Saturday, October 30, 2010
In a synagogue, the prayers face the Holy Ark housing Torah Scrolls. These contain lots of texts (no pictures) that Jews are expected to continuously learn and question and also keep the 613 commandments of the Pentateuch. Tiring.
In a church, the prayers face icons of Jesus and Mary (pictures, no text). No need to read, learn or question (or even understand the Latin prayer). Christians are expected to believe what they are told: the best cover story in history of a woman who committed adultery. (I'm expecting the Vatican death squads to be on their way...)
In a mosque, the prayers face the qiblah wall and thus face Mecca, the location of the Kaaba. In the qiblah wall, usually at its center, is the mihrab, an empty niche or depression indicating the direction of Mecca. Basically, Muslims are being shown the way to Mecca to go there on pilgrimage and help the local trade.