Muslim Friday prayers to be offered at Washington National Cathedral

[Washington National Cathedral] Washington National Cathedral and five Muslim groups have announced that the first celebration of Muslim Friday prayers (Jumaa) at the cathedral will be observed on Friday, Nov. 14.

“Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality,” according to a cathedral media advisory. “It demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions.”

The prayers will be held between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and will be attended by the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, director of liturgy for Washington National Cathedral, South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, Masjid Muhammad of The Nation’s Mosque,
and representatives from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council.

The opportunity grew out of a “trusted relationship” between Campbell and Rasool, who met while planning the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the advisory said.

“Deep relationships come out of prayer,” said Campbell. “Different connections come out of being in prayer — beyond the political or academic.”

Rasool thanked Campbell for the cathedral’s generous offer to use Friday prayers as a beginning to a deeper conversation and partnership. “This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” said Rasool. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”

The cathedral has welcomed Muslims in the past, often at interfaith services and events, as well as at the Interfaith Conference of Greater Washington’s annual concert and specific programs such as the 2008 Ramadan Iftar at the Cathedral College. But this is the first time the cathedral has invited Muslims to come and lead their own prayers in a space known as a house of prayer for all people.

Planners hope that the people around the world will take note of this service and the welcome extended by the cathedral so that Muslims everywhere will adopt a reciprocal welcome of Christians by Muslims.

The prayers will be offered in the north transept, an area of the cathedral with arches and limited iconography that provide an ideal space — almost mosque-like — with the appropriate orientation for Muslim prayers.

The prayers will also be webcast live from the cathedral’s website.

Comments

  1. Rich Basta says:

    This is not a good development. They invited representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood founded organizations, CAIR and ISNA, to attend, who are documented, un-indicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial. It is inclusiveness taken to an absurd extreme.

    In the Holy Land Foundation trial, abundant evidence was introduced — much of it in the form of internal documents seized from Muslim Brotherhood officials — proving that the Brotherhood
    sees its mission in the United States as a “grand jihad” to destroy the West from within by “sabotage.”

    The Brotherhood formed a Palestine Committee whose mandate was to support Hamas. Palestine Committee members included HLF and, later, the Brotherhood’s new creation, CAIR. Meantime, Brotherhood documents named ISNA and the NAIT as partners in its “grand jihad.” In fact, HLF was housed for a time at ISNA’s Indiana offices, and checks were often routed to Hamas through a joint ISNA/NAIT bank account.

    Ecumenical efforts at outreach and interfaith prayer services are one thing, and to be encouraged from time to time, but to invite representatives from known radical Islamic terror groups to take over your prayer space when they have their own worship spaces is quite another.

    Good Lord!

    • Fr. Paul Clayton says:

      I wonder if the Muslim liturgical material to be used at our National Cathedral will include the confession that God is one and has no Son!

      The Rev’d Paul Clayton, Ph. D., retired ecumenical and interfaith officer of the Diocese of New York.

      • The Rev'd John Edson says:

        The National Cathedral is a House of Prayer for all people, but, lest we forget, God drove Israel’s warring nations out of the Temple in Jerusalem. Should we invite known enemies to offer prayers at the Cathedral? I think not!

  2. Danny Anderson says:

    Guess they don’t mind losing more donation money. I know 5 people that are friends of the cathedral that will stop sending.money now.

    • Janet McMannis says:

      And I know one person who will start sending money now……ME and anyone else that truly wants to follow what Jesus taught.

      • Larry Quisenberry says:

        In John 14:6 Jesus said, ” I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus loves everyone. But He never ask us to compromise this teaching. There are enough people in our society who believe that we are all serving one God. As a Christian who happens to be a member of the Episcopal Church I do not think that praying to Allah in the cathedral is honoring my God the father, God the Holy spirit, and God the Son. Allah isn’t in there.
        It is apparent the Episcopal Church has a disease that being spread by the big deceiver. I don’t think the people realized that the Muslim will not compromise their belief. I hope you don’t believe that a group of Christian would be permitted to pray in a Muslim mosque. I think it is clear that the National Cathedral is not consistent with what Jesus taught when He said (again), I am the TRUTH and the LIFE. NO ONE comes to the FATHER EXCEPT through ME (JESUS not Allah). I am seriously considering leaving the Episcopal Church. There are churches teach that the only way to God is through His son Jesus Christ.

