Springfield Mosque Arson Continues to Create New Opportunities for Interfaith Cooperation

March 11, 2006

Source: The New York Times


On March 11, 2006 The New York Times reported, "Imam Rasul Faheem Seifullah, leader of the Al-Baqi Islamic Center here, says he has always considered building bridges to other religious groups as an important part of his ministry. When a fire destroyed his mosque in December 2004, those bridges became lifelines for his small congregation of Sunni Muslims.

Less than two weeks before the fire at the center, a red-brick former school building, the Muslim congregation played host to an interfaith Thanksgiving service that brought more than 70 people together, including Christians, Jews and American Indians. The destruction of the mosque generated an outpouring of sympathy and support from many religious groups in western Massachusetts, including donations of space, money and legal expertise from Roman Catholics, Unitarians, Baptists, Jews and other Muslims... The congregation at Al-Baqi, part of the American Society of Muslims, also grew closer to the Nation of Islam mosque in Springfield after the fire, accepting an invitation to rent office space and to hold its weekly Friday services in its Mosque No. 13, a converted beauty-supply store, until it can rebuild a permanent home. The move represents a renewed level of cooperation between the two Muslim groups, which share common roots in the American experience but had a rift in 1975."