SWO Articles and Documents
Sharing Islam with Others
PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA -- On April 25th, 2001, a community group of Petaluma, California, put on its 37th annual interfaith luncheon. Although interfaith activities seem to be a new thing, this community has been celebrating different faiths since 1963. However, at this year's gathering it was the first time anyone from the Islamic community had been invited The Sufi Women Organization, Prison Project Coordinator, Zaheda Baruti, was invited and served as the main speaker for the event and presented an introductory talk on Islam.
The luncheon, held at a Veteran's Memorial Hall, was very well attended and consisted of many old timers and community natives. All the people who attended seemed to share this dedication to welcoming and honoring our differences. People were very friendly and talkative. Zaheda Baruti sat at the head table with a Reverend, a Pastor, a Rabbi and a Chaplin from a local Hospice program. She presented basic aspects of Islam, with the goal of eradicating misconceptions. The meaning of Islam, a religion of peace not warfare and bombs was conveyed. A brief history of the miraculous Quran and its authenticity and benefits for all humanity was given. Zaheda also made clear the way Muslims see God, the Prophets of God, especially Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the five pillars of Islam. The main message conveyed was that Islam is not a new religion but the same message, which God revealed to previous prophets and that Prophet Mohammad's revelation was sent to complete the religion for all humanity.
The presentation was very well received, and a very productive question and answer period followed. According to a recent study on American Congregations by Hartford (Connecticut) Seminary, Muslims all over the US are reaching out to others through interfaith dialogues, presentations at churches and addressing political leaders. The process of sharing information on our different faiths is a necessary and worthy endeavor, especially if we are ever to know each other and learn to live in peace, the true meaning of Islam.
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