Half a world away from the quiet elegance of Burton Manor, where hundreds of people gathered for the 30th annual Livonia Community Prayer Breakfast last Thursday, three Americans and eight Iraqis had been killed in the latest attack in Iraq.

But one of the issues that prompted that war in former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s backyard was the topic of the morning’s presentation – the relationship among the three faiths that descend from the patriarch Abraham– Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Over the quiet cacophony of silverware scooping up Lyonnaise potatoes, bacon and quiche, Bruce Feiler, an NPR commentator and the author of “Abraham” and “Walking the Bible,” highlighted the importance of interfaith dialogue and reminded all those in the cavernous room — from white-haired volunteers to beefy firefighters, city officials to grade-schoolers — that we are all brothers, the descendants of the same biblical protagonist…

He pointed to the well-known story of Abraham about to slay his son, as God commanded him. All three faiths, Feiler said, retell that tale during their respective holy weeks — and all three have claimed Abraham as their own.

But the Bible itself, he pointed out, relates that Isaac and Ishmael would oppose each other, yet the man who begat the Jews and the Christians and the man from whom all Muslims would descend stood side by side peacefully at their father’s deathbed…


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