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Keller church’s event draws 1,500 Muslims, 1,000 Christians

26 September 2011 General 13 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

KELLER — A neighbor can be a Muslim “and still be my friend,” said Pastor Bob Roberts Jr. of NorthWood Church.

Roberts was surprised by the number of friends who showed up Sunday for the church’s Building Bridges with Fellow Texans event.

“We had a goal of 1,000 Christians and 1,000 Muslims,” he said. “We ended up with 1,500 Muslims and 1,000 Christians.”

Folks were standing against the walls of the 2,000-seat sanctuary, and monitors were set up in the foyer, where at least 400 others stood, said Paul Schneider, a NorthWood spokesman.

Roberts said NorthWood had considered having the event on the previous Sunday, Sept. 11, but the Muslims helping organize the gathering asked to put it off for a week.

“The more we thought about it the more sense it made,” Roberts said.

The 10th anniversary of 9-11 inspired NorthWood members to invite Muslims — and Christians from other churches — to their sanctuary. But making the Muslims feel uncomfortable would have defeated the purpose, Roberts said.

While 9-11 was mentioned during Sunday’s gathering, it was certainly not the focus. Pastors and imams talked more about what Muslims and Christians have in common than their differences. Jokes were told — one imam commented that the Dallas Cowboys needed divine intervention — and congregants stood in unison to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge of Allegiance.

“A young lady in a hijab sang the Star-Spangled Banner,” Roberts said. “A combined choir of Muslim and Christian kids sang You Are my Sunshine.”

Breaking down barriers

Building Bridges created a favorable environment for interaction between members of the faiths, Roberts said.

“We didn’t just sit around and preach sermons,” he said. “We talked together, laughed together, ate together and built relationships.”

Such events are important “to break down the barriers between our faiths,” said Imam Zia ul Haque of the Islamic Center of Irving. “It’s important to teach people what we believe in and how we see ourselves.”

Muslims see themselves as contributing citizens of this country, ul Haque said. Several Muslims proved that as they were leaving the building after the event ended.

NorthWood members at a table near one door were signing up volunteers for Building Community, a service project in early October where 1,500 to 2,000 people are needed for major renovations at houses, schools, a park and a clinic in Haltom City and Keller.

Roberts said church leaders were surprised when Muslims wanted to sign up, and the project leaders asked him what to do.

“I said, ‘Sign them up,’” he said.

NorthWood members signed cards to declare what activities they intend to take part in with Muslims, whether hosting multifaith dinners or volunteering for service projects, Schneider said.

Ul Haque said many good relationships began Sunday despite “friction” he heard about in connection with the event. He referred to aspersions cast against the meeting by the leader of a local ACT! for America chapter.

Dorrie O’Brien of Grand Prairie, a Tarrant County Republican Party precinct chairwoman, said the idea of Christians and Muslims making friends or having fun together is “repulsive and impossible.”

O’Brien doubted that 1,000 Muslims would show up at the Keller church, because they’ve been told not to mix with Christians or Jews.

Obviously, she was wrong.

“I think there will be challenges whenever you try to build relationships,” ul Haque said. “But we shouldn’t be dissuaded just because of friction.”

Roberts agreed.

“What concerns me right now is that most Muslims have a view that evangelical Christianity doesn’t respect them or value them,” he said.

‘Love all people’

Ul Haque hopes Christians will help Muslims adjust to American society and be tolerant meanwhile.

“We don’t have to agree about our beliefs,” he said. “There are differences in our understanding about God. We can agree to disagree and respect each other despite our differences.”

Roberts said that it’s important for society to accept religious freedom and that he has a problem with people who can’t tolerate those differences.

“It used to be that faith was tribal and geographical,” he said. “Now all religions are all places like never before, and they continue to multiply in nontraditional places. In America we have the chance to build a new model for what it looks like for people of faith to get along.”

Roberts reminded Christians what the Bible says about loving your neighbor as yourself.

“I think to follow Jesus is to love all people,” he said. “To isolate a people, reject them or denigrate them, there’s nowhere in the scripture where Jesus approved of that or practiced it. If anything he pushed back really hard.”

The popularity of the Gospel grew worldwide because “it’s an inclusive message for the world and was meant to be shared with every person,” Roberts said. “I wonder sometimes what book people are reading who call themselves Christians and yet demonize other people.”

One of the most moving moments of the event was toward the end, when Roberts, speaking for Christians at NorthWood and other churches from Dallas and Saginaw, told the Muslims, “We love you.”

After a standing ovation, a Muslim in the audience, Reyad Ghosheh of Allen, stood and replied to Roberts, “We love you too.”

Online: Video of the event, www.northwoodchurch.org

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620

Original post: Keller church’s event draws 1,500 Muslims, 1,000 Christians

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13 Comments »

  1. Aww. I know an awesome Muslim girl who can sing the national anthem, and her voice is like, aretha franklin mixed with Angels singing.

  2. One thing we infidels seem to blessed with is an abundance of naive useful idiots.

  3. Blessing on you all!!! This is what it takes! Thank you!

  4. Anonymous

    I have never heard hte terms Al Qaida, Infidel, or “destroy western civilization” until 9/11. Speaking of it, do you know how many people of the muslim faith actaully died while working in the WTC?

