If something happens twice, it could be a coincidence. If it happens three times, it could be suggesting a pattern. A few weeks ago, when I was wandering around Danyang, I happened on an interesting pairing. This was as soon as I got off the train and walked north and west from the high speed rail station. The area was mostly either empty or industrial. However, I found a Christian church.
While was interesting was the next door neighbor. They share a fence.
Yes, an Islamic mosque can be peaceful neighbors with a Christian church.
When I first saw this, I enjoyed the peaceful juxtaposition. While it may seem rare, it made me think of America. By that, I mean the part of America where I come from: New Jersey. It’s a place filled with Jews, Muslims, Christians, white, black, Hispanic, Eastern European, Indians, Pakistanis, recent immigrants, wealthy business people, and so on. They are all neighbors, and while relations are not perfect, people find a way to get along with each other in day to day life — for the most part. Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York City are multicultural in ways many parts of America are not. We all have to live together and share the same geography in ways that people in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky do not. This was one of my highlights of a recent visit to Danyang. I saw lots of other stuff, but it wasn’t as personally meaningful as when I took these pictures. It reminded me of the America I personally know and don’t read about in the news everyday.
Then, I went to Jintan. This is a place that used to be a small city, but it got absorbed into Changzhou. It’s now Changzhou’s more undeveloped western district that is near both Zhenjiang and Danyang. During my wandering, I found a similar pairing.
This church and mosque share property lines. The mosque is more obscured by trees, and so there was no way to get a clear shot of these two standing next to each other. But, this is an instance, like in Danyang, where Christians and Muslims are essentially praying in the exact same geographical location.
This can’t be said for downtown Changzhou. The mosque is near Nandajie, and the church is at Wenhuagong. In downtown Wuxi, it’s the same. Mosques and churches are not neighbors. As I said earlier, if it happens twice, it’s a coincidence. Three times and more suggests a pattern. As I wander around Jiangsu, I will keep an eye out for the third instance, now.
This post originally appeared on www.realjiangsu.com.