It's a good thing that the visitor is a man. The sheikh doesn't speak with women. But then again, the reporter is a foreigner, which is also worrisome. There are so many prejudices about Islam in the West, says Sheikh Fawzi al-Sayeed. But perhaps, he adds, this conversation will help to spread the truth.
Sayeed, 70, a serious-looking man with a full gray beard, is wearing sandals, a crochet cap and the traditional Egyptian garment called the Jellabiya. He invites his guest into the Al-Tawheed Mosque. It is 6:30 a.m., and those gathered inside have just completed their morning prayers. Now they are forming a half circle around their sheikh, who has taken a seat on a wooden chair in the middle of the room. The Al-Tawheed Mosque in the northern part of Cairo is a plain-looking building with no ornate columns or other decoration; no unnecessary details to distract the faithful from their devotion to God.
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