Masjid Nagoya, Bab al-islam Masjid Gifu

Comments from Visitors 2021~2018

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  • Comments from Visitors 2021~2018

Visitors to the Masjid in 2018 have shared with us their thoughts after the visit. Some of their comments and their photos can be seen below.
Comments from Visitors 2017 can be seen here.
Comments from Visitors 2016 can be seen here.
Comments from Visitors 2015 can be seen here.
Comments from Visitors 2014 and before can be seen here.

2021.6.6 Shigakkan University, Assistant Professor and Student

 

・I was surprised by how little I knew about Islam. It was totally different. I am glad to realize that I had a lot of misunderstandings. I believe there are many Japanese who also are misunderstanding. I want more people to know, and I personally want to know much deeper about this. I was impressed by the Muslim’s greeting “Assalam Alaikum” is so wonderful!
・Thank you for such a precious time. The Muslims in my imagination were having tough situations with very strict regulations. However, it was not harsh as I imagined and my impression had completely changed. I also thought the industry of Halal certification was contributing so much to Muslims, but I agreed on having detailed information with multilingual illustrations is much more important than Halal marks. Lastly, I was expecting Ms. Sarah to be more inflexible and very strict, but rather she was so friendly and I enjoyed it so much!

2021.3.26 Aichi Gakuin University, Associate Professor

・I have learned a lot. We should not think one Muslim’s action defines all the Muslims in Japan. Moreover, I got the answers about which I was concerned. The fact that there are some organizations that recommend excessive acts on how to approach a Muslim. Not only would I use the learnings for my paper, but I would also like to share it with my students in class.

2021.2.13 A first grader with his parent

・Praying 5 times every day seems to be hard. But, I was amazed that it is normal for them. And the prayer we were looking at was cool.
・We decided to visit Masjid Nagoya since our family would like to host a Muslim exchange student, but we were worried that it may be difficult to serve them well. As I looked into books and pieces of information on the internet, I found that all seasonings like Shoyu and Miso must be labeled with a Halal mark, and all meats must be Halal certified, thus, I thought dealing with them in Japan would be very hard. However, I was relieved by the detailed lecture today. I learned that we must be careful about pork but there are Muslims who accept other meats, and some foods are eatable when we go out to eat. The important thing is to show them what we can do, and let them judge by themselves rather than deciding what they can’t eat before asking. I was very happy that the talker used easy words so that my son could also understand. Thank you very much.

2020.11.21 Meijo University, Student

・Today’s lecture was beneficial for me since I learned how peaceful and fair Islam is. I would like to spread the truth about Islam here in this country, where there is a lot of misunderstandings.
・I realized that I never had a proper understanding of Islam. […]. I was surprised since I used to think Islam was much stricter (e.g. Halal), but rather they were having a life with freedom. I am happy with the knowledge about Islam I acquired today.
・To be honest, I had my life almost without knowing about Islam. […]. since I am studying in the faculty of foreign studies currently, I assume myself having a chance to meet a Muslim. I would try to remember the things we were taught today. Thank you for the talk today!

2020.11.7 Keio University, Student

» Details on their talks with SYM are HERE
・Thank you for showing us inside the Masjid today. I gained loads of knowledge which are not available by just reading books. This was my first time visiting a Masjid. The time there was very meaningful and almost every learnings were new for me. I would like to share the facts about Islam with Non-Muslims.

2020.11.3 Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Student

・I used to imagine Muslims having a hard time since they have to pray 5 times a day, cannot drink alcohol, and cannot eat pork. However, Muslims were not feeling like that in reality, so I realized it was nothing but a guess by us Japanese. It was a great lesson to know about what the Muslim youth are feeling daily. Thank You.
・Islam did not seem dangerous at all after listening to Ms. Sarah’s talk. I will try not to forget about thinking Islam and IS separately, and I also have to nurture media literacy. I felt is actually good that women are not being discriminated, rather they are treated fairly due to their capacity. I learned it is certainly not discrimination even for a housewife if they can be proud of it. It was surprising to know the fact headscarves has a mean of preventing troubles.
・Thank you for such a valuable lecture today. Islam is harsh to women! That was my impression before, so I surprised about the fact there is actually a lot of positive things for women. I am interested in Islam now. I would like to participate in the volunteer activity if there is a chance again.

