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I am a Muslim. Muslim means literally: one who surrenders to God. The belief of Muslims is called Islam. Christians and Muslims have a lot in common. They believe in the same God. Muslims call this God Allah. The most important man in Islam is not Jesus but Mohammed. Muslims do recognise Jesus. In the Koran he is called Isa. Jesus or Isa was a prophet, just like Mohammed. Prophets are like tutors or messengers that were sent by God. Muslims believe Mohammed was the greatest, Christian believe this was Jesus.

Mohammed was a friendly and honest man. When he was 40 he went to a cave to think. That's where he was visited by the archangel Gabriel. The angel told him many wise lessons. Mohammed wrote this down in a book: the Koran. In the Koran it is said that a good Muslim should keep to the five pillars of Islam. These are things Muslims have to do in their life. Muslims compare Islam to a house. The five pillars are the columns which hold the roof. If you leave out a pillar, the roof will collapse. That's why you have to obey to the five rules, otherwise everything will break down.

The first pillar is the confession to believe. Then you say there is no god but Allah, and that Mohammed is his messenger.
The second pillar is prayer. Five times a day a Muslim kneels down with his face to the East for prayer. Most of the time this is done in the Mosque.
The third pillar is to give alms for the poor. Some people on this earth are wealthy, others are poor. That's why anyone who can afford it should keep a certain amount of money separate. Once a year this can be given to the poor.
The fourth pillar is fasting. Once a year Muslims don't eat during the day but only when the sun has gone down. They say that when you are not involved in earthly things like eating and drinking, you can be more aware of the presence of Allah in your life.
The fifth pillar is pilgrimage. Once in his or her life a Muslim must travel to Mecca. Mecca is the place in Saudi-Arabia where Mohammed was born. There is a giant black rock, the Kaa'ba. This rock is sacred. The Muslims walk around the Kaa'ba seven times. And then they walk around the hills seven times. And then they celebrate.

More than a billion people in the world are Muslim. They live everywhere in the world. In the Middle East, Indonesia, Pakistan, Africa, Europe and even in America. In the Netherlands there are many Muslims too, most of them come from Turkey and Morocco.


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