When I went to the Al-Najjar mosque in the town of Makhmour, I found out first-hand that when Muslims go there for prayers the reactions of local Muslims are often mixed.
Al-Jazeera’s correspondent Abderrazak Ali was among them.
I arrived in the mosque a few days before Ramadan.
A Muslim prayer is scheduled for 11am on Friday.
As I was sitting on a chair in the corner of the room, a man approached me and asked, “Is there anyone praying in the back?”
I responded, “Yes, there is a small group of people, but they are not praying.”
He said, “Well, I know that there is going to be a small prayer, but if you do not pray in the same way you would have to pray together.
You can pray on your own.
So please pray with us.”
He went on to explain that Muslims who pray together in the room are allowed to pray with one another.
But those who pray alone do not have the right to pray in this place.
I was surprised to hear this and wondered what was going on in Makhmur.
It was then that I decided to visit the mosque for the first time.
There are only about a dozen or so people at the mosque at the moment.
They are mostly women and children.
They were seated around a table in front of a wall.
I asked if they were all praying together, and one of them replied, “No, we are not.”
But when I asked her why, she replied, and then said, and the rest of the group of women followed suit.
The Muslim women were sitting in a small circle.
As they were about to break the silence to pray, I said, We have no problems praying in this mosque.
They responded, Yes, of course.
They explained that when they pray together, they do not touch anything that touches them.
When I asked about the children who are also praying together in their small circle, they responded that their parents are not allowed to watch them.
“So,” I asked, what happens when they do want to pray?
“They have to be quiet,” one of the Muslim women replied.
But as she continued, her husband walked in.
He was also sitting on the floor, but he remained silent.
I then asked him, “So, you are not watching the children?”
He said no, but then added that they were not allowed for him to watch either.
I said that if he was a Muslim, he should watch his children.
“Yes,” he said.
Then he explained that he had been a Christian when he married my wife and that he was trying to be more like a Muslim.
“It’s not that I’m trying to follow the religion of Islam, but I just feel that we are different from the other Muslims,” he explained.
When Al Jazeera asked the mosque about the situation, a member of the mosque told us that they had received a call from a local government official who was unhappy with the way they were doing business.
The official wanted to find out why the prayer was taking so long.
So the mosque’s security staff contacted the government and they arranged for an official to go to Makhmar.
At the time of our visit, I had heard of a few other cases where people have been killed and the government had not responded to their requests for help.
I decided then to contact the authorities to see if they would help.
The police officer told me that the authorities were aware of some complaints about the police and the situation was under control.
But the problem was, that the police were often not there and sometimes there were problems with the police themselves.
He said that the people concerned had told him that the problems with police were due to the fact that the local police were corrupt.
The same police officer added that some local people were also angry with the Muslim police for not being responsive to them.
The mosque had also received a lot of complaints from the police about the security situation.
He told me, “We do not understand what the situation is in Mampout and there are problems there.
We have to look at what is happening in the area.
We can’t give you any details about the problems.”
So, I left Mampouth and went to Mampoul, where I had previously visited.
The security situation was very different.
I went out of town and met some of the locals.
They told me about the mosque, and also the police officer.
I explained to them that the security problems were due in part to the corruption of the police.
The local police told me they had already received many complaints about corruption in the police force.
They said they had been investigating several cases and found no one guilty of corruption.
One of the local women told me she felt betrayed by the police after she found out that the policemen had been caught stealing.
But she also said that she did not want