“In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, let us praise the Lord. The creator of the universe, the most merciful, the most compassionate and the Lord of the universe who has created us and made us into nations and tribes, from male and females that we may know each other, not that we might despise each other, or may despise each other. Incline towards peace and justice and trust in God, for the Lord is one that hears and knows everything and the servants of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful, gracious are those who walk in the earth in humility and when bigots and hateful and Islamaphobes address them, they say peace. Peace be upon them and peace be upon Allah.”If you would have guessed the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), then you would be correct. As the first order of business it offered prayers to the Islamic deity, Allah, led by a representative of the Muslim community on behalf of the Presbyterian Assembly.
Wajidi was taking part in the assembly’s scheduled time of remembrance for those killed in the recent Orlando terrorist attack and those killed last year in the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, S.C. “In the days leading up to this assembly we all know that our nation’s peace has once again been ripped apart by an act of mass violence,” said Heath Rada, moderator of the 221st General Assembly, when introducing it. The violence, he said, “tore at each of our hearts as it reminded us of too many tragedies and too many victims. We are all touched by the tragedy of violence in some way. Being from North Carolina, I am reminded of the Chapel Hill shooting of Muslims, and I am concerned of course as I recognize that yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the shootings at AME church in Charleston.
Rada said that Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons requested the staff leadership of the PCUSA’s ecumenical and interfaith ministries — Robina Winbush, Laurie Anderson, Rick Ufford-Chase and Laurie Kraus, — “ to provide for us as a first order of business an opportunity to lift up these tragedies that are so much on our minds.”
It was supposed to be an exercise of ecumenical friendship in a time of remembrance for national tragedy, sponsored by the interfaith staff of the PCUSA, but I guess that offending the Triune God is one small price to pay for extending the hand of welcome to Muslims by Presbyterians. Honestly folks, it just does not get weirder and more offensive than this -- truth is always stranger than fiction!
Watch at the 14 minute mark. . .
General Assembly convenes in Plenary, Business Session 1 from Office of the General Assembly on Vimeo.