Wednesday, August 10, 2016
…… as my college age granddaughter and I worshiped at a Muslim mosque.
Several months ago as the virulent anti-Muslim voices became even more pronounced throughout our country, I felt compelled to do something in support of those of the Islamic faith. Knowing that the Christian church I attend provides space each Friday for Muslim prayers, I felt that the least I could do would be to welcome these worshipers. As I stood outside the door to welcome them and was joined by a few young people, I could almost feel the apprehension of those men and women who were arriving. Upon noting that we were a "friendly mob," my heart was warmed by the exchange of greeting - not a handshake - but drawing each other into friendship by touching our own hearts.
As we continued to do this for several weeks, we invited the worshipers to share food and drink several times after their prayers. Several months now have passed and our friendship has waned somewhat because of summer schedules. How tragic, however, that the forces that divide us have continued unabated. Thus I thought I would not only greet the worshipers again, but also see if we could join in worship.
How I wish all Americans could've accompanied us! How very warmly we were welcomed. Fellow human beings of all hues taking time from their noon lunch or work on Friday afternoon sharing a time of prayer. Young and old, men and a few women, well-dressed professionals, workers in overalls and cab drivers prostrated themselves towards the origin of their belief. My granddaughter with me in the rear of the room held the leash of the seeing-eye dog of the speaker, a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. In a message of love, forgiveness and reconciliation, as he made equal reference to God and Allah, his sermon equaled any I have heard in a lifetime of attending Christian services.
We could feel the dedication and commitment to love in the room through the silence of worshipers in their prone position, I felt a oneness with all humankind as I bowed my head in joint meditation with them.