Mosques and Media
MosquesAs mosques are the only places that are exclusively for Muslims, mosques in Japan play a vital, multi-purposed role. A hundred years ago, there were only two mosques in Japan, now there are around forty. As both land and construction is expensive in Japan, many office and residential buildings are converted into mosques, usually with a separate place reserved for women and children.Mosque are used not only for congressional prayers, but also for social gatherings.
During Ramadan, the month of fasting, many Muslims come to the mosques in order to celebrate with their fellow Muslims. Mosques are also used to hold Islamic study sessions and weddings, with space for offices and places for relaxation. Mosques are places where Muslims can gather, worship, and socialize, though not all Muslims go to mosques. Other than information distributed by mosques and Muslim Associations, the majority of information on the Islamic world the Japanese public receives is through the mass media. After the September 11th tragedy, which killed twenty-four Japanese citizens, the relatively indifferent Japanese perception on Islam has become tinged with fear. More than ever before, it is imperative to separate the media's cloudy political influence from real experiences of the human heart.
According to japanfocus.org, 'There are currently between 30 and 40 single-story mosques in Japan, plus another 100 or more apartment rooms set aside, in the absence of more suitable facilities, for prayers.
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