(SAN ANTONIO, TX, 9/18/2013) - The San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SA), along with Muslin Children and Education Center (MCECC) and 21 other Christian and Muslim organizations, recently sponsored an evening of peace building among Christians and Muslims.
The first half of the program was held at the Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and was attended by 400 people from all different denominations of Christian and Muslim faiths.
The evening began with the film, “In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan,” which shares a little-known story of the Fifth Crusade in 1219. St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malek Al-Kamil engaged in dialogue which eventually led to peace. Their example is an invitation to join in respectful dialogues with people of different faiths and cultures. Muslim women of the Raindrop Women’s Association provided a delicious dinner of Turkish food.
The second half of the evening took place at the Muslim Children and Education Center where another 150 people joined for the discussion on the movie and to discuss the compassion taught by the Christianity and Islam respectively.
The evening brought together Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, other Christians, and Buddhists with Muslims of a variety of schools of thought.
The mosque is attended by Urdu, English, Arabic, Somali, Persian, Turkish and Punjabi, Pashto, and Sindhi speakers. The evening was part of the San Antonio peace CENTER Pilgrimage of Compassion. Susan Ives of their core team provided a handout of the Charter for Compassion for all and information where the text could be found in thirty languages.
Moderating the discussion, “Islam and Christianity are two of the great religions of the world,” said Sarwat Husain, President CAIR-SA, “This is the beginning of the much needed dialogue between our two communities.” “This has been long overdue in San Antonio,” she added.
The MCECC program started with a welcome note from Dr. Amir Ehsan, President of MCECC. Rev. Robert Woody of the Episcopal Church of Reconciliation shared ideas of compassion in Christianity, citing the gospel story of the Good Samaritan. Imam Azeem Uddin, speaking for the Muslim Children Education and Civic Center, reflected on a Hadith, a teaching of the Prophet Muhammed, (peace be upon him), “Do unto all as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves.” He emphasized that compassion is a main idea in the Quran. Dr. Scott Woodward, Assistant Dean at Oblate School of Theology, spoke of the Sultan and Francis respectfully listening to and learning from each other.
All were invited to join in interfaith dialogue with others while enjoying Pakistani and Middle Easter desserts and chai in the mosque pavilion, courtesy of CAIR-SA.
Free copies of Quran and other Islamic material were given out to the guests.
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.