Friday, May 05, 2017


St. James Episcopal Church
Six meetings were held at St. James Episcopal Church in Columbus, from late February until last night, called Interfaith Meeting with Muslim Neighbors and St. James.

The goal was to build bridges, to get beyond the nosiy political rhetoric, to meet and know PEOPLE.
Speaking for myself, I learned a lot and indeed, met some wonderful people.
Contact info is included here. Go build a bridge.

Here are some of the people we met:

Last night MAY 4

MYProject USA runs a food pantry and thrift shop on Sullivant Ave. Zerqa spoke to us  of her concerns regarding Somali children being lost to gangs, on the dangers of addiction, human trafficking,  and the difficulties plaguing the poor and displaced.

Her immediate need is for $5,000.00 to expand a door way in her shelter building facilitating easier-and more-food delivery. Does anyone know a company that would do this work  gratis or at a reduced rate? $5,000.00 could feed and clothe a lot of people. I’ll be looking around. Maybe you will , too?

One of our members from St. James asked if all of our speakers “asked for something”. They did not. He then said, “Well, it makes it easier to know who to help!”
Zerqa and her programs need our help.

  Jeri converted to Islam. She offered a very personal view of a Christian’s women’s conversion.

Nabeel Alauddin was my first meeting when I began setting up these talks. He came to our first session and recited to us from the Qur’an. He also gave a wonderful presentation on the Qur’an , particularly enlightening for those of us with no knowledge at all.
Note that the Muslim Student’s Association at OSU provide bag lunches for the homeless being served In the Garden at Trinity Church in downtown Columbus. Zerqa last night also spoke to us of the MSA’s help on Sullivant avenue.


Nahla is a college professor and sociologist. Her research covers the role of Muslim women now living in this country. She spoke to us of the cultural challenges these women encounter. The point was made that Islam insists on the dignity of women. The Qur’an does not prohibit women working outside the home and does not mandate the veil. The latter remains a personal choice. The point was made that Muslim men, now living in this country can admit to needing help supporting the family. Thus, women leave the home and go to work. A step for them toward equality.
Members of the Muslim Student’s Association returned for this meeting. It was great having them! The talk covered  relationships and we learned about one of several APPS that facilitate Muslim dating!


Professor Payind is Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Center at OSU. For many of us, Shar’ia law mans the horrors we see on CNN. Professor Payind gave us context.

Director · Columbus, Ohio

Horsed Noah brought some young  people with him. He shared with us his own journey in coming to this country with his family.  He directs an Islamic Center on the West Side and my impression is that he is a very gifted mentor/father figure. His perspective for us was one of teacher and leader.

AAIC is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-lingual, non-sectarian, diverse, and open community committed to full and equal participation and involvement



Nicol Ghazi from the Noor Islamic Ctr sent us two of their board members, Faouki Majeed and Noorgul Dada. People had asked to learn more about the depiction of Jesus and Mary in the Qu'ran.
Noorgul recited from the Qur’an. More than one person told me later they could have listened to him all night. Me too. In the Qur’an Jesus is named Isa and Mary is Maryam.

From Wikipedia:

Mary (Arabic: مريم‎, translit. Maryam‎), the mother of Jesus (Isa), holds a singularly exalted place in Islam as the only woman named in the Qur’an, which refers to her seventy times and explicitly identifies her as the greatest of all women,[2][3][4] stating, with reference to the angelic saluation during the annunciation, "O Mary, God has chosen you, and purified you; He has chosen you above all the women of creation."[5] In the Quran, her story is related in three Meccan chapters (19, 21, 23) and four Medinan chapters (3, 4, 5, 66), and the nineteenth chapter of the scripture, the Chapter of Mary (Surat Maryam), is named after her. The Quran refers to Mary more than the entire New Testament.[6]

According to the Qur’an, divine grace surrounded Mary from birth,[7] and, as a young woman, she received a message from God through the archangel Gabriel that God had chosen her, purified her, and had preferred her above all "the women of the worlds."[7] This event, according to the same narrative, was followed by the annunciation of a child who was to be miraculously conceived by her through the intervention of the divine spirit while she was still virgin, whose name would be Jesus and who would be the "anointed one," the Promised Messiah.[7] As such, orthodox Islamic belief "has upheld the tenet of the virgin birth of Jesus,"[7] and although the classical Islamic thinkers never dwelt on the question of the perpetual virginity of Mary at any great length,[7] it was generally agreed in traditional Islam that Mary remained virgin through the entirety of her life, with the Qur’an's mention of Mary's purification “from the touch of men” implying perpetual virginity in the minds of many of the most prominent Islamic fathers.[8]

The Quran refers to Mary more than the entire New Testament. According to the Qur'an, divine grace surrounded Mary from birth, and, as a young woman, she received a message from God through the archangel Gabriel that God had chosen her, purified her, and had preferred her above all "the women of the worlds."

Thanks to NICOL HAZI Outreach director at Noor Islamic Ctr.,  nicol ghazi  She is a great resource for anyone wanting to know more.

That’s it. For now. Let’s build bridges and keep the dialogue going. Again, thank you.

And thank you particularly to our Muslim speakers and guests.

Thank you Emily Wendel for the refreshments.

Thank you St. James Episcopal Church for the use of the hall!

Christopher Purdy