        • Nolan McBride says:

          It is worth remembering that Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Arab Christians use it to refer to Our Lord as well. While I may be incorrect, I believe they were using it long before Islam existed.

  3. Jane Picardi says:

    I’ve had enough. I am now an Anglican. This confirms my decision.

  4. Jessica Hitchcock says:

    I think this is awesome. I’m going to go to show my support.

  5. Brad Howard says:

    I often work with people of other religions (and no religion at all) on areas of common concern. It would never occur to me to ask to hold a Christian rite in a mosque out if respect; I can’t imagine any Episcopalian being so thoughtless as to make that request. By the same token, I expect the same respect towards the sacred places of my religion by people of other faiths. This decision goes beyond ecumenical cooperation and crosses a line. Islam and Christianity teach mutually exclusive things. I think this is a very poor decision that reflects poorly on the church and underscores our inability to articulate anything meaningful about our religious identity. It is no accident that TEC is in decline while Islam is on the ascendancy. There is a snake in our garden saying some things that are clearly, bright-line wrong.

    • Doug Desper says:

      Well said, Brad. The single common thread we have with Islam is the line of Abraham, and even that is a point of contention. It is a very tortured thought process that eliminates The Incarnation of Jesus Christ to have something vaguely in common with Islam which denies it.
      The National Cathedral has mistakenly taken its motto “A House of Prayer for All People” to mean that any deity will be accomodated. Long ago I, and several in my circles, returned donation requests by the National Cathedral with notes to remove us from their lists. It’s a pity that it has come to this.

    • Janet McMannis says:

      Your statement shows your ignorance.
      During the first Gulf War the late Casey Kasem’s mosque in Los Angeles was open to continueous prayers during the days of that was. Christian leaders and Jewish leaders as well as Muslim clerics conducted prayer services throughout the conflict.
      You have a deep misunderstanding of the Koran and an even deeper misunderstanding of the teachings of Jesus who asked that we love our enemies leave the judgements to God.

    • Brian Cherry says:

      Nailed it, Rich, Zachary and Doug! Well said.

  6. We have boundaries and our religions have boundaries, but I believe that God is bieyond all our boundaries. Here’s one Episcopalian grateful for the National Cathedral being open for prayers to God from other faiths. If we are to survive and thrive, we must come together.

  7. Patrick McDonald says:

    I have seen some things that have amazed me. The naivety displayed here is the icing on the cake. How many christian towns have been destroyed and christians murdered in the middle east? Not 1400 years ago but last year. Do you think that, instead of prayer, putting an end to those murderous acts would “… demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions.” ? Do you think that just the simple act of condemnation from CAIR and other muslim groups would be a start? I dare you to make a request to hold a Sunday mass at any Mosque.

  8. John L Finlon says:

    I have a concern concerning security. The webcast can be viewed also by by those of the Islamic faith who are militant. Will they view their non-militant brethren as “infidels” thereby putting them potentially in harms way? Is the National Cathedral putting itself at potential risk by hosting such an event and has that been discussed? It is sad, but there are evil people in this world set upon doing bad things. I also have other concerns about this event but they have been well articulated above and elaboration on my part would serve only as repetition.

  9. Debi Brown says:

    I reserve judgment on this inter-faith effort. I will think it successful when we have Sunday prayers in a commensurate mosque on a regular basis.