2020.10.3 Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Student

画像に alt 属性が指定されていません。ファイル名: 20.10-2-640x360.jpg・The difference between Islam and Christianity, the Quran and the Hadith were previously confusing for me, but the lecturer explained them in detail. I finally understood them clearly. It was wondering to know that actions differ by the one’s choice of Sunnah, this made me curious. I used to learn the severeness of discrimination against women in Islamic countries, but I am glad to know that this was totally a misconception.
・Certainly, Islam is widespread and there are many Muslims all around the world. Being able to practice the religion in each one’s capacity is very good. I imagined for an instance Ramadan, requiring a lot of endurance over and over. Therefore I am glad to know that it is not that harsh and rather it is an enjoyable act. I had stereotypes of Islam and learnt that they were wrong. I feared how unknowledgeable I was. I think it is awesome knowing the answers to the purpose of life. Thus, not being worried about it, since I guess we Japanese don’t have these ideas.
・I had a lot of misconceptions about Islam. I was amazed when I learnt the concepts of the 5 pillars, and it was not harsh as I expected it to be very strict. I am really grateful to learn facts like the fairness between men and women, Muslims being misunderstood as dangerous extremists, and many other things too. I think this was a great opportunity and I appreciate being a part of such an amazing experience.

2020.8.29 Group from Izakaya Restaurant “Zenchan”

・I usually pass by this mosque since I live near, and  I have finally entered the place of prayer. I learned one of the facts about the mixture of worship and daily life. I pray for the future to always be “Assalam Alaikum.”
・The culture of Muslims was explained clearly, so I have learned a lot. I had learned about Sunnah and Shia a long time ago in geography class, but I never considered it from a religious perspective. I would like to know more about this. The Azaan which was done by a boy and the recitation in the prayer was astonishingly beautiful. I have certainly seen something good.
・Thank you for such a clear lecture. I think the assumption of Islam’s dangerousness is because of the newscast media. I am relieved by the fact that we are actually, all the same just wishing for peace.

2020.8.22 Nagoya University, Student

2020.8.21 Public High school in Nagoya, Teacher

2020.2.13 A Employee

2020.1.19 Nagoya NHK Culture Center of Arabic Class

2020.1.18 Ehime University, Student

2020.1.4 Toyo University, Student

2018.11.17 Nagoya Gakuin University, Student

・I have a few Muslim friends, but I was able to deepen my understanding of Islam even more today by learning about things I cannot ask directly to them. I hope more people of Japan and the world will have an understanding of Islam.
・I had a prejudice against Islam that there is only little freedom and have to obey the rules with no exception, but after listening to the talk today, I felt that Islam has a lot of freedom and that it’s flexible. I thought people would die from hunger because of fasting, but in reality, there are people that actually look forward to it, and I felt it is a month where everyone can become happy.

2018.11.14 Resident of Gifu Prefecture

・I very much enjoined the visit. Thank you. It was a very easy to understand and interesting talk, just like the talk at Mizuho-ward last time. I have never thought of extremist organizations nor the Middle-East in the context of “education”. Visiting the actual place of prayer and place of washing was a very valuable experience for me. I was able to truly feel the connectedness of faith and purity. The atmosphere created by the white board, book shelf, and so on were also very nice.

2018.11.3 Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Student

・Thank you so much for the valuable talk, the Masjid visit, and for hosting the cultural exchange event. It’s needless to say that my understanding of Islam has deepened, but I was also astonished to know about the young Muslims, a generation that I had no opportunity to know until this day.Their way of looking at and understanding Islam was way beyond my expectations.

2018.8.8 A Public Middle school of Nagoya, Student

・Other people might be afraid to go to a Mosque, but I was relieved to find out there were many peace-loving Muslims, and learnt new things.

2018.7.24 Nagoya City University

・After actually visiting an Islamic Mosque myself, I realized again how there are misunderstandings in the perception of the public. I feel it is important that young generations like us acquire the correct knowledge and take action.

・I was able to deepen my understanding of Halal food.

2018.7.22 Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Student

・I felt that the reason there is a strong image of “Islam=People doing bad things” in Japan, is that there is no religion rooted inside the Japanese society. I was one of them. However, my heart was moved after learning about Islam. Even though there are differences with the culture and lifestyle of Japan, I was amazed after knowing things such as the reason why Islam started. My image of Islam has changed. It was a nice experience being able to see people praying, as we hardly have opportunities like this.

・When I told my mom I was going to a Mosque today, she said “Why? That’s scary”. I was looking forward to visiting today because I didn’t have any prejudice, but there are people out there who have prejudice like my mom, and I felt that it indeed is really difficult to get everyone to understand about something, whatever it may be about.

