On Tuesday night, March 12, St. Fabian Catholic Church in Farmington Hills hosted an interfaith event to discuss and compare the three major Abrahamic faith traditions. Imam Mustapha Elturk from the Islamic Organization of North America, IONA, spoke on Islam. The parish priest Father Jeffrey Day represented Christianity and reform Rabbi Michael Moskowitz from Temple Shir Shalom was there for Judaism. The evening started at just before 7 pm with Celia St. Charles from St. Fabian coordinating the speakers and setting up the power point for the lectures. Each speaker spoke from his faith tradition covering seven categories. The first category was Scripture. Rabbi Moskowitz, representing Judaism, the oldest of the Abrahamic tradition, went first. He explained the nature of the writing of the Torah and the Talmud. Fr. Day then spoke on when and how the New Testament was recorded and the differences Christian sects had regarding the bible. He also spoke about the history of changes in the Bible and how the Church changed its stance on Jews and Muslims in the 20th century. Imam Elturk gave a thorough talk on the final divine revelation (the Qur’an) the prophet Muhammad (SAW) received and how it was maintained orally. Modes of worship followed with Rabbi Moskowitz leading. This pattern continued with the categories of afterlife and Mary. Imam Elturk quoted the Quran to explain Mary (AS) who is mentioned often and with an entire chapter named after her. Fr. Day and Imam Elturk presented the views of Christianity and Islam on Jesus and the Trinity. Fr. Day articulated what makes Catholic doctrine different from other sects. According to the Catholics, Jesus is perceived to be divine and is one part of the trinity that makes God. Imam Elturk, again using the Qur’an, explained the Muslims’ beliefs regarding Jesus (AS) and the trinity. He quoted the verses that explain the position of Jesus as a messenger of God and that God is one and alone. He neither begets, nor is He begotten. There was a very friendly atmosphere in the room. The three speakers have known each other from interfaith circles. The audience was entertained by their humor and humbled by their humility. The last category was forgiveness. Rabbi Moskowitz led the discussion giving the Judaic tradition of asking for forgiveness through many of their holiday celebrations particularly Yom Kippur. Fr. Day and Imam Elturk shared their faith perspectives on the subject. The event was concluded with questions and answers.Abrahamic Faith Lecture2
More than 300 people attended the event. A group from the Muslim community attended to learn and interact with others. Qur’ans in English and IONA literature were made available for free to the audience. They disappeared within the first 20 minutes of the event. St. Fabian had also graciously laid out a nice table spread which made the evening even more welcoming.
The Islamic Organization of North America, IONA, is a non-violent movement whose aim is to promote and struggle for Justice. IONA, 28630 Ryan Rd., Warren, MI 48092 | Tel: 586-558-6900 | E-mail: