Thursday, July 26, 2012

Masjid Annur (Richmond, Contra Costa County, CA)

Welcome to TJ territory.

All the bridge tolls I've paid this week have, well, taken a toll on my wallet, so I decided to be a homebody today and kick it with the TJs in Richmond.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, the TJs have taken over a building which used to be the original Kaiser Permanente hospital.  I have to give them credit for turning a rotting building into something somewhat functional, but I have a feeling Henry Kaiser is rolling in his grave after seeing what they've done to his trailblazing bastion of public health (KP was one of the first HMOs, you know).

I've always had an uneasy relationship with the TJs.  They appear to be the nicest people, but I'm uncomfortable with how they do abandon their families for extended amounts of time to proselytize their religion.  No doubt they have the best intentions in mind, but I can't see myself getting along with people with priorities like that.  What also terrifies me about them is once they find out where you live, they don't leave you alone.  So, if any TJs ask, I still live in Santa Clara.

What disturbs me the most about the TJs is their apparent disregard for women.  Here's a floor plan of the old Kasier facility they've taken over:

You can see that they have an entire city block to themselves.  I did my due diligence tonight and tried desperately to find evidence of a women's section.  Nary a sign...although most of the hospital rooms did have sleeping bags in them, no doubt belonging to wayward TJs on journeys to convert more Muslims to Islam.

I'd understand if they didn't have a women's section if they had only one room to themselves, but seriously, they couldn't set aside one of the many empty rooms for women?  I know Islamic scientists have proven with a shadow of a doubt that the universe will implode if non-mahram men and women pray in the same room, but there really is no excuse here.

All the empty halls and rooms, however, means that is an amazing place to be a kid.  Children (male, of course) stampeded through the building, unimpeded by the stern directives of their mothers.  Men futilely tried to corral the younglings, but their playtime could not be interrupted by prayer time.

Speaking of prayer time, there are definitely more people praying taraweeh here than there were last year.  Seems like this mosque is starting to get some name recognition.  Honestly, you can't blame people for coming here, backwards as it may be.  This place is less than 10 minutes from my place and shoot, it felt nice to not have to drive 10+ miles to go to taraweeh for a change.

Taraweeh here is the Arab-20, and it moves very quickly.  The imam did make a gaffe today; he lead a four-rakat set today instead of the standard two.  However, unlike Belmont, the crises passed without Arab men shouting in their sometimes terrifying language.  Just gotta roll with it sometimes, guys.

KP sign: a reminder of a bygone era.

Former hospital room converted into a canteen.

Where the TJs eat their TJ food.  As you can see, there's still a lot of work to do to make this building hospitable (word choice intentional)

Date Visited: July 25, 2012

1330 Cutting Boulevard
Richmond, CA 94804

Tag-team taraweeh: Nope

Qirat: Good.  Better'n average.

Size of congregation: 40-60 people

Capacity of center: The prayer hall had room for 150 individuals with XY chromosomes.  There's no room here for individuals with two X chromosomes.

Parking: Street.  Arguably unsafe due to the proximity to the worst neighborhoods in Richmond, but generally there are no break-ins during prayer time to the number of people who are around then.

Mihrab: Yes

Minbar: Yes

Shoe shelves: Ample.

Building: A rescued Kaiser Permanente hospital.  This structure was left to die before the TJs took it over.  They're working on gutting it to make it more usable.

Friendliness towards women: Ranks near the bottom of all the mosques I have ever visited in the Bay Area.

Friendliness of congregation: Decent.  Anyone male is welcome here.

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