Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation

In June, a group of sisters in Belmont, California under the facilitation of Sister Nancy O’Shea, SNDdeN started studying a book on the teachings of Islam entitled The Fragrance of Faith by Jamal Rahman. Rahman’s book reflects on the deep teachings of Islam as taught to him by his grandfather.

The book wasn’t easy to read, but we were frequently rewarded by the many beautiful insights expressed, and pleasantly surprised by the many similarities with writings of Christian theologians and mystics. Yet many questions of a more practical nature remained.

Through Sister Annette Burkart, SNDdeN we met Moina, a lovely Muslim woman. Originally from Pakistan, she and her husband have raised their family of four children in California. Annette and Moina have been working together for about eight years in the Tri-City Interfaith Council and the Interfaith Women of Peace.

Recently, Moina has initiated an invitation to dialogue entitled “Meet a Muslim” to create a safe place where people can ask whatever they wish about Islam without judgment or intimidation. She believes face-to–face meetings make good neighbors and friends. So far Moina has hosted over 40 such meetings in local coffee shops, churches and schools.

Moina helped us take a big step forward in understanding Muslims of today. She showed us the core practice of prayer five times a day, together with care for others and helped us to learn much more. No question was too personal. She wanted to be transparent in answering our questions to break down any prejudice or fear that comes from not knowing. Moina’s visit was the “icing on the cake” which enhanced our book study in so many ways.

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