By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The American Muslim Voice Sacramento Chapter co-sponsored an interfaith dinner with the Lutheran Church in El Dorado Hills on January 19, 2014. The dinner was attended by about 80 people.
The AMV initiated the dinner in the spirit of building bridges with other faiths. The initiative came about three weeks after a similar interfaith drive when the AMV Sacramento chapter donated 650 dinners to the Loves and Fishes homeless shelter. The AMV volunteers helped in preparing and serving the Christmas Eve dinner. The AMV also donated toys to the Shrines Hospitals for Children in Sacramento for Christmas.
Samina Sundas and Khalid Saeed spoke eloquently on questions of common interest about Islam and Muslims.
AMV Founding Executive Director, Samina Sundas travelled from Palo Alto to attend the interfaith dinner. She talked about to reasons of starting American Muslim voice and the importance of the work by all Muslim community regarding building bridges with the other communities.
Speaking on the occasion, the AMV President Khalid Saeed emphasized that "we ALL are part of the human family we are all children of one parent --- Adam & Eve." He was referring to Surah al-Hujurat Verse 13:
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).
He said the objective of this event was to create understanding about Muslims and Islam at the grassroots level. "We the Muslims have same hopes, dreams and desires to live in peace, raise a good family with good education and be the positive contributing member of the society where ever we live in this great country."
Our purpose is only to eliminate the biggest fear of them all form hearts and mind, he adding: "The fear of unknown – and move from fear to friendship with the Muslim Community. There is fear being created about Islam and Muslims, specially linked with the acts of terrorism and that Islam is not a peaceful religion."
Khalid Saeed pointed out that certain verses from the Holy Quran are quoted out of context to create negative image of Islam. In this respect he referred to verse 191 of Al Baqra which is often partially quoted: "And slay them wherever ye catch them." He said that the complete verse is: "And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith."
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