A friend of mine requested for me to write something about my experience especially the Vatican City.
Well, I would say not many of people, especially Muslims, whom visited Rome had the chance to visit this Christian's holy country or to be exact, to enter the Basilica de San Pietro (St Peter's Cathedral) in the Vatican City.
Why not many people had visit this country?
Well, there are a few possible resons regarding this. Obviously this place will be very crowded especially when the Christians are having their ritual or religious ceremony like the Christmas, Good Friday or the Easter. If then, the tourists or the non-Christians certainly did not have the opportunity to visit this gigantic church. Besides, when there are special occasions for the Pope, e.g important presidents or diplomats are around town to visit him, yup, there are a mass policemen and securities all over the place, and they restrict the amount of people entering and exiting the country. But the most rigid reason that I've ever encountered so far is the perception and attitude of some of the Muslims about churches, let alone the biggest and holiest place for the Christians.
There is no doubt a Muslim CAN enter a church. In some opinion from the scholars, they even permit a Muslim to perform solah inside, but of course provided with concrete reasons. One thing for sure (correct me if I'm wrong), Muslims are not allowed to attend special rituals and religious ceremony of the non-Muslims cause those may affect our aqidah. You can click here to read the `hukum' of Muslims to enter churches. That's why, when I got this opportunity, I'd immediately told myself - GO FOR IT. This is a chance of a lifetime, and I really believe we can learn a lot from our observation, regardless our race, religion and other differences.
I had to admit I felt quite uneasy the first time I step my foot in a church. That was in Salzburg, Austria, few days before I reach Vatican City. Also I must admit we need a strong will and courage and faith so you will learn and get useful information about other religion, without changing the slightest confidence and beliefs of your own. Nonetheless, it doesn't worth to feel too frightened or too pessimist about the whole situation. Always be in control and feel at ease.