  10. Mark Hatch says:

    Is it still the case that possession of a Bible and sharing Christian prayers/belief is a seriously punishable offense in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and elsewhere? I know that I have been denied entry to mosques in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, Africa. Possibly this has changed but I have not heard so. While reciprocity of religious freedom is not a mandate it does seem like an essential foundation, in some way, for building these interfaith connections. Is there any effort by a group from National Cathedral to hold prayer in such locales?

  11. The Rev. Daniel Prechtel says:

    I am proud of the Episcopal leadership of the Washington National Cathedral for this initiative in showing respect and hospitality to another of the major faith traditions in our nation and world. This cathedral is envisioned as a house of prayer for all peoples and stands as a symbol for our national capacity for prayer and conscience. It is not a surprise to see fearful and angry words immediately react against this new thing. It is normal to fear changes that possibly threaten a fixed and comfortable Christian identity and support the dominant myth that this is a Christian nation. But that way fails to evidence the signs of the Spirit at work. Instead let us build healthy relationships across faith traditions. This is one such effort.

    • Brian Cherry says:

      Rev. Prechtel, in the Episcopal Tradition of “agreement is not required,” I respectfully but PASSIONATELY disagree. CAIR, one of the participatory organizations in the event, has well-documented ties to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. So intertwined are CAIR and Hamas that in 2009, the FBI severed all ties with CAIR, with which it had fostered a cooperative relations after September 11, 2001. ISNA has similar ties to Hamas’ funding. I became an Episcopalian because we- I thought- stood for self-determination, peace, the empowerment of women, helping the poor, and the acceptance of LBGT people- all while acknowledging the Holy Trinity as the source of our strength and power. Here, “our” church has decided to be lead by the blind hand of political correctness, ignoring the fact that these organizations fund an organization that represents the antithesis of all those things. Among those are the destruction of the State of Israel, the indiscriminate launching of rockets at civilian targets which take the lives of the innocent, and the global support of terrorism. Also, consider that men and women will be segregated during their service. How is this consistent with our values? I haven’t even addressed the fact that Islam denies the divinity of Christ, the central tenet of our faith! For the first time, I am ashamed to call myself an Episcopalian. The Episcopal Church needs to stand up for something- our purported values.
      Respectfully,
      An newly ashamed member of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan

    • Brad Howard says:

      Daniel, reasonable people often disagree. But please don’t straw man.

      • The Rev. Daniel Prechtel says:

        Brad, I may have unintentionally veered in that direction and I do apologize. Reasonable people do often disagree.

  12. Rev. Prechtel:

    Your statements have so many holes in them, that I don’t know where to begin, but here goes:

    1. Those who are using angry words in this instance are not children that need to be scolded by you. There is such a thing such as righteous anger. You may recall Jesus’ anger at the money changers in the Temple who were desecraing a holy worship space. So, I would posit that this anger is not that of a child who lashes out, but at those terrorist-supporting groups like CAIR who violate the sanctity of a Christian worship space. Jesus was not raecting to a new thing. He was reacting to what he perceived to be a bad thing. Or, was Jesus (and I) wrong to be angry?

    2. Having terrosist-supporting groups who deny the existence of the Triune God, which includes the Holy Spirit is not a sign of the Holy Spirit at work. The Holy Sprit does not approve of those that deny it’s very existence. Do you comprehend the logical fallacy of your argument, or do I need to be clearer?

    3. No one here is saying we shouldn’t build healthy relationships across faith traditions. There are ways do that, as I said, if you had bothered to read or comprehend my post. This is not one of those.

    4. As far as your statement about Christian identity, yes, I would like to work towards a nation that has a Christian identity. Not a theocracy, mind you. I beleive there was something in the Great Commission about making Disciples of all nations. I’m pretty sure Jesus wasn’t talking about . I have not doubt that when the jihadists come, you will be the first to surrender your collar.

    Have a nice day…..

