INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Christian university students from around the Midwest spent Thursday at an Indianapolis mosque as part of an event dubbed “Meet a Muslim.” For many visitors, it was their first time being inside a mosque.
Bringing Muslims and Christians together may sound like a radical idea, but faith leaders said there are quite a few similarities in the two religions. And with Islam being one of the fastest growing religions in the United States, now is a great time to really get to know and love your neighbor.
The people packing Indy’s Masjid al Fajr isn’t the typical congregation.
“Just growing up, I never really thought to learn more about the religion, so this is a really unique opportunity, just knowing there are people that we can reach out to,” said Eastern Michigan University student Rebekah Arcila.
She’s one of the students visiting with Neighborly Faith, an organization that promotes friendship between Christians and Muslims.
“A lot of conservative Christian communities, there’s a lot of discussion about loving your neighbor as yourself and getting to know your community and love your city,” said co-director Kevin Singer. “A lot of times, unfortunately, that doesn’t always extend to people of other faiths.”
The group is in town for a Christian Conference, but reached out to mosque representatives hoping to get first-hand feedback on how the two faiths align.
“It’s very beautiful when the wisdom of the elderly and the energy of youth come together to make a positive impact. These are our future generation,” said Iman Ahmed Alamine.
Taking a break from his job as an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department chaplain, Alamine guided the group on areas where the two faiths meet, adding that regardless of faith, the commonality of compassion crosses religious lines.
“We’re seeing more and more just how much power there is in unity, so I do have a lot of faith in our generation to kind of bridge that gap,” said Arcila.
Although this is the first “Meet a Muslim” event, the Masjid al Fajr does a lot of interfaith work, and they hope this is the first of many.
The students also helped with volunteering by sorting through donated items for Afghans living at Camp Atterbury.