“Like the KKK does not represent all Christians, ISIS does not represent Muslims,” Mubid Syed told the congregation of Central Christian Church.
Recently, members of Springfield’s Muslim community came together with one of the community’s Christian churches in a show of support, following the Easter Sunday terrorist violence in Sri Lanka that resulted in 250 deaths. Members of Springfield’s Masjid Al-Madina Mosque representing the Miami Valley Islamic Association came together to attend the Sunday morning service as a gesture of support and condemnation of the actions of the terrorists responsible.
We know the best response is to stand together and reject evil,” Syed continued. “It’s important to get to know one another. I pray our friendship with Central Christian will continue to grow.
What started as a bond forged during the filming of a CBS documentary on the religions in Springfield two years ago has developed into a supportive friendship between the two communities, as their attendance reaffirmed.
Senior pastor Carl Ruby said he was surprised and moved when the Muslim community came to attend the service. He titled the sermon, “Responding to a World of Violence,” where he emphasized the need to treat other religions with respect and commit to fairness and friendship.
“The more people see of our friendship, the better it is for Springfield,” said Ruby. “If we hear of stereotypes we want to correct them in the community.”
Ruby was originally inspired by the Springfield Muslim community when the same mosque began collecting money to support the Jewish community following the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings. They attended one of their services in support as well. Since then, a friendship grounded in mutual respect has blossomed.
“That inspired me,” Ruby said. “Our faiths are different, but the challenges are the same.”
Once the service ended, Christian attendees and the Muslim supporters greeted one another, shook hands and exchanged hugs before retiring to enjoy refreshments provided by Masjid Al-Madina. “We’re interested in forming these types of friendships, it’s important to us,” Central Christian member, Stephanie Ison, told Springfield News-Sun. “They’ve gone above and beyond today.”
The church and mosque plan to come together once again in the following weeks to create care packages for the Springfield Soup Kitchen.
This isn’t the first time that Christians and Muslims around the world have come together in solidarity and support following acts of terror. Immediately after the attacks in Christchurch, the Te Atatū Baptist Church in Auckland, New Zealand, announced on Facebook it was opening its doors to Muslims because mosques had been closed due to security measures.
At our services today we will offer prayers for those affected by the shootings in New Zealand and for Muslim communities. All are welcome to join us.
As always, St Dunstan’s Chapel is available for private prayer and reflection throughout the day. pic.twitter.com/8BvUGAjZ0r
— St Paul’s Cathedral (@StPaulsLondon) March 15, 2019
“Tonight we will open up The Meeting Place from 7 pm to 8 pm for prayer for Christchurch. Come and light a candle, say a silent prayer and stand with our fellow kiwis. All welcome,” the post said. “We especially invite the Muslim community whose mosques have been closed, to come and join us tonight.”
In addition, the UK’s national forum for Christian-Muslim dialogue, the Christian Muslim Forum, called on Christians to go to Friday prayers at their local mosques “to stand in solidarity.”
Our faiths are different, but the challenges are the same.
“The devastating attacks in Christchurch bring us together in grief and in our determination to fight hatred with friendship,” it announced on Twitter with the hashtag #WeStandTogether.
Through sharing prayer and sharing space, Muslims and Christians from churches and mosques around the world are fighting the evil that is threatening our human right to safely worship the religion of our choosing.
“…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31