    Yes, because in the Quran (which you didn’t even read- don’t say you did, because if you did you wouldn’t be saying that) America is being condemned by God. Please. open your eyes, God blessed you with those. use them.

  5. Anonymous you are a simple Idiot

  6. Salim

    don’t criticize. We know his/her logic is different than ours and to us it’s false but it’s unIslamic and it’s rude. let’s not reenact surat Abasa, ok?

    http://alkalima.com/?page=Archives&vol=8&issue=1&id=86

  7. anon

    next your going to say “al kalima” means some kind of terrorist term the media also made up a definition for. Just in case, kalima means word.

  8. elle,

    “I have never heard hte terms Al Qaida, Infidel, or “destroy western civilization” until 9/11.” that’s because you where too young. al qaida came into prominence after the khobar towers attack, 96 i believe. even though they didn’t actually do that, it was ultimated put on Party of God in the Hijaz. al qaida declared war on us in 98, but we didn’t pay it much heed. but in 98 they took credit for the embassy attack, so they where very much on the map then. but we still didn’t give them jthe attention they deserved, thus 9/11. but muslim terrorists are nothing new. the 70s were plaqued by hyjackings and kidnapings. munich 72, the iranians took our embassy staff hostage in 79. we pulled our peace keepers out of lebanon after the truck bombing in 83,84? pan am (that’s an airline you probably never heard of, they went out of business before you where born) lockerbie bombing. the blind shiekh tried to blow up the wtc in 93. suicide bombers are fairly new, although i think it was an iranian boy who blew himself up during the 80-88 iraq-iran war, attacking an iraqi tank, don’t know if he did much damage to the tank but he is credited with inspiring the use of suicide bombers. he’s still a national hero in iran. i was born in 69 and as far back as i can remember muslims have been executing violent acts of terror throughout the world. i think they even blew up a jewish center in argintina. i know your going to say they aren’t true muslims. but every where muslims go there is violence. did you see they killed 15 in the phillipines last week? you said muslim don’t have to make a country “theirs”. man, i think you might be the only muslim in the world to believe that. jk i’m sure many western muslims believe that. but how many western muslims are there? 20 million? let’s say 50million out of 1.5billion. that’s what 3.3%? the minute islam got to the phillipines they started fight for an “islamic state”.

  9. m2

    The “Islamic” government wanted that. people, regular people, just wanna live. I realize that Muslim gov. and groups are corrupt and you’re right, they aren’t real Muslims, but people are just sick. It’s not like Christian KKK members haven’t brutalized and killed people for their color. There is evil in all things.

  10. Elle this person which May Allah guides (Anony..) is blind form his heart instead. he is just annoying, but he is a test too I guess.

  11. Ignorante @Anonymous

    “Infidel” its a Biblical term used to describe Non-Christians, the Christians from the middle ages use to use this Biblical term “infidel” for Muslims and Jews to denigrate them in order to launch their crusades in Palestine, then during the convert or die period of the Reconquista. Therefore the term “Infidel” is a Christian term, NOT a Jewish term, NOR a Islamic term.

    You’re probably mixing the Biblical term “Infidel” with the Qur’anic term “Kaffir” frequently used by AQ and its affiliates when they’re addressing the U.S govt.

    So here is some tips for you, so at least you dont sound stupider, than you already are in your bigotry.

    “Gentile” is the Jewish term used for all Non-Jew.
    Although sometimes, some fanatic Jews will use pejoratively the terms “goy” or “goyim” for Non-Jews.

    ‘Non-believer’ or ‘Un-believer’ is the term used by some English speaking fundamentalist muslims for people who dont believe in Islam. NOT “infidel”

    And here are some Islamic terms that describes 3 categories of Non-Muslims:

    The Qur’an uses three terms for Non-Muslims: 1) Ahlul-Kitab… 2) Mushrikeen….4) Kuffar.

    1- ‘Ahlul-Kitab’ : Means – The people of the Book, which is mainly Jews and Christians, because they received their own scriptures from previous Prophets, but also whosoever believe in the One God (A.K.A monotheists).

    2- “Mushrikeen” : Means – Polytheists, or people who associate partner with the One God.

    3- “Kufur” : Means – One who sees truth in Islam because of knowledge through studies, but reject’s it from his/her heart, or people who are at war with Islam Intentionally, whether be verbally or physically.

    At the very least, be smarter in bigotry and hate of Muslims, whom i’ll bet everything i own that you never met one even once.

  12. M2 you just speak about Muslim Terrorists, whats about the unfair war in Irak that has caused the death of I don’t know how many millions Iraki by now? Is not this terrorism? Were they Irakis those who took the twin towers down? No most of them Saudis, why didn’t Bush send the troops to Saudi? It would make more sense no? when the Japs attacked pearl harbor, the war then started with Japan not China! (Something for your sleeping grey cells)

    Israel the biggest terrorist state of all time, its action of terrorism is a continuous one, Not one action here at this date and another one elsewhere on another date, but continuous non stop day and night, killing of innocent women, kids, old people, animals, but you are sooo blind and hypocrite that you do not want to admit this is the truth.

  13. Salim you are misinformed, bias, and intolerant. Israel a terrorist state? For what? Taking back land that is rightfully theirs? They are stripped from their land, and Palestinians are allowed to settle the land because of Rome’s hatred of Jews. Jesus was a Jew — did you forget. You are proof of what Muslim’s really are and for that I am saddened.

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