Celebrating Common Hospitality, Christians Have Muslims Over for Dinner

April 21, 2004

Source: The Winston-Salem Journal


On April 21, 2004 The Winston-Salem Journal reported, "Like many Americans, members of Kingswood United Methodist Church became curious about Islam after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the beginning of the war in Iraq. Unlike a lot of others, Kings-wood members did something about it. Since February, about 25 members have attended five sessions of videotaped lectures as well as discussions with Reda Badeir, an Egyptian Muslim who is a visiting professor at Wake Forest University. Still, church members wanted to know more. What better way, they thought, than to have some Muslims over for dinner? Last week they organized a covered-dish supper with the help of Sam Atassi, the president of the Muslim Association of the Triad, who brought along fellow members of the local Muslim community. The dinner mixed Christian and Muslim religions as well as American and Arab cuisines, and it included people from such diverse places as Iran, Tunisia and Pakistan. 'We think we can eliminate some barriers and build some bridges, not just by learning about Islam but by becoming involved with Muslims in the community,' said Jerry McLeese, who coordinated the Understanding Islam course at Kingswood. After the course's fifth session, dinner was the natural next step... Hospitality was one several similarities that struck church members during the course, McLeese said. Both religions share beliefs about Jesus' existence, the sacredness of life and ties to the biblical patriarch Abraham."