New in Town Etc.

Leila Aboulela

New in Town
I pushed open the door that said ‘Black Bastards’ in pen, and stepped into the mosque.  A woman was taking off her shoes, untying laces, left shoe then right.  I greeted her and after she replied, I said, ‘Where can I get soap and water to wipe what’s written on the door?’
She said, ‘Leave it now, we must be quick’.
I took off my shoes and hurried after her down corridors thick with toddlers, little girls in long braids, fights over bubble-gum.
When I reached the hall, I heard the imam say in a loud voice, ‘Straighten the lines! Straighten the lines and pray as if this is the last prayer.’

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