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Until Memphis Islamic Center is complete, members pray at nearby Heartsong Church in Cordova. Members of the center's board say participation in a local mosque helps young members avoid extremism and strengthens their American identity.
When pastor Steve Stone initially heard of the mosque and Islamic center being erected on the sprawling land adjacent his church, his stomach tightened.
Then he raised a 6-foot sign reading, "Welcome to the Neighborhood."
The issue for Stone and the 550-person Heartsong Church in Cordova, came down to one question:
"What would Jesus do if He were us? He would welcome the neighbor," Stone said.
While the 4,000-square-foot worship hall is being completed, Heartsong has opened its doors to its neighbors throughout the monthlong observance of Ramadan.
Originally posted by intrepid
Excellent article. This is what Christianity and Islam is supposed to be about.
Originally posted by Ashes of the wake
its nice to see some tolerance.
Originally posted by jheated5
It's not like this should be breaking news or any kind of news...
Originally posted by nunya13
reply to post by rogerstigers
You're right. This shows how easily we can be swayed by such hate and negativity even if it goes against our own values and beliefs. I have had times where someone "different" walked in the door and a very fleeting and embarrassing thought would cross my mind only for me to be disgusted at myself for allowing it. Then I have to recognize that it's just the influence of those around me that caused this initial reaction, not my own beliefs.
(that was a very hard thing for me to admit, btw)
But as members of the Christian congregation take the opportunity to sit in on Ramadan prayers and meet people at the nightly gatherings, much of that mystery and fear has dissipated.
Islamic community centers help form solid Muslim-American identities and keep young kids and adults from feeling marginalized, they said. Without a place to call home, young Muslims are more likely to seek more radical interpretation of the Quran online, says Arsalan Shirwany, a board member and father of three.
When it is finished, the new facility will be a center for the whole community, and a place for interfaith cooperation, Shirwany said.
"This is what we need to fight extremism," he said.