Jewish Journal

Who knew Muslims pray on Friday?

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 8, 2009 | 9:58 am

Coverage in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shooting has been all over the place. This transcript from this “360 exclusive,” between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and the network’s senior editor for Mideast affairs Octavia Nasr, is just incomprehensible. It’s regarding footage of Nidal Malik Hasan shopping at a convenience store in a traditional Muslim garment:

COOPER: Octavia Nasr, what he is wearing, is that traditional for a Jordan? Or somebody who has spent time in Jordan? I mean it looks — I think it looks pretty — like outfits I’ve seen in Jordan.

NASR: Yes. That’s the traditional Muslim, really. The dress and the head cap. So it’s basically Muslim. It’s not necessarily — so you would see people in Jordan, yes, wearing this. It’s just a comfortable dress, basically underneath the robe that you’re seeing there would be pants, comfortable pants. And the head cap.

So it’s not really a look that you would see around here in the U.S. often. So I personally find it a little bit unusual to see someone in a convenience store with this kind of Muslim garb. Now it could be that, you know, this is from today. So it’s not a day of prayer. Tomorrow is the day of prayer, Friday.

So it is a bit unusual, I find, for him to be wearing this. Except if this is his casual wear and he’s going there in the morning to get his coffee and from the store owner we learned that he went in there very comfortable, sometimes in sweats, sometimes in his workout clothes and sometimes in this garb.

COOPER: Octavia, is it possible that — I mean some people pray every day or even pray five times a day and some people would just go on a Friday. Is it possible that he went every day?

NASR: Of course it is possible, yes, absolutely. That is possible. From my conversation with the store owner, it seemed to me that Friday was an important day of prayer for him. That’s the only day that the store owner mentioned as …

COOPER: I see.

Thanks to tmatt for pointing this out over at GetReligon. He notes the oddity of Cooper and CNN’s Mideast expert being so perplexed by something so fundamental:

Surely the Middle East expert and Cooper knew this. It’s something like wondering why liturgical Christians would make a special attempt to attend the Mass, Holy Eucharist or Divine Liturgy on Sundays. It’s a rather basic fact.

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