An Excellent Interfaith Example

April 18, 2007

Author: Lauren Monsen

Source: INFO

When the mosque serving the Islamic Society Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania was damaged by fire April 11, Muslim families immediately were offered a space for prayer services by the Jewish community in the nearby town of Pottsville.

Although the Muslim congregation ultimately decided to hold services in a fire station that also offered space, the mosque’s imam, Shiraz Mansoor, and the chairman of the Pennsylvania branch of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Iftekhar Hussain both expressed gratitude for the Oheb Zedeck Synagogue’s generosity. The fire station was chosen because its location is more convenient, Hussain said.

“This kind of interfaith cooperation is a concrete demonstration of the mutual support that results when American communities come together in times of crisis,” Hussain told a US Newswire reporter.

CAIR is the United Stats’ largest Islamic civil liberties group, with 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower US Muslims and build coalitions that foster justice and mutual understanding.

In recent interviews with USINFO, Hussain and Mansoor explained that the Islamic Society was contacted by an administrator of the synagogue and the synagogue’s rabbi with offers of assistance. The Islamic Society of Schuylkill County and the Oheb Zedeck Synagogue Center are the only mosque and synagogue in the Pottsville, Mechanicsville area (population 15,000-20,000).