The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., an Episcopal church known for presidential funerals, describes itself as not just a place of worship, but “a national treasure” and “the spiritual home for the [American] nation.”
As “the spiritual home” for the American people, it is of no small import that the National Cathedral will host a Muslim prayer service for the first time today — all in the interest of promoting “religious freedom.”
The cathedral is partnering with ADAMS mosque in Sterling, Va. and other U.S. Muslim groups to, in the words of mosque spokesman Rizwan Jaka, show the world that “the Christian community is partnering with us and is supporting our religious freedom in the same way we are calling for religious freedom for all minorities in Muslim countries. Let this be a lesson to the world.”
The unusual partnership developed out of a relationship between the cathedral’s director of liturgy Rev. Gina Campbell, and the South African ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool, who is Muslim, when the two worked together on a memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
Rasool said in a prepared statement, ““This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations. This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.” Blah, blah, blah.
The cathedral’s significance is fully recognized by Gina Campbell. She said that while many other non-Muslim places of worship around the country host Muslim services, the cathedral is different because “This is the place where we bury our presidents, where we bury our national heroes. Deep relationships come out of prayer. Different connections come out of being in prayer — beyond the political or academic.”
The prayer service will begin around 12:20 pm today and is for invited guests only. About 100 people will be at the service, which will be spoken and chanted without music. Muslim leaders will bring prayer carpets. Rasool will deliver the khutbah or sermon at the service, which will be held in a part of the massive cathedral “with arches and limited iconography, almost mosque-like,” a statement from the cathedral said.
The event is being co-sponsored by the cathedral, Rasool and several Muslim religious and advocacy groups:
- ADAMS (All Dulles Area Muslim Society): three of ADAMS’s 22 weekly services are held at two synagogues and a church. ADAMS is hosting a fundraiser for Christian religious freedom in Pakistan, and it regularly hosts non-Muslim speakers.
- CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations)
- Islamic Society of North America
- Muslim Public Affairs Council
- Masjid Muhammad mosque in Northwest Washington
The service will be streamed live at the Cathedral’s Web site.
Source: The Washington Post
Below are choice commentaries by three Washington Post readers:
I wonder if the following will be recited,
لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهlā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muhammadun rasūlu-llāh “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God”. If so, I wonder if the Cathedral’s rector will be aware of its significance.
Well, perhaps CAIR will tell us when the Jewish Seder will be celebrated at a prominent mosque in the US, or its lobbying efforts to return Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia (Wisdom of God) to the Orthodox Church. The local threatened to riot during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit if he so much as pronounced a blessing.
Does this mean that there soon will be a church built in Mecca? That the slaughter of Christians in the Moslem world will come to an end? What is the quid pro quo here?
To the Washington Post – please list ANY mosque ANYWHERE in the world which will invite a priest, a rabbi, a pastor, a Buddhist monk or ANY other faith to hold services in its mosque. Tolerance is a one way street with these muslims. I am sick of these people and them forcing their culture and laws and ideology on the rest of us.
Contact info for Washington National Cathedral:
The Very Rev. Gary Hall
10th Dean of Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Telephone: (202) 537-6200
Fax: (202) 364-6600
E-mail: [email protected]
Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope
Vicar of the Cathedral
Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.