・I like traveling abroad, and I’ve been to countries like Australia and England. No one says anything when I travel to countries with a big Christian population, but when I speak about countries with a big Muslim population, saying that I want to travel there someday, people get worried saying “Isn’t it dangerous?”. I feel that Japanese do not understand Islam, and that there are many who connect the IS with the religion. I now want to change the image of Islam even if it’s little by little, and I hope Japan becomes a country where Muslims find it easier to live in. For that, I want to actively study so that I can become much more knowledgeable about Islam.

・Islam wasn’t the suffocating strict religion I imagined it to be, but rather the middle path between Judaism and Christianity. I think the way I view women with scarves changed from today. I wish these facts are spread across the entire country of Japan. It was also nice being able to observe the prayer.

2018.7.17 Nanzan University, Student

・Thank you for allowing me to visit Masjid Nagoya today. I learnt that Islam is not too strict at all, nor is it too loose, but rather a religion of the middle path. I was able to spend a very beneficial time here, and I want to recommend my friends to come visit as well.

2018.7.14 A Public Highschool of Nagoya, Teacher, Student

» For details of the event, click here.
・Thank you for allowing us to visit Masjid Nagoya today. It was an extremely beneficial time where I could learn a lot of new things. […] After what I’ve learnt today, my way of thinking has changed tremendously. I think there are a lot of people out there that don’t know much just like myself, so I wish to change their perception as well. […] Even after we left, the students looked happy talking about the game they just played, and I feel that today has become an excellent event for them as well. They might have had worries about the culture they are not familiar with, but through this interaction event, I think they understood that Muslims are no different than themselves. Even though that Muslims are no different than themselves is an obvious fact, it’s also something you are not able to realize unless you have the knowledge, and so I believe it has become a wonderful experience for them as well.

2018.7.11 Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Professor, Student

・I observed the prayer in the Mosque, and was able to experience the peace-loving spirit of Islam.

・I learnt that there are mistakes written about religion even in textbooks.

・The Islamic idea of how there isn’t a previous life, was absolutely beyond my imagination.

2018.7.10 The Open University of Japan, Student

・Thank you so much for giving me your precious time today and helping me out with my graduation thesis.[…]The question I had was “how will Islam in modern day Japan change? And what will cause it?”. Today, I understood that the activism from Ms. Sarah, as a mother, to “make society an easier place to live for the children” is exactly the instigating factor in spreading an understanding within the Japanese public. I felt that Ms. Sarah’s activism is something that I should definitely make a special mention of. Thus, my initial plan on writing about the Masjid as “a Masjid in the countryside” has now changed to a plan on writing about this Masjid as “the Nagoya Majid that is engaging in a type of innovative activism still rare in Japan, to better the understanding of the Japanese people”.

2018.7.3 Waseda University, Professor, Student

・This experience of visiting Masjid Nagoya and observing the prayer in the Masjid was extremely beneficial. My initial image of Islam was that it has strict regulations, and that it is violent because of what I knew of the IS. However, after learning at my University’s seminar, listening to today’s talk, and witnessing the prayer, I felt that Islam is a religion with a lot of depth to it, and that it has a lot of pious believers. My image of Islam and the Mosque has completely changed after visiting the Mosque today. I think there are many people in Japan that do not know about Islam yet, and has a stereotypical view towards it, so I wish various people get to know more about this. (Male, student)

・This was my first time going to a Mosque, and I imagined it to have a more solemn atmosphere. However, this, in a good way, wasn’t the case. It was a homelike atmosphere where I could sit comfortably while listening to the talk, and people coming for prayer were shaking hands. After observing the prayer for the first time, I felt the prayer was longer than I expected it to be. It was interesting how the Athan had a tune and rhythm to it. I felt as if it was a kind of music. I’m curious whether the way it is sang is the same every single time with the same tune and rhythm. (Female, student)

・Though the atmosphere of the Mosque and the prayer was indeed something out of our ordinary lives, there was no feeling of fear or pressure, and it was a rare opportunity to experience the Islamic culture while being in Japan. Also, the Mosque was completely blended in with the surrounding houses, that I actually couldn’t notice its existence until I came right in front of it. I was reassured again that this blending in with the surrounding houses and cityscape, coexisting with those around, is the Islam in Japan. (Male, Student)

2018.6.30 A Highschool in Aichi, Student

>>For details regarding the event, see here

・Thank you for hosting this event, and also preparing the amazing Egyptian dinner. I hope you can tell me the recipe someday hahaha. […]. I myself was very moved by the statement, “Please look at me as a human being”. I hope I can interact with people as a “person” without framing them into a box such as that of a particular culture or religion.

