“Allah’s House”: The Masjid Contrasted to Other Places

One of the imams at the masjid explained what separates it from other spaces:

This masjid is the house of Allah, and it’s just only to getting closer to Allah, to worship him, to build more prayers in here. And also to go to heaven, to go to Paradise when you die…It’s a worship place, that we want to teach others the good stuff that we have…

The imam continued: "There are things that you can do here and things that you cannot do here, like you cannot have a party and drink…alcohol, stuff like that. Music, also, songs like that, since it’s a worship place, you cannot have alcohol, or [recorded] music, or stuff like that, just only to get in closer [to Allah]."

Sagal, a teenage girl at the masjid echoed this, contrasting the masjid to Faribault High School. For Sagal, the masjid’s separateness from the world outside it, as a Muslim religious space, makes it safe.

When teachers are mean to us at school, we always say they’re racist. But here [the people are] our people, and we’re not different from anyone else. We feel safe here. And it’s Allah’s house. You can’t do bad things, lie…We feel safer and better here.

At our school, the teachers can do whatever, however; we don’t belong there. Our school is horrible. Thousands of fights. Our principal is so mean towards us Somalians. —Sagal