jihaad. Just before today’s visit, I used to think that Jihaad was to fight in a holy war. However, it was revelatory to know that the meaning of Jihaad was to exert efforts. Thank God I came to the visit today.

2016.3.26 Teachers, students and others from Aichi Prefectural University, Ritsumeikan University and Osaka University

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It was a precious speech (today) that made me reconsider my own understanding and made me wonder; didn’t I myself know anything, or didn’t I keep thinking of the mosque based on a certain premade image!. While I feel shy because I have not headed to visit Masjid Nagoya in spite of that I have lived for 15 years in Nagoya studying about making a multicultural country, I am thinking to continue studying in the same way of today (the visit).

You gave us a precious speech that you kindly conveyed in an easy-to-understand way. It is relaxed to have prejudice and to discriminate, just like one’s surrounding people, without knowing (the truth). I am going to learn myself then I will start talking about establishing a society in which children can live smoothly. I realized the significance of knowing.

After I had visited the mosque in the city I live in and had actually heard the speech of a Muslim I felt that Islam was not an odd thing, rather it was a familiar thing. Being a familiar thing is an important standpoint for deepening the right understanding of Islam.

It was a very precious time (at mosque) in which I directly met (you) and I could listen to a powerful, broad-minded and heartfelt speech. I believe we should first know about the existence and feelings of people from various beliefs and points of view.

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