    • The Rev. Daniel Prechtel says:

      246 groups were listed by Federal prosecutors in 2007 as unindicted co-conspiritors in the Holy Land Foundation case. I don’t believe that either group Mr. Basta is labeling as “terrorist-supporting” has ever been charged with a crime and in 2010 a federal appeals court sealed the list, finding that the ruling violated the groups’ rights and was the result of “simply an untested allegation of the Government, made in anticipation of a possible evidentiary dispute that never came to pass.” We need to be careful about asserting guilt by association–a previous era in the United States did that out of fear to the harm of many people.
      I do find it humorous that Mr. Basta presumes to know me so well as to be certain how I will respond “when the jihadists come.”

  13. Zachary Brooks says:

    I am sure these Muslims are nice enough people, and shame on the bigotry and fear mongering in these comments. But I am baffled why the National Cathedral thinks hospitality necessitates opening our churches to non-Christian rites, and I am greatly saddened at yet another example of our leadership co-opting the Christian faith for the sake of the cult of niceness.

    • Kevin Miller says:

      I agree with Zachary. It’s inappropriate to use a place of worship consecrated for Christian worship for worship of any other faith.

      • Father Mike Waverly-Shank says:

        The first Episcopal Church I served was very proud and rightly so of an Ecumenical offer they had made a year before. A neighborhood synagogue had burned down. THey offered the Church as an emergency place to worship for the Jewish Congregation. Were they wrong to do this?

  14. Dannyy L Anderson says:

    Well If it is a house of prayer for all people we need to put a star of David and a crescent moon on ether side of the cross that’s on top of the cathedral. Since we will be letting non Christians use the space. Its just a space now since its being defiled. I don’t care what you people call me bigot what ever I am a Christian and worship in a Christian church. Thank God that would never happen in any parish in my town.

  15. I am horrified! I wonder if they would consider letting ACNA use the space, or Baptists? Being hospitable and respectful does not mean allowing groups that disregard human rights and explicitly deny tenets of our faith to use space consecrated for the worship of the Holy Trinity. What is next Wiccans? Lord have mercy!

  16. Rich Basta says:

    Regarding Rev. Prechtel’s latest post, I respctfully offer an additional perspective from Andrew C. McCarthy, a formal federal prosecutor with specific knowledge of the ruling to which you were referring. He admits that you were correct, but only partially. This probably won’t change your mind, but who knows?

    “At a trial, a coconspirator is not entitled to be kept anonymous. The jury and the public get to learn the unabridged basis for the government’s accusations. Thus, at the Holy Land Foundation trial, abundant evidence was introduced — much of it in the form of internal documents seized from Muslim Brotherhood officials — proving that the Brotherhood sees its mission in the United States as a “grand jihad”[1] to destroy the West from within by “sabotage.” The Brotherhood formed a Palestine Committee whose mandate was to support Hamas. Palestine Committee members included HLF and, later, the Brotherhood’s new creation, CAIR. Meantime, Brotherhood documents named ISNA and the NAIT as partners in its “grand jihad.” In fact, HLF was housed for a time at ISNA’s Indiana offices, and checks were often routed to Hamas through a joint ISNA/NAIT bank account.

    That was what the prosecution’s evidence showed. You can hide the coconspirator list, but the evidence doesn’t go away. That’s why there are diminishing returns for the Islamist groups in grousing about the list. That only calls attention to the fact that the Justice Department cited them in the first place and then, critically, backed it up with evidence.

    In that light, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling is mostly a non-event. The court merely pointed out the government’s admission that it was wrong to file the coconspirator list publicly — although, interestingly, the judges did not seem as convinced as the Justice Department that this faux pas rises to the level of a constitutional due-process violation. More significantly, though, the Fifth Circuit declined to expunge names from the list or the trial proof. All it agreed to do was unseal a lower court ruling. That, however, is a double-edged sword for the Brotherhood satellites: Yes, the ruling says their Fifth Amendment rights were violated — a fact they obviously see as a PR coup — but it also reportedly describes the proof of their ties to the Brotherhood. (The lower-court ruling has not yet been unsealed but the Fifth Circuit decision clues us in on what it says.)

    CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT do not have a branding problem. They have a substance problem. They may be able to falsely frame people as “Islamophobes.” It’s tough to frame facts.”

  17. Bob Thwing says:

    I am embarrassed to be an Episcopalian when we seem to have abandoned all our values. Apparently the goal is to drive people away from the Episcopal Faith. I guess the Cathedral can be opened up for anybody for anything. I have received many emails from people around the country asking me what is going on with the Episcopal Church? I am very disappointed.

  18. Frank Christian says:

    I do not hate Muslims, but I love God.

    EPH 1:22-23 “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all”.

    Mark 12:29-31 “Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    I love God. Loving my neighbor is ‘like’ the first, but NOT the first. I (try to) love my neighbor as myself, and I (try to) love God before myself. God(first), Me(after), Neighbor(as me).

    John 10:25-30 “Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

    I have good friends that are Muslim, but I draw the line when it comes to my devotion to Jesus.

  19. John David Spangler says:

    Dear Bob T. and all the nay-sayers, I am proud to be part of the Blessed Company that is the Episcopal Church. A member for all of my 85 years, I am prouder to-day because of Janet McMannis, Lisa Hlass, Daniel Prechtel, Canon Campbell, and the Cathedral. I give thanks fro them and pray that the nay-sayers. Peace!

    • Rich Basta says:

      Oh, Mr. Spangler and fellow travellers, you are proud to be part of a church that lets Muslim men do prayers in our flagship place of worship while their women are forced to sit in the back? Did you watch the service today? You are down with that? Really? Are you proud of letting in people with unmitigated irrefutable proof representing terror-supporting groups? Really ?Wow. That’s just breathtaking. Read below, and see if you can still poisitively affirm this. If you can, may God have mercy on your souls. I am not a naysayer-, I am a truth teller. If you all have willfull blindness to the truth, so be it. I speak truth to power, why don’t you?

      In fact, it is against Islamic law for Muslims to hold Christianity or Judaism in the same regard the Episcopal Church is now showing Islam. Indeed, Islamic law “abrogates” (cancels) Christianity and Judaism as “previously revealed religions (that) were valid in their own eras,” but are no longer — not after the advent of Islam in the 7th century.

      I am quoting above from “Reliance of the Traveller,” the authoritative Sunni law book, which, in explaining the “finality” of Islam (page 846), asserts that it is “unbelief (kufr) to hold that remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as ‘Christianity’ or ‘Judaism,’ are acceptable to Allah” post-Mohammed. (“Unbelief,” meanwhile, is an act of Islamic apostasy and punishable by death.) Clearly, no devout Muslim can show “appreciation” for the “prayer tradition” of a “remnant cult.” The sharia textbook is definitive about this point, adding: “This is a matter over which there is no disagreement among Islamic scholars.”

      Not surprisingly, then, Ebrahim Rasool’s prayer-service statement conveys no interfaith reciprocity. Instead, he presses the need to “embrace our humanity and to embrace faith” — not “our faiths” (plural). As usual, Islamic “outreach” is a one-way, non-ecumenical street.

      But how could it be otherwise, according to Islam’s own teachings? Islamic expert Andrew Bostom notes that the Koranic prayers Muslims recite daily and specifically on Fridays “include, prominently, Koran suras (chapters) 1, 87 and 88.” Sura 1, verse 7, he notes, is repeated up to 17 times per day by observant Muslims. It calls on Allah to guide Muslims “to the straight path, to the path of those you have blessed, not those who incurred (Your) wrath, nor of the misguided.” The former group (“wrath”) is Jewish; the latter (“misguided”) is Christian.

      This is not exactly a “prayer tradition” that encourages the “appreciation” Episcopalians undoutbedly expect.

      It gets worse – at least for Christians and Jews. Typically, Friday “Jum’ah” prayers, following Mohammed’s own example, include Suras 87 and 88, Bostom explains. These verses are almost palpably acrid with hell-fire and humiliation for Christians and Jews, according to authoritative Koranic commentaries.

