Day 18: Islamic Democracy
Today I went to the mosque for the sixth time, and the timing was perfect. After the daily prayer service, many of the members of the mosque had gathered together to vote for a new representative of the mosque's community. This is something that happens only every three years, and I somehow managed to stumble in at just the right time to catch it! Mr. Yang the antique shop owner was also there, and he was the one who informed Mr. Tafel and I about what was happening. Other than the occasional woman who is standing outside and watching their kid while the husband prays, this was the first time I've seen a significant number of women at the mosque. It was kind of funny, because normally while the old men are performing the salaht (one of five daily prayers Muslims are required to do), there is dead silence. Instead, the women were all chattering loudly and gossiping while they waited for the men to finish their prayers. It was interesting to see a small version of Democracy in a country that proudly flies the red flag of Communism. Obviously this is all contained within the local Muslim community, and it really has no effect on the local government, but it was still very interesting to see this kind of small scale democracy going on.