Hundreds of Jewish and Arab-Americans exploded in protest near the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Friday, while other dozens of Jews and crowds of Muslims met in the Detroit Muslim Center forging friendships.
Today and Friday both faith traditions are visiting the Isaac Agree Synagogue in downtown Detroit, and the block-long mosque on West Davison at the John Lodge Expressway.
Missiles were fired Friday at Jerusalem, an urban city that is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, while, at least three targetted Tel Aviv, media waves beamed in color on TV with the loud thuderous sounds of scary bombs in the background. Hundreds of wounded, including women and children were among the victims with casualties mounting today as 30,000 Israeli troops prepared for ground theatre in Gaza and the West Bank.
Rabbi Dorit Edut, a reformed Jew of Huntington Woods, MI., reported to me that Jews and Muslims are generally cordial with each other, while she defended Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas.
Dubbed as "twinning," the two Abrahamic traditions of faith and culture reached out to one another by participating in each other's worship on the day of each one's respective weekly holy sabbath. Each joined regular weekly worshippers, perhaps for the first time ever. Women with head scarfs met in a separate section in the back of the Muslim Center, while a larger group of men were in front of them, including prayer leader Imam Abdullah El-Amin who has headed the urban mosque for decades while engaging in inter-faith efforts for as long a time. El-Amin gets things done and moves the faithful forward forging friendships by relishing and nourishing relationships.
The tall and distinguished leader is administrator of the Rahman Funeral Home on Joseph Campau in
Hamtramck, MI., on days he's not occupied with the center.
El-Amin warmly welcomed Al Bileti of Fraser, MI., and me, representing the All Faiths Festival, a collection of clergy and other faithful who aim to recognize all religions, foster dialog, and build bridges.
"You can't build a bridge by yourself," El-Amin said.
And, that's just what he intended to forge Friday shaking hands, widely smiling at guests, and answering questions about Islam.
"We took a step toward each other," said Bileti on the way home. "Now, it's their turn," he added, as he lookied at me with satisfaction, and, quickly asked when the next AFF meeting holds court.
W.I.S.D.O.M. women I met were most delightful and direct about current and future inter and intra-faith relations especially related to the ordination of women, and a polorized and divided U.S. Catholic Church. I'm gathering that a "cold war" permeates rapport with Muslims as Christians are slaughtered in the Arabic world, and, elsewhere. Not good not to talk!
Bileti, a Catholic, and decade-long inter-faith worker, is formerly a chairman of the AFF with Mohamad Abbass of the American-Islamic Community Center in Madison Heights, MI.
While war was raging thousands of miles away in the middle east, Arab-Americans and Jews, among others met in a Muslim center and synagogue this weekend.
"Comphrehension" is the word Trappist monk Thomas Merton -- who aimed to bridge the East and West -- used to summarize inter-faith work with Muslims in his diary in 1962 when he was consulted at the historic ecumenical Vatican II Council that concluded in 1965 after a three-year renewal of the Catholic Church convened by the Turkish legate, Pope John XXII.
That same Council revoked declarations blaming the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus after centuries of strife.
Faiths forging forward forgiving, mending and morphing for the common global good.