Jakarta: The world is witnessing the return of prayer to Muslim communities across the globe, and that’s good news for the thousands of Muslim women who have been working for years to spread it.
According to the Muslim World League, more than 100 million Muslims worldwide now participate in a network of mosques that are spread across the world.
But as the global population continues to grow, many Muslims fear the growing influence of Westerners in the mosques will become the new norm.
“We don’t want to lose our culture.
We want to retain our way of life,” said Moktar Mohamed, a 29-year-old Muslim woman who lives in the Indonesian city of Surabaya.”
If we have a new pope, we want him to change our way and our religion,” said Mohamed, who grew up as a Christian but converted to Islam in 2008.”
He will give us the tools to be a religious leader in this world,” she added.
This year, a new Pope Francis, who has spoken of tolerance, brought hope to Muslims who were concerned about the way in which Islam has been portrayed in the West.
The Pope’s visit to Indonesia on Saturday, when he visited the Muslim community’s holiest site, the Grand Mosque in Surabada, was seen as a chance to change the perception of Islam in the Muslim-majority country, which was rocked by a spate of terrorist attacks and violence during the past year.
“The Pope is a symbol of change in the world and of hope for the Muslim and world,” said Hani Ali Hamed, president of the Muslim Women’s Association of Indonesia, an umbrella group that represents over 50 million Muslim women.
“He is a change agent.
He has touched us.”
The Pope also addressed the Muslim women in attendance at the Grand mosque, where he prayed alongside some of the women who converted to Christianity.
“You have a lot of courage to convert to Islam.
I pray to you, pray to all of you, for the grace of God,” he said.
The Grand Mosque, which has been the site of hundreds of violent attacks over the past two decades, is one of the holiest sites in Indonesia.
It is also a pilgrimage site for thousands of Muslims who have spent years traveling to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
In recent years, the Saudi government has been accused of violating the rights of Muslim pilgrims by denying them access to the Grand Islamic Mosque, in violation of Saudi law.
Saudi Arabia has vowed to defend the mosque from the threat of terrorism.
The Muslim women gathered in the Grand Muslim Mosque, where the Pope prayed with the women in the group, said it was a time to renew their faith and work together.
“For the first time in the history of this religion, a Muslim leader is here.
He’s speaking in a very open way.
It was a great moment for us,” said Ali, who was also the executive director of the Indonesian Women’s Organization for Islamic Thought.
The women were able to take part in a series of public prayers on Friday, with the Pope offering a blessing for them.
“God has shown us that he’s not afraid to bless us,” Ali said.
“As Muslims, we must be united, we have to be strong and we have not lost our way,” she said.
“We are the ones who will be protected.”