・I used to think Muslims thought and acted in a completely different way from us. But, I realized and felt that what’s different from most of the Japanese is really only the religion, and that they are actually normal people with no other difference in anything else.

・I’ve made Muslim friends when I went abroad, but I had a lot of questions I couldn’t ask them because I wasn’t sure if it was okay to ask or not about their religion. With an event like today, I could ask questions, and I think I have deepened my understanding. Also, it was fun getting to know Muslims of my age.

・What surprised me first of all, was that there were this many Muslims, and that they, as Japanese themselves, spoke Japanese fluently. When there aren’t even many Japanese that can speak Japanese beautifully, I was surprised to see people with an Islamic culture that spoke Japanese so fluently. I understood well that they want to be seen as human beings, before being seen as part of their religion. It surprised me that the Islamic culture actually had a lot more freedom than I thought. Ramadan and the 5 daily prayers are something normal for them, but the fact that they can do this from a young age without seeing it as a burden is amazing.
I realized more vividly the reality of them having periods in their life where they couldn’t open up because of experiencing something like racism.

・ I learnt a lot listening to opinions from Muslims of my age. I’m particularly glad that I heard stories that only they know of, such as their experience regarding after-parties of school events, how they have to be careful even when shopping in a convenience store, and how they are worried that they might be causing their friends trouble because of themselves. If there is an event like this again next year, I hope other students from my school would join too.

2018.6.28 Aichi Prefectural University, Lecturer and Student

・What especially struck me was how Islam values fairness between men and women, rather than equality. There is a recent trend within Japan of encouraging women to work, but I’ve always thought it’s weird how women are told to work in the same way as men, when there are physical differences and they have to nurture children. I felt the idea of protecting women and making it fair is a worldview that Japan should take in as well.

2018.5.18 Meijo University Senior High School, Teachers

2018.3.3 Nanzan University, Student

・I realized again, how interesting it is to study about Islam when what I’ve learnt through books and research papers, were connected to what I actually saw today. At the same time, however, it made me realize that my knowledge had been unbalanced. The realities cannot be known until you actually come and see it for yourself. As I continue my studies about Islam at my university, I want to make sure I actually go out and see for myself, never forget what I see, and gather information through my very own ears.

2018.2.27 Visitor Residing Near Nagoya, Female

・Time flied so quickly that I literally forgot about the time, as Ms. Sarah’s talk was such an easy to understand explanation of the basics of Islam, touching on various topics, ranging from my own feelings, common stereotypes amongst Japanese, the image of religion amongst modern people, problems in everyday lives, to the history, and the situation of the world, and so on. […]. It was especially interesting how 1.6 billion believers are all unique in their practice of their religion as a result of their devotion to Allah.

2018.2.14 Institute for Owari Region High School Geography and History・Civics Education

・We have a Muslim student in our school. We try our best to accommodate the needs, but I felt that what is actually more important is to let other students have an understanding of these needs.

・It is needless to say that we must be careful when they teach their subjects, but as for being considerate of the struggles that Muslim students might be facing, I realized today, that this is something we need to look at as a responsibility for the entire school.

・I learnt today what I could not learn through books regarding Islam and the realities of Muslims. I also realized the importance of coming to see with our own eyes.
・The fact that Islam is tolerant, was something new for me to learn. It was a nice experience being able to watch the actual prayer as well.

2018.1.18 Aichi Prefectural University, Student

・The struggles Muslims in Japan face, were different from what I expected. This made me think about my understanding of Islam in Japan. Being able to watch the prayer was a rare and valuable experience.
・What struck me the most, was that there are children who can’t even tell their friends that they are Muslim. It hurts my heart, that they can be ridiculed for being Muslim, or can be seen as how the IS is seen. I felt that the biggest problem, is not concerning food or prayer rooms, but rather concerning the “prejudices”.
・I was actually interested in Nagoya Masjid from before, so it was amazing that I could I actually visit. I was able to learn new things about Muslims. This is a place I want more people to visit.

2018.1.6 Aichi Prefectural University, Student

・Thank you for the great opportunity, and the heartwarming welcome! My friend who was with me also said she had so much fun, and a valuable experience. I was actually nervous until the day before, whether I could join and talk with everyone, but everyone was so friendly, and they welcomed us so heartwarmingly. We had a very fun and valuable time. […]. From the conversations with the mothers, I learnt that many children start questioning their identity as a Muslim, from when they start interacting with the outside world, through opportunities such as enrolling in elementary school. Also, it was interesting how children were actually saying “Bismillah” when it was their turn, when playing card games after prayer. They sang a song about Islam (I might be wrong) for us as well.

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