A day after the new pope had been elected, Francisco from Argentina, we went to the mosque. It seemed the thing to do after all. We were joined by a number of other interested people.
The King Fahd Islamic Centre is located on a large plot of land donated by the Federal Government during the presidency of Carlos Menem, who, while being raised Roman Catholic, discovered later in life his Syrian origin actually included Islamic roots too.
Today there are about 700,000 Muslims in Argentina, the largest Islamic population in Latin America. Argentina also boasts the largest Jewish population in Latin America, though those numbers have lessened in recent years. Currently 1.9 per cent of the country's population is Muslim and 1.3 per cent are Jewish.
The Islamic Centre is located across the street from one of the largest gambling meccas in all Latin America, The Hipodromo, open twenty four hours a day, every day of the year.
Fashion is important at the Mosque as Sherry discovered. Apparently her dress did not cover enough of her legs and she was given a longer skirt to wear over top. And cover up those arms too. If you don't mind, though there isn't much choice if you want to enter. Please.
Yes, quite a fashion statement.
The buildings that make up the Centre, housing a school, library, various offices and the mosque itself, are impressive, yet hauntingly empty. We were there for the call to prayer and the actual prayers; only men and boys, no women in view. And no photos please.
Free tours of the Islamic Centre are offered each Tuesday and Thursday at noon. Long winded and slightly incomprehensible, unless you speak Spanish, it seemed a bit boring to me.
Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2013 by Jim Murray.