Wajahat Ali has a very funny and also enlightening piece over at Loonwatch about finding a place to pray in public without making a spectacle of oneself. It answered some of my lingering questions about how Muslims accomodate their daily prayers in a community that isn’t set up for that.
A Muslim who prays in public is like James Bond, but without the bling, sophisticated gadgets and entourage of gorgeous women eager to bed him. Both brilliantly fail at every attempt at stealth. Like the fictional secret agent, a Muslim, despite his best intentions and clandestine efforts, sticks out like a pink elephant when forced to offer his ritualistic prayer, salat, outside the comforting cocoon of his home or mosque.
Instead, I discover I have 15 minutes left to pray the afternoon Asr prayer and I’m stuck in a crowded, Valley Fair mall in San Jose, Calif. Realizing that I’d probably be tazed and shot by Homeland Security if I decided to bust out my Arabic tai chi at the Orange Julius, I seek temporary refuge for my prayer woes in the most obvious location: the fitting room at the Gap.
And there are more illuminating anecdotes in the comments.