A Celebration of Abraham
By Ras H. Siddiqui

L to R:Rabbi Wolfe,Father John Boll and Sister Dina El-Nakhal

On Sunday, January 9, 2005 three religions that can easily find a common bond in a number of ways (yet seem to want to somehow ignore the obvious) brought together about 500 of their following to the St. James Memorial Center in Davis, California to "A Celebration of Abraham" organized by local Jews, Christians and Muslims. And one is happy to report that this is not the first but now the second year of this effort locally, held this year so close to the time of the Muslim holy pilgrimage of the Hajj which culminates in the duplication of the sacrifice of the Prophet Abraham of his beloved son which Muslims celebrate and call Eid-ul-Adha (Eid of Sacrifice or Bakra Eid). Amidst words of welcome, reading from the scriptures and musical presentations along with speeches or sermons, the followers of the three faiths also got an opportunity to participate in a hand washing and bread breaking ceremonies.

Interfaith Abraham gathering

The focus of the collective attention here this time was the topic of "Messianic Visions from Three Faiths" as representatives of each took the opportunity to explain how their religion views the subject of Messiahs. In order of seniority within the three Abrahamic faiths, Jewish Rabbi Greg Wolfe from the Congregation Bet Haverim, Davis spoke first. He was followed by Fr. John Boll from the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Woodland, California who presented the Christian view, and last but not least the Muslim perspective was presented by Sister Dina El-Nakhal from the Islamic Center of Davis. Not to comment on the religious beliefs of each here, but two points certainly stood out. The first was that even on the subject of Messiahs, much common ground can be found between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

SALAM students

And the second was the fact that at this event, amongst the three main speakers, it was only the Islamic viewpoint that was presented by a woman. "A Celebration of Abraham" is an attempt being made by the followers of three religions to highlight their

Water ritual and bread

commonality instead of their differences. It is also a unique way that people who have been taught from The Torah, The Bible and The Qur'an can better understand one another and think beyond world conflicts. Jewish, Christian and Muslim-Americans can lead the way towards reconciliation amongst these three faiths. The alternative does not seem to be working out too well. Wouldn't it be great if we could all wash our hands of conflict and break the bread of peace in this world today and somehow share the Holy Land and Jerusalem instead of fighting over it?


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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