      Most conservatives will look at this cathedral event as a milestone for “Islamism” — as though Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations and their activities have little intersection with Islam itself.

  20. George McPhee says:

    This all seems very strange to me as a form of ecumenical outreach. A joint Interfaith service would be more appropriate in my opinion, and the Cathedral’s announcement said there have been some such services in the past. To have an Islam-specific service within a Christian space, absent a possible legitimate form of hospitality such as because a mosque’s building had a disaster or something and needed a large space temporarily, seems like an odd way to promote ecumenism or hospitality. The two religions are very different theologically. There is no need for an Islamic worship service (ordinarily) in a Christian space, nor a Christian worship service (ordinarily) in a mosque. The other commenters make some valid points, and it begs the question… when will we have a Buddhist-only service, or Hindu-only, or Jewish-only? And… why have them? This will send waves of confusion around the world, not healing.

  21. From a cradle to grave Episcopalian, I say 3 cheers to the WNC for being bold and for providing radical hospitality, just as Jesus would want us to do. Thank you.

  22. Larry James says:

    Jesus called upon us to love and serve everyone as serving Christ. We are to love and forgive all as individuals, Muslims included, but we are not called to support and encourage organizations that are formulated to wipe Christianity from the face of the earth, and replace it with another belief system. Jesus also made whips and turned tables over. Instead of a real knowledge of scripture and history, we are being guided by oatmeal mush, spineless, lukewarm, new age, create God in our image, politically correct hogwash. I have attended the Episcopal church for 40 years. This may be my last year.

  23. Thank you for your clear witness that people of faith from all traditions can pray together. In the best of our traditions honoring or following one way does not negate others.

  24. John David Spangler says:

    Yes, Mr. Basta, I did watch the Jumu’ah service to-day. To my earlier remarks, I simply add three cheers and one cheer more!!!
    I know that I should love my neighbor as myself and that you are my neighbor, and that I should not loose my temper but you make very hard not to do so.
    Peace!

  25. John David Spangler says:

    Kay, I welcome your kind words. You understand the real, deep meaning of our faith. I fear that, because of his fears, Mr. Basta does not. Peace, David

  26. M. Milner Seifert says:

    I suppose I should not be surprised at the negative comments, though I am disappointed to read them.
    I am very pleased that the Cathedral was taken this bold step and support it in this journey. I join others who voice their support.

  27. Fr. Will McQueen says:

    This is an absolutely disgusting move on the part of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. This is an affront to the two saints for whom this building is dedicated and to the Lord they died serving. I simply cannot fathom how any Christian can think this is a good thing. These Muslims are using a consecrated Christian house of worship to offer prayers to a deity other than Almighty God (even though this has been happening for quite a long time now). Please spare me your comments that they are they same God. They are not. Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, and those who deny him before men, He will deny before the Father. If you have not the Son, you have neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. Washington National Cathedral, your name is Ichabod! God will not be mocked.

    • Chris Arnold says:

      Fr. Will, I agree with your perspective on this, especially considering the fact that this cathedral is named for Saints Peter and Paul, who gave their years and their lives for their witness of the one Mediator between God and man, the man Chris Jesus.
      When Yahweh declared that “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Is.56:7) He was not inviting all diversities of faith to worship together, rather He was indicating that all diversities of people would be drawn to Himself…..which is exactly what Jesus indicated would occur through his atoning crucifixion.
      By allowing, and “sanctioning” the worship of God by Muslims within the walls of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Washington, the Episcopal Church is at least tacitly giving affirmation to a religion which denies that Jesus of Nazareth was the very Son of God. As Christians we, including the Episcopal Church, must never compromise that our message to the world, whether by deeds or speech, must declare Jesus, and Him crucified.

  28. Danny Anderson says:

    Guess we can start calling it the National Multipurpose Hall now.

