Columbia religious leaders offer advice on experiencing different customs

Friday, February 20, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CST; updated 4:44 p.m. CST, Friday, February 20, 2009

COLUMBIA — Three young girls walking side by side giggle and chat quietly as they walk through downtown Columbia to the Islamic Center. Each wears her hair tucked back inside a silk scarf and is dressed casually in jeans, winter coats buttoned or zipped over long-sleeved sweaters, and tennis shoes. The girls cross the street in front of the mosque but head to the back of the building where they enter the left of two glass doors. Inside, the dry heat funneling from the furnace
exacerbates the rich aroma of a potluck spread. “It’s spicier than usual,” another young girl announces to the three new arrivals, licking her fingers.