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Scott’s Column: American Muslim Institute Visit

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
February 19 2020

Sunday, before our Confirmation class visited the American Muslim Institute, we were eating lunch and discussing why our confirmation class visits other faith communities.

One of the youth guessed, “So we can learn what we have in common?”  I affirmed that.

Another said, “And maybe what is different?”  I affirmed that as well.

I told them there were two other reasons I could think of.  One is that our Christian community, unlike some, also believes that we can learn things from other faith traditions that we then incorporate into our own faith and spirituality.

And the final reason was that our understanding of confirmation is that they get to make a choice whether or not to join our church as part of their faith journey.  In order for that to be an informed choice, they need to have some experience of alternatives that they might also want to consider.

We arrived plenty early for our scheduled visit at the new mosque on the Tri-Faith Campus, so we spent some time first walking the new circular path and bridges that connect the American Muslim Institute with Temple Israel and Countryside Community Church.  Walking Abraham’s Bridge over the hilariously named “Hell Creek” I repeated Rev. Eric Elnes’s line, “We literally bridged hell to bring the faith traditions together.”

Imam Jamal Daoudi gave our group a wonderful tour of their gorgeous building while also giving an introduction to the Muslim faith.  He emphasized aspects of belief and spiritual practice that Islam shares with Christianity.  His humor and generosity got our sometimes quiet group to ask questions.

I like the vision of the American Muslim Institute, “Grounded in faith and beliefs of Islamic traditions, we will create an institution which will affirm the core values of Islam which are: Acceptance, Compassion, Equality, Justice and Peace.”

At the close of our visit he completed the hospitality by giving us all some candy.

We told him that a number of adults wanted to join us on our tour, and he welcomed any group from the church that wants to organize a visit.

My spirituality has long been enriched by interfaith relationships and the sharing of hospitality with one another.  I think our confirmands went away enriched as well.