On the day after Thanksgiving, we always go to a mosque about an hour away from my parent's house. It's the mosque that was closest to M's place when he was going to graduate school, and he's always happy to go back. He likes to revisit his memories from that time, and there are always a few of the old people he used to see there, so he gets to reconnect with them too.
I can't stand the place, though. I really hate gender segregation , and I dislike it in mosques as well. Different mosques do the gender segregation thing differently, though. At our local mosque, there are a few free-standing picket fences that get moved around to cordon off areas as male or female. During prayers, they're arranged horizontally so that the women pray in the back. But at other times, such as during lectures, they are arranged vertically so that the gender divide is a left/right thing and the women are at least SOMETIMES right in the front as well. It's a small comfort for me, at least.
This particular mosque that we frequent on the day after Thanksgiving, however, segregates differently. They built a whole 'nother building, and they shove the ladies (and children, mostly) in there. They pipe in the Friday khutbah (sermon) through speakers and a TV. The speakers are crackly. The TV is fuzzy. Of course, since there's no reason to make sure it's well-received by the audience in question - it's only the women after all.
The imam's speech is bad too. He always - ALWAYS - speaks about the evil that is Thanksgiving. We should not be celebrating these "western" and "Christian" holidays. We should not be trying to imitate "them" and we should keep to our Islamic identity. Never mind that Thanksgiving is not a Christian holiday, or the fact that I am western - I *AM* "Them."
Even though I can't stand the message, and even though I probably am only doing myself a disservice by attending (I doubt that ranting on the internet about these people and this place is morally uplifting to either you or me) I still go. I want to attend Friday prayers, and that is the community I am in during that weekend and we all deal the best we can when traveling. After all, it is only one day and M derives other benefits besides any spiritual enlightenment, so I generally take one for the team.
This year, though, Eid also falls on the day after Thanksgiving, so attending services at that mosque would mean that's where we'd kick off our Eid day celebrations. Eid is supposed to be a special day and having to start the Eid day in that mosque? That is undesirable to me even when factoring M's happiness in seeing old places and friends. M agrees, so we'll be going a little farther out of our way to attend different early morning Eid prayers at another mosque near my parent's. There's no guarantee that it will be any better, but I figure that it can't get worse. InshaAllah !
So, what are your Eid plans, if you're the Eid-celebrating-sort? Or just your day-after-Thanksgiving plans? I hope you all have a wonderful Eid filled with many blessings. Eid Mubarak !