Friday, January 19, 2007

Quran in the Heart of Amsterdam

Paying for public transport in the Netherlands is a little bit different than some other countries. Instead of paying cash money or with a bank card directly to the bus or tram or metro driver, you have to buy from any stationary or cigarette shops, or station what is called a "strippenkaart". It is a sort of a ticket with numbers from 1 to 15 (some are to 32), depends on the distance these numbers will be stamped on by the driver, and can be used for a certain time and not limited to certain type of transport.

Around 10am today I had to go to work using public transport, which means that I should buy a “strippenkaart”. I passed by a shop that sells souvenirs for tourists (among other things like sweets, cigarettes, or drinks). I did not believe what I was hearing first, but when I was inside the shop and stood near one of the speakers handing above the entrance of the shop I was certain that Quran verses were recited, played from a CD or a cassette player somewhere in that shop. Then I saw a young man with a glasses standing in the middle of the shop, turning around and organizing goods quietly, while holding a white/colored mug (morning coffee or tea). His Egyptian or North African looks encouraged me to ask in Arabic instead of Dutch. With an apology he told me that another shop sell “strippenkaart” on the other bloke, so I thanked him and left the shop.

The picture of the young man, drinking his morning coffee or tea, with the Quran heard through the speakers reminded me of the old days in Baghdad when taxis, small buses traveling between provinces, and sometimes bakeries used to put a cassette of Quran in the very early morning, around dawn time.


chikitita said...

I love this post Mixmax. You know, playing Quran recordings in the early morning hours is one of the habits that have become inbuilt in the Iraqi society.

MixMax said...

thanks a lot chikitita for your comments