April 10 was a Sunday afternoon, and the quiet of the library at the King Fahd Mosque on Washington Boulevard was slowly overcome by troops of Culver City Girl Scouts, gathering for a tour of the building. As more than fifty girls ranging from Brownie Scouts to Seniors removed their shoes and waited to begin, questions buzzed through the crowd about the designs, the books, and the life of the structure, which many of the girls had seen and passed for years without ever going inside.
Breaking through barriers, eradicating prejudice and getting to know the neighbors were all goals for CC Troop 2265, who made the connection with the mosque and put the invitation out to the other troops to join together for the tour.
Samia, the woman assigned our tour guide, knew there would be questions. “I love questions, so please feel free to ask, and then we will get you the information you are curious about rather than just me tell you what I might think you want to know.”
Ask they did – about the art and design work of the building, the traditions of Islam, and the place of women in the culture.
“I am proud to call myself a feminist,” said Samia,”and when I’ve lived in countries where the culture is Islamic, there is more separation between men and women, with the idea that this fosters more respect.”
While many of the girls already understood the historical background of Abrahamic religions, finding all this just up the street in Culver City was a surprise. Taking the mystery out of headscarves and Friday prayers and seeing children the same age gave as sense of ease. By the time the tour was over, many of the Girl Scouts had words like “interesting” and “fun” to describe their afternoon.
The mosque is open and available for individuals to come in any day of the week. If you are interested in visiting with a group, best to call in advance.