CAIR-Chicago joined leaders of Chicago’s Muslim community recently in a meeting with the Archdiocese of Chicago and its archbishop, Francis Cardinal George.
The event, “Muslim and Catholic Evening of Conversation”, marked a new chapter of interfaith dialogue and engagement between the two faith communities.
Attendees included CAIR-Chicago’s Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, and Gerald Hankerson, Outreach Coordinator; representatives from member organizations of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC); and other key figures of the local Muslim community.
Guests were welcomed and given a tour of the Quigley Center, a former high school seminary erected in 1917, now the new headquarters for the Archdiocese. They were personally greeted by Cardinal George and archdiocese leaders in his office chambers. Both communities observed each other’s prayer sessions, while Cardinal George and Dr. Zaher Sahloul, CIOGC President, addressed the attendees.
A buffet dinner was served, featuring South Asian fare from a popular restaurant in the Devon Avenue district, Usmania, and refreshments from Argo Tea Café.
The evening highlighted the long relationship between Catholics and Muslims and the similarities in their devotion to living their faith. Attendees committed to taking greater strides to work together on important issues of social justice and equity, such as protecting the sanctity of life and ensuring immigrant rights.
Dr. Zaher noted that the Muslim-Catholic interfaith dinners should be named “Mawada gatherings.” Mawada is an Arabic word that translates to “affection.” Sahloul explained that the word comes from the same root as “Maeda” which means table, emphasizing the role of getting together around a table of good food and friendly conversation in building trust and affection between former strangers.
Copyright © 2009, cairchicago.org