The National Council of Churches is asking congregations in its 36 member denominations to hold interfaith open houses for Muslim neighbors on or near Sept. 11, 2002.
After the terrorist attacks, hundreds of Islamic centers and mosques hosted open houses, says Jay Rock, NCC director for interfaith relations. "For many Christians, it was their first occasion to enter a mosque and talk with a Muslim. Muslims for their part wanted their neighbors of other faiths to understand who they really were — not terrorists, but peace-loving, PTA-going, regular Americans who came here from all parts of the world."
Atonement Lutheran Church, San Diego, will participate in a prayer service Sept. 11 with the mosque next door. "In our case it would make the most sense to have a dual open house where the group would go from one place of worship to another since we are right next door," says James Jerpseth, pastor of Atonement.
The NCC Web site, www.ncccusa.org, offers free materials to help congregations host open houses, get facts about Islam, and find and follow up with local Muslim groups.
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