Multi-Faith Prayers Thrive in US Politics

September 23, 2007

Author: Roland Lloyd Parry

Source: Yahoo News

Wire Service: AFP;_ylt=AvAAifiBXpo4mwt9d06iT7s7Xs8F

Bowing and mouthing prayers, Saleh Williams prostrates himself on a white sheet beside his colleagues. For these Muslims, Friday worship takes place not in a mosque, but a meeting room in the Capitol -- at the heart of US democracy.

This gathering, for the Friday worship known as jummah, is the only Muslim event in the Capitol. But it is just one of many prayer and religious study groups of various faiths held by Congress members, their staffers and other employees, inside the federal buildings where the nation's laws are made.

Senate Chaplain Barry Black holds separate "prayer breakfasts" and Bible study groups in the upper house for senators, their spouses, and for less senior staffers or employees.

"You can get, on a very good week, 50 percent of the senators participating in the prayer breakfasts or the Bible study," Black said. "And they do so obviously on a bipartisan basis."