DEARBORN -- Booming organ music filled downtown Detroit's Fort Street
Presbyterian Church on Friday night as worshippers packed pews to celebrate
one of the holiest of Christian holidays.
Among them was Eide Alawan of Dearborn, a Muslim, who since the September
11 attacks has worked to strengthen relationships among faiths, making it a
point each Christmas to reach out to Christians.
"Where else but in America?" asked Alawan as he listened to the church's
Christmas Eve organ concert, featuring songs like "Ava Maria." "I don't
think it would happen anywhere else.
"I want to feel the spirituality of someone else's faith."
For a week, he had been sending e-mails to fellow Muslims, inviting them to
attend the services with him. He has noticed more Christians and Jews
visiting mosques to learn more about Islam, but hasn't seen as much
interest the other way around. Last year about six Muslims came with him to
He was disappointed to see that none came this year: "I just continue to
work on it."
"Right after September 11, I felt that I had to engage within the
interfaith community and better understand it," said Alawan, who works with
the Islamic Center of America. "It's an opportunity not only to learn about
faith traditions, but an opportunity to have spiritual understanding..."