Religious Diversity Celebrated at Interfaith Event

September 3, 2008

Author: Trish Hollenbeck

Source: Northwest Arkansas Times

A Muslim from Palestine, Fadil Bayyari, is helping to build the Jewish Temple Shalom in Fayetteville. It is being designed by a Christian.

University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart gave this as an example of tolerance and diversity as he spoke during the Institute of Interfaith Dialog's fourth annual Interfaith Banquet Tuesday night at the Fayetteville Town Center.

Every year during the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan, the institute organizes the event to celebrate diversity.

Members of Temple Shalom broke ground for the synagogue last fall in a Jewish / Muslim partnership. Bayyari is donating his time to the project in an effort to demonstrate that interfaith cooperation and friendships are possible.

Gearhart said the temple has been designed by UA School of Architecture graduate Brett Park, a Christian.

The chancellor said the new facility will serve the Jewish community of Fay- etteville and Northwest Arkansas and act as a community resource for residents and UA students of all faiths.

"This, to me, is an extraordinary example of interfaith cooperation and understanding, and I am personally proud to call Fayetteville home, where these interfaith efforts exist," Gearhart said.