  29. Bill Simon says:

    I’m a very simple person who started attending church (Episcopal) on a regular basis only about 10 years ago and have a very long way to go on my journey. I’m not particularly devoted to the Episcopal church but I do read the Bible on a regular basis for it being the roadmap for that journey. I believe that we are to follow God/Jesus only but not condemn those who don’t but rather show our discipleship by spreading the good news the Bible has to offer. We can’t make people believe what we believe but we have an obligation to offer news of the gift that Christ offers us. We are to believe in Him only. By opening up the cathedral to ‘other’ worship’ sends a horrible message to the world. What if it were the baals or the followers of the ashtoreth , or any of the ancient pagan worship idols? Are we more worried about being seen as tolerant than we are of professing the Gospel and believing it shows the path to salvation? Do we just want to be ‘liked’ by everyone. I believe Jesus that we are more likely to be persecuted for our beliefs than being accepted but must be willing to make that sacrifice. My bottom line on this matter is that I am very disappointed in the leadership of the Episcopal church who apparently condone what happened today.

  30. Chris Arnold says:

    Fr. Will, I agree with your perspective on this, especially considering the fact that this cathedral is named for Saints Peter and Paul, who gave their years and their lives for their witness of the one Mediator between God and man, the man Chris Jesus.
    When Yahweh declared that “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Is.56:7) He was not inviting all diversities of faith to worship together, rather He was indicating that all diversities of people would be drawn to Himself…..which is exactly what Jesus indicated would occur through his atoning crucifixion.
    By allowing, and “sanctioning” the worship of God by Muslims within the walls of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Washington, the Episcopal Church is at least tacitly giving affirmation to a religion which denies that Jesus of Nazareth was the very Son of God. As Christians we, including the Episcopal Church, must never compromise that our message to the world, whether by deeds or speech, must declare Jesus, and Him crucified.

  31. Anne Paine says:

    Thanks to Fr Will and all of you who are standing with the Trinity and on the principles of Christianity .
    Your Roman Catholic Sister in Christ.

  32. Julian Malaka says:

    “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

    We should know with due respect that Muslim’s Allah and Judo-Christian God is not the same God of Abraham, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God of Abraham is God of Justice and has no favoritism. But Allah of Prophet Muhammad favors Muslim and hate non-Muslims. Muslim’s holy book Quran speaks for itself:

    1) Qur’an 5:51 says—“O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people”.
    2) In another sura Qur’an 8:12— “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”
    3) Quran 9:2 “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah (tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    Because of these Qur’anic teaching majority Muslims remain silent in Pakistan when innocent Christians are killed by violent mob with conspiracy of blasphemy law and police remain silent to perform Allah’s command. To maintain communal harmony among diversified faiths it does not necessary to give up sanctity of one’s faith, but need enforceable constitution that guarantees freedom of religion or external world pressure to abide by law.

  33. Charles Nutter says:

    Let us pray that Muslim Friday prayers in a truly Christian sanctuary will lead to the conversion of many Muslims to Christ.

  34. As an Episcoplalian, this action of opening our church to a Muslim prayer service deeply concerns me. Our church has been attempting to be so politically correct that we perhaps are losing sight of our principles. I am all for inter-faith assemblies and especially spreading the word of love, peace and the understanding of the holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, Islam does not recognize this and any prayers offered would be to Alah and not to our God. This should not be allowed in our church as we pray to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – not to Alah. I am quite sure that we would not be welcome to pray in a Mosque or to hold a Holy Eucharist in a Mosque. I would be very interested to know what our Presiding Bishop thinks of this.

  35. Michael Smith says:

    I’m just wondering if or when the politically correct at the Cathedral are going to allow the loud speakers to be installed for call to prayers?

