Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
On September 29, 2000, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution published an article entitled "Muslim 'Man of Peace' to Help Jews Greet New Year." It reported that "as Jews in metro Atlanta and around the world begin their holiest season of the year, one Atlanta congregation will be hosting an unusual guest speaker: a Muslim sheik. Sheik Abu Saleh el Refai, a Sufi Muslim and spiritual leader of Arabs living on the West Bank, will be the guest speaker this evening at services sponsored by the nondenominational Shema Yisrael, the Open Synagogue, at the Marriott Hotel at Century Center, I-85 and Clairmont Road, beginning at 6:45 p.m. Two years ago, after a profound religious experience, the sheik opened the doors of his mosque in the Palestinian village of D'Ir Qadis to Jews. The invitation to address a Jewish congregation in Atlanta is a reciprocal gesture, said Jane Davis, a lay leader in Shema Yisrael and founder of HOPE- HOWSE international, a nonprofit human rights organization. 'He's a walking man of peace,' said Davis of the sheik, who participated in the United Nations as part of the Millennium Peace Conference of Religious and Spiritual leaders. The sheik called the opportunity to speak to a Jewish congregation on Rosh Hashana 'a big gift from God.'"