Last Updated: Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:49 pm (KSA) 09:49 am (GMT)

Muslim and Jewish faiths merge in Washington

Muslim, Jews and Catholics coexist peacefully in Washington (Courtesy of Albuquerque Express)
Muslim, Jews and Catholics coexist peacefully in Washington (Courtesy of Albuquerque Express)

Muslims and Jews are merging in Washington, even praying at each other's institutions the deputy director of one of Washington's biggest Muslim communities told Al Arabiya on Monday.

Khaled Iqbal, deputy director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) said the society has been cooperating with synagogues for the last 12 years.

 Both the Muslim and Jewish communities have so many positive things to contribute, and learn from each other 
Imam Mohammed Magid

Every Friday, ADAMS holds Juma prayers at the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation (NVCH) synagogue but the cooperation does not end there.

Iqbal told Al Arabiya the institutions also work together to "hold inter-religious dialogues over 10 times a year."

Recently the society even brought a team of 30 rabbis form Europe to discuss "Mideast issues."

Iqbal insisted the conversation remained pleasant.

"We smiled. We even cracked jokes," he said.

ADAMS Imam Mohammed Magid and NVCH Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk told the Washington news website Albuquerque Express on Monday that they joined forces to "create a national movement of inter-religious understanding, dialogue, education and acceptance."

The institutions have become so comfortable with each other that Magid's followers now alternate between his mosque and the synagogue.

"Both the Muslim and Jewish communities have so many positive things to contribute, and learn from each other," the imam said.

Iqbal said the institutions also work together on events of common interest on a monthly basis.

Their most popular event, Feed the Hungry, sees Jews and Muslims working "side-by side" to feed the underprivileged of Washington.

All religions welcome

 Worship is worship. My house is your house, no matter what religion you are 
Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk

Iqbal added that religious groups in Washington are open to all other religions from "Hindus to Christians."

ADAMS even helped raise funds for the Pakistan Sangla churches bombed in November of 2005.

Nosanchuk emphasized this spirit of inclusion.

"Worship is worship. My house is your house, no matter what religion you are," he said.

"It is truly beyond our imagination how many people around the world have reached out to myself and the rabbi to say 'thank you' for showing us coexistence is possible," Magid added.

In December of 2005, Magid along with other prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to urge progress on the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations at the upcoming World Trade Organization meeting.

On its website, NVHC describes itself as "an egalitarian Reform synagogue that celebrates tradition while making Judaism relevant in today's busy Northern Virginia lives."

ADAMS is a nonprofit organization and one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States serving over 500 families.

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