Excerpt:

The beard issue came up early. One of the first questions fielded by Juber Hussain at East London Mosque's open day was from a young man in a leather jacket sporting a Motörhead logo, who wanted to know why Muslim men grew facial hair.

Smiling, and running a hand over his own impressive growth, Hussain observed that everyone seemed to be at it these days, not just Muslims – including his questioner. But he said that for Muslims it was a way of emulating the prophet Muhammad, who was believed to have worn a beard.

Questions kept coming: what happens at Friday prayers? What is Salafism? Why don't Muslims sing during worship? What is the difference between Sunni and Shia traditions? Why do women cover their heads? Do Muslims believe in the Bible? Why do Muslims wash before praying?


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