By Phil Anderson, The Topeka-Capital Journal
A few months ago, members of six United Methodist churches in central Kansas decided it was time to learn more about the Islamic faith.
The challenge: How to go about the task?
Sure, there were books, films and Internet sites geared to introducing people to Islam.
But that lacked a personal connection, and didn't allow Methodists the chance to meet Muslims on an individual basis.
The Rev. Sandra Moore, pastor of Simpson United Methodist Church in Alta Vista and a leader in the group, got busy on the Internet, looking for someone who would be willing to make a presentation about Islam for her group.
Moore soon came across the Islamic Center of Topeka and Imam Omar Hazim on the Internet. She sent an email to Hazim, asking if he could visit the United Methodist group at a central Kansas location.
Hazim countered with an offer: Why not have the United Methodist group visit the Islamic Center of Topeka, where they could see a mosque, hear a presentation on the religion and have lunch with local Muslims?
Moore jumped at the opportunity, and this past Saturday, about 15 United Methodists from the six congregations made the trip to Topeka, where they visited the Islamic Center, 1115 S.E. 27th.
"We are extremely honored and happy that they're here as our guests," Hazim said. ...
Hazim said the Islamic faith places a "high value on getting to know your neighbor," and said members of the Topeka mosque wanted to make their guests feel welcome.
In addition to allowing the United Methodist guests the opportunity to learn more about Islam, Hazim said, the event also allowed local Muslims to learn more about the Christian faith.
"When we get to know each other," Hazim said, "we have more sensitivity and tolerance for each other." (Read the full article)