On Tuesday September 22, Outreach Coordinator Gerald Hankerson joined Radio Islam with hosts Alma Campos and Tahera Shireen Rahman, for a conversation about the relationship between the Hajj pilgrimage and the prophet Abraham. At the root of their discussion were overlapping beliefs and experiences between Muslims as well as other major faith groups.
Campos began the conversation by sharing her knowledge that the traditions and rituals practiced during Hajj season relate less to the significance of the prophet Mohammad as they do to the honor of the prophet Abraham. In response, Hankerson said that being able to talk about that fact is “revealing, because there are some misconceptions that Muslims worship or praise Mohammad, and a lot of the things that we revere in Islam surround him, whereas actually there is so much surrounding the other prophets, and in particular, as you point out with Prophet Abraham. So it’s very reassuring, I think, in some ways for people of different faiths.” Regarding this point, Campos asked if Hankerson and Rahman engaged in interfaith conversations with their non-Muslim friends and whether or not those conversations include commonalities among faiths. Hankerson then shared, “It’s more so contrasts that people are more quickly to break up, but because of that, I’m able to break up the commonalities – able to flip it so it could be a bit more of a positive steering.” Hankerson implied that talking about interfaith differences can be a beneficial cause to realizing similarities as we. He also stated that different perspectives regarding anything such as similar concepts of Allah for Muslims and Christian Arabs to God for other Christian cultures or more personal topics can come up in conversations between himself and his family members, typically around holiday seasons, or even with fellow Muslims. He explained that, with loved ones, “there’s a much greater threshold to be a bit more sensitive – more open to listening” and with others “you have to be sure you’re not stepping on someone’s toes and not disrespecting, things of that sort, but you need to make an appeal to at least consider”, referring to different viewpoints that may arise. Ultimately in this conversation about faith conversations, Hankerson both learned from and informed others that different information and perspectives can exist both within and beyond one’s faith, and nonetheless, differences of any kind can be overcome.
The interview begins at 28:30.