The National Cathedral in Washington DC is going to host a Muslim prayer service on Friday. About 100 Muslim leaders are expected to attend the service which will be closed to the public. Here’s the story from the Washington Post:
Washington National Cathedral, known for presidential funerals and other major spiritual services, will host a Muslim prayer service for the first time Friday.
… organizers said Monday that they are seeking to make a statement by having Muslim leaders come and hold their midday service in such a visible Christian house of worship.
“We want the world to see the Christian community is partnering with us and is supporting our religious freedom in the same way we are calling for religious freedom for all minorities in Muslim countries,” said Rizwan Jaka, a spokesman with the prominent ADAMS mosque in Sterling, Va., one of the co-sponsors of Friday’s service. “Let this be a lesson to the world.”
…“This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” (Ebrahim) Rasool (South African Ambassador) said in a prepared statement. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”
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Response: I would like to say that this service is a good thing and marks cooperation between two faiths. However, the event will be viewed in a number of very different ways around the world.
In America and in Western nations it will be looked upon positively as an affirmation of religious liberty, and an example of cooperation between religions in the face of bigotry and prejudice. However there is another very different message that most Muslims around the world will receive from the event. After all the National Cathedral (even though it is an Episcopal church) represents the head church in America. They will see it as Islam progressing and finally receiving more power and influence in this nation. The symbolism is unmistakable. In some ways it will be seen as ‘planting a flag’ and claiming the land for Islam in the future.
The Muslim leaders claim that the service will be good example to Muslims around the world that religious freedom should be extended to religious minorities like Christians in the Middle East. Which sounds well and good to Western and American ears. If that was the real and complete intent than the ADAMS mosque would also be hosting a Christian service. That is not going to happen but would be a real demonstration of interfaith cooperation.
Why is it that cooperation only goes one direction when it comes to Islam? Churches and synagogues are asked to host Muslim prayer services but the opposite never happens? Christian and Jewish leaders are also invited to attend Muslim services and conferences but when did a Muslim religious leader attend a Christian service? Rare for sure and never in a synagogue. The answer to why is found in the Quran and its primacy doctrine that requires Islam to always be in a dominate position over other religions.
The Christian leaders involved are doing so with only the greatest intensions reflecting the teaching of Jesus even if they are somewhat naïve. The Muslims leaders on the other hand are undoubtedly fully aware of how it will be received by their people and seen as a victory for Islam. *Top