Iman W.D. Mohammed, a leader in the African-American Muslim community, offered a message of unity among Christians, Jews and Muslims at the 47th annual Emancipation Proclamation Program of Freedom on Tuesday at Western Christian Community Church.
The Interfaith Clergy Council of Gary and Vicinity's program was held to mark the 145th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Before Mohammed's presentation, speakers spoke about Frederick Douglass and read from the proclamation.
Mohammed is the son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and took over as its leader in 1975. He is responsible for bringing the Nation of Islam more in line with mainstream Sunni Muslim beliefs and opening up membership to nonblack Muslims, which led to a long period of acrimony between him and Louis Farrakhan.
He has spoken before presidents, popes, the Dalai Lama and other world leaders on issues of faith. On Tuesday, he spoke to an audience of Gary church leaders and representatives of the city's Islamic and Jewish communities.
"The first freedom of the United States is freedom of religion. ... Religion is what binds us together. Faith in one God. We all believe in a god and don't believe that this world is without a designer who designed it," Mohammed said.
Mohammed continued to point out connections that the faiths have with each other, including common origins and prophets.
"We have the same prophets. We have the same God and we believe God made all of this world for human beings. Isn't that wonderful," Mohammed said.