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Imam, priest, rabbi work together to educate in Q-C

14 January 2012 General 22 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Being in a place such as the Quad-Cities, where most residents tend to be tolerant and some are interested in the world’s major religions, makes it possible to host joint classes on Islam, Judaism and Christianity in a special three-week series, a local religious leader said.

“I feel we have a unique situation here, among the United States,” the Rev. Mike Schaab from St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island said. “People of different faiths in other parts of the country and the world would be loath to walk down the street with one another.”

The Inter-religious Dialogue sessions begin Thursday and will be led by Schaab, Imam Saad Baig from the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities in Moline and Rabbi Tamar Grimm of the Tri-City Jewish Center in Rock Island.

“Seeing what is beautiful about another faith tradition is a life skill,” said Grimm, who also appreciates the fact that the Quad-City community is a place where such lessons can be held openly and celebrated.

This area is a very good location for interfaith dialogue, Baig agreed.

“We are blessed to have people from every walk of life here in the Quad-Cities,” he said. “We try to inform those individuals who come and who see value and potential in this kind of program.”

A rarity at first

Such cooperation between faiths was a novelty when it began many years ago. But it has evolved over time, Schaab said, including special commemorations of 9/11, and the recent 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, an event that attracted an overflow crowd to Augustana College in Rock Island.

The interfaith sessions are designed with a tone free from politics.

“Our goal is to educate, to give people information,” Grimm said. For example, the first session will be on the separate calendars, holy days and celebrations of the three faiths. It will take place at the Islamic Center.

Grimm intends to talk about the cycle of the year in Judaism and how it begins in the autumn. She also will speak about symbolism in the Jewish holidays. Catholics are on the Gregorian calendar, Schaab said, while many Muslims follow a lunar calendar.

A tour that will wrap up the first event at the Islamic Center will include time to witness Muslims in prayer, Baig said. Visitors will see inside the building, its special setting, and then be invited to watch as evening prayers are conducted.

The classes should be appealing, Schaab said. During the Feb. 16 session, visitors will see an actual Torah scroll at the Tri-City Jewish Center, and they will be able to view a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

“Looking at sacred scriptures will be very interesting to many Christians,” Schaab predicted.

“Each one offers something unique,” Grimm said. “But at the same time, it amazes me how much we share, in every one of our traditions.”

Schaab, the Catholic priest, believes that knowledge gained from the Inter-religious Dialogues deepens faith. “We want to be supportive, appreciative and sensitive to one another,” he added.

Baig, a Muslim imam, said such education teaches respect for all faiths. There also is value in seeing leaders of these faiths together on one stage, he pointed out. Baig cited a phrase that he believes is central to the outreach effort: “The more you sweat in making peace, the less you will bleed in war.”

Grimm, who took over her part in the forum from her predecessor, Rabbi Michael Samuel, hopes to find continuing acceptance for the lessons.

“People are curious, people want to know and people want to understand,” she said.

Original post: Imam, priest, rabbi work together to educate in Q-C


  1. More of this.

    that’s all there is to say on the matter. We can all just get along, especially the Jews and Muslims cause we don’t agree with the Christians on who the messiah is. It’s not about hate, it’s about acceptance.

  3. We are ALL children of God,created in HIS image!!! The three houses of Abraham SHOULD be able to live in peace & harmony!!! Love is the universal peacemaker!!!

  4. This is a wonderful idea. I’d love to see more of this around the country.

  5. Right wing politicians of all faiths and nations need fear and conflict to justify their existence and justify diverting money from social programs to the military build-up. Take away the political needs, and all people can co-exist in peace.

  6. Cool..where is the Quad Cities?

  7. 😀 😀

  8. it is always in one’s interest to respect the religious traditions of other groups and the individuals who comprise those groups 🙂

  9. @Diarmuid: It is the area of Davenport and Bettendorf Iowa plus Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, USA

  10. God Bless Iowa (sigh and I guess Illinois…lol)!!!! …glad I live here.

  11. I was lucky enough to witness something like this. I was with a group of friends in tHe city watching a small speech be made as three men, a sweet tiny old shaikh, a funny rabbi in flannel, and an adorable Latino priest get togethet hugging and calling for the cleaning of the renovation of houses in which girls were being dragged into and gangraped in, for the neighborhood to be monitored and those girls be protected. I thought it was wonderful.

  12. islmophobia it is a neologism used to refer to irrational fear or prejudice towards and religion of islam

  13. some belive that prejudice against muslims has increased since september 11.2001 attacks

  14. @Bill Boyce:

    Do you even know what taqiyya means? It is a Shi’a islamic concept that allows one to conceal his/her identity in a time of persecution. The same concept exists in Sunni Islam, but it is not given any name. Muslims are not allowed to lie about our religion, simply about our religious IDENTITY in a time of persecution. For example, if you were to come to my door, holding a gun, asking if I was Muslim, in that case I could use taqiyya to save myself by pretending to be a Christian. Jews did the same thing during WWII. I suggest YOU wake up, seeing as it was many such “counter jihadis” who inspired the Christian extremist Anders Brevick.

  15. Prejudice against Islam should grow! Just like prejudice against the Nazis prior to WWII should have grown to stop the holocaust!

  16. lol another hatred join the page

  17. Bill, you don’t belong on this page… -__-

  18. Bill has been banned, don’t worry.

  19. Freedom of Speech? I am still waiting to see if anyone will read the above mentioned books and then be willing to have a rational conversation. Probably starting with “Now They Call Me Infidel” by Nonie Darwish. No one needs to play the part of victim here as no on us are. Everything is just a mirror. If you feel hated then who do you hate?

  20. im not worry and he can stay but he must know with Wendy Gilker there are difference between freedom of speech and insulting people with saying bad things and make propaganda as it’s very easy now to do this with the growing of islamophobia in the world..waiting too for rational conversation inside topic

  21. @Wendy, u should know that there r always two sides to a coin. have u ever read books by karen armstrong? or even the kids book called “saladin: the noble prince of islam”?

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