"Muslims and Methodists Seek Interfaith Dialogue," a Commentary by Kat Teraji

August 2, 2007

Author: Kat Teraji

Source: The Gilroy Dispatch


"Islam is the world's second largest religion. When you have a billion and a half people belonging to a religion, you are bound to find a few kooks and extremists among their number," Shista Azad said in answer to our questions about how she reconciles her Muslim beliefs with the actions of terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. Teachers Shista Azad and Maha Elgensidi, Muslim women from the Islamic Networks Group, (which works to educate people about Islamic beliefs), have been in demand since Sept. 11. In the past year alone, they have participated in 726 presentations to history and social studies classes, police officers, corporations with cultural competency programs and other events.

Shista turned our question around on us, "How do you reconcile Hitler with Christian belief? He professed to be a Christian, and yet look what he did. There are extremists in every religion, and they give a bad name to the millions who are trying to practice their own beliefs in peace."

Gilroy Methodist women were enjoying a class called, "Creating Interfaith Communities," in a continuing effort to learn more about the Muslim religion. Women from 41 Santa Clara County area churches have participated in prayer vigils and presentations given by Muslim women. We found it a fascinating experience to sit in a room close to a Muslim woman in her hijab (traditional scarf and loose-fitting modest dress) and be able to ask her every question we had ever wanted to ask a Muslim.