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Friday, February 22, 2008

US Muslims, Catholics Join Hands

As a Catholic, who is the mother of a Muslim born daughter, this is wonderful news. We simple people know what should be done, and that we are all one...............

US Muslims, Catholics Join Hands & Newspapers


The agreement is meant to uphold freedom of religion, expression and thought while fighting religious and ethnic intolerance.

CAIRO — Muslim and Catholic leaders in New Jersey have signed a landmark agreement to fight religious and ethnic intolerance and promote understanding about their faiths, The Courier-Port reported on Thursday, February 21.

"History is being made," said Zia Rahman, managing director and trustee of the Muslim American Community Association in Voorhees.

"Things have unfolded in a much better way, by the grace of God, than I had envisioned."

The agreement was co-signed by Bishop Joseph Galante, the head of the Camden Diocese, and Rahman on Wednesday, February 20, at the Voorhees Islamic Center.

It is meant to uphold freedom of religion, expression and thought while fighting religious and ethnic intolerance.

The agreement also aims to bolster cooperation and understanding between Catholics and Muslims in South Jersey through the establishment of a joint committee and institute.

"[This is a ] significant step toward deepening respect and understanding between the two faiths," said Bishop Galante.

A joint committee has worked for months to forge the agreement.

"It takes a lot of patience and prayer and some negotiation," said Deacon John Brasley, the ecumenical and interreligious officer for the Camden Diocese.

"It really takes a lot of listening and understanding to reach this kind of agreement."

The relationship between the Camden Diocese and the Voorhees Muslim community began about eight years ago.

"They're people of deep faith and prayer," said Father Joseph Wallace, ecumenical and interreligious affairs director for the diocese.

"They reach out in many ways to all the religions in their communities."

The document is the second of its kind in the US.

Muslim and Catholic leaders in Rochester Diocese, New York, signed a similar agreement in 2003.


Afsheen Shamsi, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) branch in New Jersey, welcomed the new agreement.

"It's wonderful that people of faith should get together and talk about what we share in common, the values we share in common and how much our religions have in common," he said.

The activist believes it will help the public realize that Muslims have much in common with Christians and Jews.

"It's a wonderful step toward peace and will hopefully bring many good things."

Hate crimes against Muslims in New Jersey rose by 9 percent in 2007.

There was also 25 percent increase in civil rights complaints by New Jersey Muslims.

Since the 9/11 attacks, American Muslims, estimated at some six million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was targeting their faith.

"I think it's a big milestone," agreed Rubina Ahmad of Voorhees, a coalition member.

He says the deal will allow Muslims and Catholics to work together on issues like education and poverty.

"It's going to take us many steps forward.


Hat-tip to Clo, SHUKRAN!

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