Jun 22, 2008

On the Toledo Mosque, Islam, and Being an Outsider

The Islamic Center of Toledo, home to the golden-domed Toledo mosque(Perrysburg, OH) For years I have passed the golden-domed mosque that is the heart of The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, which is located near the junction of I-75 and I-475 in Perrysburg. While in the vicinity, I set out to take some pictures of this beautiful building, the dome of which shines like a brilliant star in the evening sun.

Unfortunately, the mosque has signs posted informing would-be visitors that prior permission is needed to set foot on the property. Seeing as how I did not desire either: a) an unpleasant altercation with the property's owners; or b) a visit to the Wood County Jail, I decided to circle around and find a nearby perch that would allow me to photograph the building.

After all: even if I had made the necessary arrangements, I still would have been an outsider, and I'm not sure that closeup images would have been any more superior.

My first stop was next to a field along Roachton Road, a little ways south of the mosque. I trudged through the dampened field, which appeared to be lying fallow, and took a few dozen images, none of which seemed to give me the angles and colors I wanted.

I next took up camp in a factory parking lot across I-75 from the mosque, where I also encountered a mother goose and her chicks; one of these photos is the image that accompanies this post. The mosque's golden dome reflects the late afternoon sun, yet the scene seems a bit surreal, surrounded as the mosque is by thousands of acres of Ohio farmland.

The geese and I soon parted company, none of us really possessing any new insights about Islam, cultural divides, or - for that matter - human-goose relationships. My efforts to recreate the peaceful moment in a digital format served to send the geese scurrying into the water, and they kept a wary eye on me from afar.

Much like, I suppose, did the folks at the Islamic Center as a purple Hyundai circled their property and a lanky, middle-aged man took many dozens of photographs of their house of worship.


kooz said...

About seven years ago....I was a sales rep for a company that provided this mosque with surveillance cameras.....My appointment with them was about a week after 9/11. Someone had shot some windows out from the expressway. Anyway...being only a week after 9/11...I felt very uncomfortable being in there....I was even more comfortable seeing many of their young kids running around in fatigue army clothing.

I remember reading one of their brochures waiting for the person I was meeting with. The brochurc explained the faith of Islam....The guy came out and asked me what I thought of the brochure. I told him I saw something contradictory in it. The pamplet says that you guys believe Jesus was a great man and prophet...but was not the son of God. However, Jesus spent his whole ministry claiming himself to be the son of God. So, if Jesus was lying...how does that make him a good man?

The man's bottom lip shook a bit with an inability to answer...long story short...I got the sale...and maybe even helped this man to think about the obvious contradictions of his faith.

Anonymous said...


My mom is about 80 years old and has been at the Mosque several times for luncheons and tours. With the proper notification, they have been quite interested in having guests.

Kooz - wow ... you are quick on your toes.

Anonymous said...

im a muslim, not from ohio but from maryland. i just read this post because it looks similar to a mosque in my area. anyways muslims belive that jesus is a prophet and a good man. and we beleive that he never lied. BUT most importantly we believe that he DID NOT proclaim himself son of God, and that was made up by the people who followed him. those people after his death edited the bible and made changes to what they thought would make their life difficult and anything else that interested them. they changed Jesus' state into son of God in order for them to make Jesus look supposedly "bigger" than he actually is. Maybe the intention of changing Prophet Jesus' state to son of God was done on good intention, only God knows, but we clearly DO NOT say that Jesus is a liar, that would be astonishing, and we also do not beleive he is son of God