CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With a hot meal and a solemn prayer, Muslims in Charlotte hoped to contrast their peaceful demeanor with violence exploding in the Middle East.
“We're denouncing extremist acts by people claiming to be Muslim,” said Jibril Hough of the Islamic Center of Charlotte. “We're saying you’re not doing this in our name.”
The interfaith dinner at the Muslim American Society on Shamrock Road brought together people of different faiths to share a meal, and respectful conversations about religion.
At one table, a Buddhist woman, a Muslim woman, and a woman who practices the Bahai faith all discussed their similar views of Jesus Christ – agreeing he is “the anointed one,” similar to the Christian view.
At another table, Dave Molinaro reflected on the many religions worldwide.
“The differences between us are so small and so insignificant, and yet what brings us together is so large,” he said.
Hough and Imam John Ederer of the Muslim American Society said they brought the groups together on short notice to prove that people of different faiths can act respectfully. They also wanted to denounce the violence overseas -- and the film that set it off.
“We're denouncing both forms of extremism,” said Hough. “Whether it’s making a film or killing innocent people in reaction to the film, we're denouncing both.”
“To me in our faith, human life is more valuable than somebody's attack verbally on religion,” added Ederer.
Ederer said extremes do not define a country, or a faith.
“It’s a very small group percentage wise of Muslims that are doing that in the Middle East,” said Ederer, “and it’s a very small group of Americans that support this film that was made.”
And they hope breaking bread together will open up dialogue for the vast majority in between.
“I think we need to do it more often,” Molinaro agreed.