Behind me is the main prayer area for men. The little house is where the choir sings “a capella,” since Islam doesn’t use music in services. Women can pray only in the cloistered areas that run around the back and sides of the mosque, and also in the balcony. Segregation is intended to reduce distractions and discomfort. Since Muslims pray on their knees and bow repeatedly with their foreheads on the floor, it would be a little uncomfortable for a woman to have a man staring at her bobbing bottom throughout the services.

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