  36. Charles Russell says:

    His is difficult to understand. Our presiding bishop will not allow Episcopalians leaving the denomination to buy Episcopal churches that have voted to leave even though such loss of membership all but assures they will have to close or be sold. Nevertheless the cathedral with her cathedra is open to Muslim prayers on Fridays? As a gay member of the Episcopal church it saddens me that there is such duplicity in charity by our leadership. The Episcopal Church USA’s greatest reason for membership loss is not members like me or our inclusion. Rightfully and sadly but true it is the lack of a Christ centered church. This is a mistake. Will the altar cross be removed and the chairs stacked to facilitate a Muslim worship space? A hall or education building but not the cathedral where Christ Our Lord is honoured and the Dacrament reserved. Less donations from church members but more will come from the sale of closed churches and Muslim attendees. Secular humanists next? Sad.

    • Doug Desper says:

      Charles- Lest one thinks that this is an isolated event, it isn’t. Theological revisionism is very much alive in the cathedral and the diocese. In her blog on “Resurrection” Bishop Budde herself wrote: “To say that resurrection is essential doesn’t mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down. The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death, anymore than we can know what will happen to us”. This is nearly the heresy of Docetism and serves to do nothing but question the faith once received instead of proclaiming the Good News. We are either a Christ-centered faith (Christ and “him crucified”) or not. I agree with you that it is not optional. For those for whom it is a question or problem I suggest that Bahai is better suited to their path.

  37. Ingrid McCord says:

    I just do not get all the animosity. I have been instructed to Love my Neighbor. If my neighbor is Muslim or Bhuddist or secular I must love them. I live in a town where shared space is common for all worshiping communities. A local mosque hosted a church for Easter when it had burnt down. To me the biggest enemy is the worship of gold and power not all the nit picking and legalization of the rules of worship. I support the National Cathedral in their efforts to expand Christ’s love and hospitality.

    • Zachary Brooks says:

      “It’s bad to worship gold and power” doesn’t mean “It’s perfectly fine to believe and preach falsehood.”

  38. Perhaps, with all the best intentions and in an act intended to communicate respect for Muslims in America (currently 1% of the population), the Cathedral staff did something that might have been a) prophetic; b) profane; c) stupid on the face of it, or, d) a way of following Paul’s teaching to “love your enemy, thereby, pouring burning coals upon his head.” This should satisfy all parties: it has love and punishment all in a suitably Biblical cloak of authority. Now everyone can be right.

    Or…perhaps the leadership of the Cathedral is trying to instruct both us and Muslims that our Constitution guarantees the State may not promote nor inhibit any religion. If we can first convert Muslims to true pluralism in America, maybe over time the freedom of the Gospel of Christ will also become appealing. If they are in our midst, they are our neighbors. They are God’s children caught up in error. We should at least pray for their conversion more than we pray for their destruction.

    And, perhaps, with a little more humility we might remember the history of Christian Europe which went for centuries condoning war, torture, subjugation of women, and, yes, the lopping off of heads. Of course, head lopping was much preferable to being hanged then drawn and quartered; or maybe disemboweling a la Braveheart is your favorite.

    Whatever we might say in defense of those times, centuries of combat between Christians of all stripes political and religious eventually led to WWII and the Holocaust. Just reading the Bible and calling one’s self Christian does not guarantee anything like superiority over others. It is no guarantee against barbarity. The only thing that can make Christ believable is the love we have for one another. If we would be like Jesus, we would be a servant to all… even though trying might get you crucified by your own ‘Christian brothers and sisters” Right now I’m not feeling the love.

  39. Muhammad Fulani says:

    This is really incredible, but this issue is complicated, their hope is to bring unity among the Abrahamic Religion, bcos all the Abrahamic Religion believe in the Oneness of God, Both Jew, Christian & Islam. Allah Love everyone that is why our Universe still exist. We’re all brothers & Sisters. Imam Ali Said: All Human are Asleep, they wake up when they Die. We’ll all know the truth when we die. May God Guide us to the truth.

  40. R.E. Jones says:

    Please explain the opinions expressed to me lately that the Cathedreal interior icons of our faith had to be taken down & removed such to accommodate the Muslim worship services.

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