I am the Community

KAKADU, JULY 1998.

I usher the next patient into my consulting room. She has fair skin
and freckles. She wears Islamic head-dress which covers her neck and
her arms. I look at her file: her name is Fatima Yasmin.
I introduce myself and she replies in a perfectly ordinary Australian accent.
Always curious, I ask: are you descended from the old Afghan cameleers?
No.
Did you marry a Muslim?
No, I’m not married.
So you converted to Islam?
Yes, and that’s when I took the name. I was a Colquhoun before that.
The rest of my family still are Colquhouns.
I wonder, then enquire: do you say your prayers five times a day?
Yes.
Which way do you face when you’re praying?
She indicates a direction north and west – the direction of Mecca, the
direction too, of Jerusalem, towards which I turn in prayer three
times a day.
Are there any other Muslims in Kakadu?
No.
So you are the entire Islamic Community of Kakadu?
Yes.
It’s a pleasure to meet you. Meet the Jewish Community.

7 thoughts on “I am the Community

    • hello liferite

      very very belatedly i found your comment

      thank you

      i hope to post a similar story – an encounter in a mosque in christmas island

      i am glad you feel as i do

      warmly

      howard goldenberg

      Like

    • o ximena

      i just found your comment now – very belatedly
      i have to admit i made up the name colquhoun, which was the name of my physical education teacher in 5th grade and not the name of my patient, which i changed for reasons of her confidentiality

      keep reading, ximena; there’ll be another story of a similar encounter

      howard

      Like

    • nev

      i was unaware that you posted this comment
      i was unaware that you saw the blog

      now that i am aware i’ll be hyperaware, and trying to please, trying to defy my master

      i hope you are well

      affectionately

      howard

      Like

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