Different Faiths Gather to Mark Annual Interfaith Celebration

November 23, 2009

Author: Isadora Vail

Source: The Austin-American Statesman


This wasn't a typical church service.

The 25th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and Celebration on Sunday began with a Muslim chant and the blowing of a ram's horn from the second floor of the First Baptist Church of Austin. Dancers leading a procession wore bright purple dresses, green-and-white robes, Wiccan symbols, crosses, hijabs and yarmulkes.

"God planted different colors of flowers around the Earth, just like different colors of men," said Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami, a Pakistani musician who played the sitar and sang as part of the celebration. "Today's celebration is about love and peace," he said.

Nizami, who taught last year at the University of Texas through a Fulbright scholarship, and about 900 other people attended the event. Organizers said the celebration included the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Baha'i and Covenant of the Goddess faiths. Celebrants of more than a dozen religions sang and played African drums, guitars and pipe organs.