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Imam Elturk Speaks At An Interfaith Open House In Ann Arbor

Imam Elturk Speaks at an Interfaith Open House in Ann Arbor

On Sunday December 20, the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor hosted an open house interfaith gathering with many neighbors and residents from the area attending. In front of a packed prayer hall with hundreds of guests, three interfaith leaders and the mayor of Ann Arbor spoke. Rabbi Robert Dobrusin of Beth Israel Congregation began the program opening with words of support. Referencing the past persecution of minorities like the Jewish community, he pledged the support of his congregation to stand with the Muslim community not just in Ann Arbor but across the country. “We must stand together for peace. We know the pain of being looked at as the other.” Words of hatred, suspicion and exclusion are painful for everyone he said. His community rejects words of bigotry and division.

Reverend George Lambrides, the executive director of the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County, spoke after Rabbi Dobrusin. He shared what he termed the sacred interfaith principles. “Respect for and understanding other communities is crucial. Diversity has always been a bedrock principle of our country. Hospitality must overcome hostility.” He ended with the advice to reach out and be proactive, be in ourselves what we want to see in others.
Ameer Mustapha Elturk followed the Reverend. He began by talking about unity and referencing the Holy Qur’an 49:13. He commented, “One thing that makes America great is that all of its people with the exception of the Native Americans are or have come from different places from around the world. The experience of the United States of America is very unique in the world because it contains almost literally everybody from the entire world and they’ve all come here in this great land, and if they share anything it is that we are all Americans! We all belong to this country. We must defend the inherent worth, honor and dignity of every person regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, or religion. We come together as a community to demonstrate how united we are.” The Ameer ended his talk by reading messages of support from religious heads of other church and faith organizations and denominations.

Ann Arbor mayor Chris Taylor gave the last talk of the afternoon. He had a great message of support. He said, “The gathering that we have here today is a real testament to what we stand for as a community. It’s a testament to our fundamental devotion to pluralism. It is my hope

and expectation that we here in Ann Arbor will continue to choose success over failure, that we will continue to choose strength over fear and that we will continue to choose unity over division.” Great words to end with. The communities continued the afternoon with food and socializing at the masjid.
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IONA’s mission is to transform its members and help transform the surrounding communities to righteous, God-fearing people, who collectively strive for the highest moral standard and constantly seek forgiveness from our Creator to earn His pleasure. We seek His compassion and mercy in this life and in the hereafter. We rejuvenate our soul through internal struggle and spiritual exercise in worship of our creator God. The strength of our belief in God gives us the courage to establish good and forbid evil, thus promoting a system of justice for all mankind.