IHW Occasions

11/9/2012: Interfaith Unity Dinner Highlights!

Islamic House of Wisdom 

Interfaith Unity Dinner Highlights! 

Nov. 9, 2012-  Muslim community members in addition to members of the Christian and Jewish communities gathered at the Islamic House of Wisdom for an evening of interfaith interaction.

The evening began with dinner where more than three hundred guests had an opportunity to socialize with one another to meet and greet. Imam Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom and Rev. Bill Gepford of Littlefield Presbyterian Church began the dinner with an opening prayers. 

Following dinner, the program moved into the auditorium for a special Interfaith Service that featured encouraging words of unity from Interfaith Clergy Leaders and participants.

Hajj Khalil Hachem gave welcoming words on behalf of the Islamic House of Wisdom and invited to the podium the MC of the evening, Dr. Robert Bruttell, Chair of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit to MC the event. Following a brief overview of the evening, MC Robert Bruttell invited Imam Elahi to the podium.

Imam Elahi welcomed the clergy and officials including the mayor of Dearborn and the police chief Haddad and thanked the interfaith partners for  taking time to attend the friendly and faithful gathering.

Mentioning the end of the elections in the US, the Imam hoped that the president's slogan of change starts from within the minds and hearts of all people. Replacing selfishness with sacrifice, greed with giving and the culture of "Me" with the culture of "We"!

Imam Elahi spoke about some tragic times in the history of the Abrahamic traditions and highlighted ignorance and ego of the main causes of chaos in the world. He said the disease of Islamophobia in the west and Shiaphobia in the Middle East are products of politics on one side and ignorance on the other side!

Reflecting on some side effects of ignorance, Imam spoke about generalization, exaggeration, extremism and superstition while emphasizing on dialogue and education as the best medicine for those social diseases.

Pointing to the verses about Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mary in the Quran, the Imam called the Quran an interfaith book that invites all the people of faith to communicate with respect, responsibility, patience and humility.

The imam concluded that the best way of dialogue is to start with what we all agree like the concept of God, creation of Adam and Eve, angels, revelation, reward and punishment, and also the concept of justice, peace and human dignity.

Imam Elahi asked other mosques and churches to continue with this type of interfaith dialogue in setting a good example for those in the Middle East who are choosing the direction of death and destruction in the name of God and religion.

Fr. Jeffrey Day of St. Fabian Parish in Farmington Hills who is also the Interfaith Advisor to the Roman Catholic Church Archdiocese spoke on some of the interfaith initiatives of the catholic church mentioning the recent visit in Lebanon by Pope Benedict XVI. Rev. Amy Kienzl, the Pastor at Christus Victor Lutheran Church of Dearborn Heights reflected of the some stories from the Bible noting to "Love your neighbors" and asked for the continuity of this outreach.

Following the main speakers of the evening, clergy and interfaith community leaders were called to the front of the stage where they were asked to speak briefly on the subjects of unity, hope, healing and interfaith. Participants in the crowd were energized giving each a round of applause for their words.

The floor was opened to participants who appreciated this great initiative and encouraged one another to do more. Hajjah Rima Turfeh reiterated the importance that all religious leaders should take the messages of this event to their congregations and for them to put the hope of unity into practice. Imam Mustafa El-Turk of I.O.N.A. concluded the program with a closing prayer highlighting justice and peace for the people of our world.

At the conclusion of the program in the auditorium, interfaith partners moved to the Mahdi hall and enjoyed casual engagement, conversation, questions and answers in addition to tea and sweets untill 11pm!

This was one of the most successful interfaith gatherings of this kind in this area of recent years.